Murder (PC) Review

By Athanasios 13.02.2016

Review for Murder on PC

Daring to do different things has always been a big part of the equation with independent/freeware titles, something that has frequently led to some extremely flawed end results, which could only be viewed as decent student projects and nothing more. Recently, however, this particular side of the industry has evolved beyond recognition, managing to provide some fine examples of craftsmanship. Murder, the sci-fi short from the creator of Stranded, Peter Moorhead, is, in many ways, a typical indie game; it's unique, it has a level of attention to detail that deserves a hearty applause, and it's, undoubtedly, a labour of love - but were these three ever enough?

At the top of the food chain there is Doom, Metal Slug, Mortal Kombat; pure, 100% testosterone-filled action. Then there are role-playing games, along with their fantastic balance between gameplay and story, then the plot-heavy point-and-click adventures, the light-on-interactivity/heavy-on-story visual novels, and, at the very bottom of the pyramid, walking simulators… and then there's Murder, an adventure with almost nothing at all.

This is supposed to be an interactive short story, yet, apart from the fact that the word 'interactive' is possibly a joke by the developer, this is more like the intro of a short story - and even that seems to be way too generous. Not taking the - totally useless - tutorial into account, this adventure will last between 15 to 20 minutes. The thing is, though, that the problem isn't the length itself, but the actual events that take place during this brief amount of time.

Being such a tiny sample of a videogame, even a single sentence about what's going on can be considered a major spoiler, therefore, descriptions will be kept to a minimum. The protagonist of the show is Motomeru Minori, a future Tokyo Police Lieutenant, who has been troubled by a recurring dream where she gets shot down by an android. Waking up in the middle of the night, she checks her messages, and learns that she must go the scene of a recent murder first thing in the morning.

Screenshot for Murder on PC

Before the actual "game" begins, Motomeru goes towards her balcony to enjoy a cigarette, and to show the only good thing about this piece of software. Obviously inspired by Blade Runner (both in theme and visuals), the quality of Murder's pixel-art visuals is simply excellent, not only because it manages to perfectly capture the dark and dirty atmosphere of cyberpunk science fiction, but mainly because it begs the player to go "out there," explore, and learn more about this world.

Unfortunately, none of this will happen here. The "gameplay" goes something like this: at each of the few available areas, there are some optional and some critical hotspots; clicking the first lets the protagonist make a small comment about the selected object or character, and clicking the second moves on to the next part of the story - which leads to the main problem, the non-existent plot.

Without giving anything away, the storyline - supposedly - fiddles with the subjects of morality, conscience, and perception, and, more specifically, with the age-old question frequently explored in sci-fi media, whether self-aware AI should be treated equally as humans. Excited? Ready to give, what seems to be, a small amount of currency to watch how this is dealt with? Think again, because this doesn't even scratch the surface of these, otherwise very intriguing, issues. Murder begins… and then it ends, without even contributing a single speck of philosophical pondering.

Screenshot for Murder on PC

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Peter Moorhead's creation looks and - besides the lacklustre voice-acting - sounds good, but, in terms of plot, it's terrible; and not just because it's not handled well, but because it doesn't even exist! Murder pretends that it explores the boundaries of morality, free will, conscience, and, perception, when, in reality, it's nothing but a highly self-important product that throws these topics out of the window.

Developer

Peter Moorhead

Publisher

Curve Digital

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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