It was the bloke with the dodgy hair and he did it in the cellar. Right?
Does anyone still play Cluedo, the board game? We haven’t since we were about ten and unlike Monopoly and Scrabble, the other childhood favourites, it seems to have gone out of fashion. That may be why with this game the developer hasn’t chosen to recreate it for the iPhone but instead has applied the basic concepts in a different way. First up, this is a single-player game, and it loses points for that, there’s no board as such, but there is a map of the crime scene and you move directly from room to room. Instead of competing with friends, you are now a junior reporter, investigating a murder mystery against the clock. Every action, such as searching locations for clues and talking to the suspects, takes time off the dock until. when it hits zero, the newspaper editor wants his story. Now you must name the killer, the weapon and the location. Stars are awarded for correct answers, but you must get enough right in order to be promoted and take on the next set of crime reports. The more cases you solve, the more complex they get, with more suspects, weapons and locations. The good thing is that it’s all randomly generated so that it can all be played again with a different outcome.
Along the way, you collect notes, which are all the clues sorted together, and start to solve the case by process of elimination. To help with this there’s a suspicions screen where people/weapons/locations can be ticked off as in the clear. You can then either add those elements you are sure about to the accusation sheet or simply wait until the end and do it all in one go.
The graphics are good, stylised cartoons with a little animation rather than photos, control is simple and organising the story is made as easy as possible. There’s little in the way of deductive skill involved initially until you get to the much bigger cases. Even then there’s a certain amount of luck involved in searching the right places and speaking to the right people so that there’s time left to make accurate deductions.
The only problem is that without other people to play against it isn’t either exciting or that interesting. So Cluedo, the iPhone game, is one for those who genuinely like solving mysteries rather than a board game for all the family.