Game Reviews

The Trace: Murder Mystery Game

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iOS
| The Trace
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The Trace: Murder Mystery Game
|
iOS
| The Trace

Detective games often struggle to capture that all-important "aha!" moment, where the clues coalesce to form a concrete series of events that can be used to put a suspect behind bars.

Too often, the character on screen has those revelations for us - making us the Watson to the protagonist's Sherlock. And no one wants to be Martin Freeman when you could be Benedict Cumberbatch.

But The Trace does an admirable job of getting you involved in actually untangling the leads and establishing the connections that brought you to the crime scene you're now poking, tapping, and swiping at.

Elementary

You start by collecting clues, bouncing around a 3D building and tapping on items of interest. You might also have to manipulate objects and spin inventory objects around. It's very The Room.

Some things you find lead to questions ("whose size 10 footprints are in the bathroom?") while others offer leads ("the victim is wearing size 10 shoes"). At any time you can bring up a spiderweb that shows your conundrums and clues, and put them together.

It's not massively complicated - as the example above might suggest. Plus, there are times when multiple clues might seem to fit an answer but the game will only take one. And there's a bit of trial and error at play as well.

But it's a nice mechanic that encourages you to think for yourself and helps nudge you to investigate the important stuff without giving patronising hints.

Whodunnit

You also have lightweight puzzles that range from point-and-click item juggling to simple jigsaws. And a story - told in text and slideshow vignettes - which serves its purpose, though never truly surprises.

Ultimately, The Trace is a pleasant if not pulse-pounding game about tapping on bodies and prodding at doorknobs. But there's a clever investigatory twist that helps you feel something like a proper gumshoe.

The Trace: Murder Mystery Game

The Trace is a little plain, but does a good job of letting you play detective with its smart cobweb of questions and clues
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