Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (Wii) Review

Did you know that Agatha Christie is the third best selling author in the world today? Amazingly, her books have only sold less than The Bible and Shakespeare's works, with over a billion copies changing hands on a global basis. So the only real surprise is that it took so long for a videogame to be crafted around one of her mystery tales. Now that first game translation of her best seller 'And Then There Were None' has made its way to Nintendo's Wii, taking advantage of the system's motion controls. But just how well does it play? Let us take a closer look...

The game follows the script of the novel as closely as possible to retain as much authenticity for dedicated Christie fans, meaning the storyline mirrors the book version of And Then There Were None in that ten people have been invited by the Owens family to stay at a large residence on Shipwreck Island, just off the south coast of Devon, England. However, it is quickly revealed that the guests have been lured there under false pretences, since the intention is to actually expose their murderous pasts and then one-by-one rid the world of them and their monstrous deeds. For the game version, an eleventh character was smoothly slotted in – the person you actually control, Patrick Narracott, the replacement boatman that transported everyone across to the island, only to find later his boat has been sabotaged and the violent storm that rages outside is preventing anyone else coming to the aid of the captives.

The beauty of reading a book is that you can let your imagination run wild, crafting extravagant locations and creating the perfect voices and images of characters from the fictional world. Sadly, though, when someone else brings their vision and idea of how the book should be portrayed to life, not everyone is going to be 100% satisfied. And Then There Were None is a port of a PC game from a few years back that even then was certainly not the best looking game out there. Now on Wii nothing has changed, so although gamers are left with lovely looking cut-scenes, they are unfortunately filled with poorly animated characters and awful lip-syncing sequences. Once in the main game, though, things are not too bad since the indoor and outdoor locations are all pleasant enough, suiting the style of the game immaculately. It does seem as if more could have been squeezed out of the Wii, though. As for the soundtrack, the music brings a real air of tension to proceedings in many instances and the mood for a murder mystery is perfectly set thanks to some very well composed tunes. And whilst the voice acting of certain characters may seem a little too over-acted at times, on the whole the voice work is clear, well-spoken and plentiful in quantity.

Screenshot for Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

So you are Patrick Narracott, initially eager to find out the real reason behind the loss of his brother, Frank, before getting involved in the main mystery, and thus your aim is to delve into and dig around in the belongings of the guests, whilst quizzing them at every opportunity all in an effort to find the dastardly culprit. Of course, when things take a turn for the worse and people starting being picked off one-by-one, the plot thickens and everything becomes more complicated than he could ever imagine. Conversations with others take place in the standard question-and-answer fashion found in most point-and-click adventure titles from the PC world, with players working through the available list until all have been sufficiently responded to, with new topics opening up depending on what question you ask. Wandering around (all done via a gentle movement of the motion controlled cursor and click of the A button), breaking into people's rooms, rummaging through their possessions, collecting as much evidence as possible and piecing together various odds and ends from around the mansion and outdoor locations to make useful items for later in the game, will all prove to be vital aspects of Narracott's journey.

Screenshot for Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whilst the majority of the enjoyment of And Then There Were None stems from the gripping story, a large chunk of the fun also comes from playing around with the items in your inventory, trying to figure out what can be broken down into smaller pieces (such as a lamp and its bulb can be separated for use later) and what can indeed be put together (a turkey baster and flour, for part of a homemade fingerprint kit, for example). The game involves a lot of extra reading as well, since moving your context-sensitive cursor (walk, grab, use, look, and so on – the usual options in such a game) around will reveal books and notes that can be picked up as well and read at leisure after the pertinent sections have been transcribed to Narracott’s trusty journal.

For those expecting a high-speed, roller-coaster ride, steer clear of this, as it all moves at such a sedate pace that some may grow tired quickly, losing the impetus to continue on and uncover the fiendish mastermind. However, those with a little more patience will appreciate the fact you can sit back, relax with the Wii controller and gradually work your way through all the possibilities offered up, solving various puzzles along the way (some of which use the controller in interesting ways, like making use of the microphone when trying to open a safe). And all without monopolising your PC workstation! Sure there are points where frustration may kick in due to being unsure where to go next, but that is part and parcel of most games in this particular genre and being led by the hand every five seconds would have spoilt the discovery aspect. Thankfully the Wii controller has not been exploited in a pointless fashion as well, with only a few gestures coming into play, such as having to twist it to one side when opening doors, or shovelling up flour from a sack on the ground (two early examples). For the most part, the Wii controller works as a wireless mouse for navigation and character interaction, and it works a treat indeed.

Screenshot for Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Overall, And Then There Were None proves to be a fine first entry into the adventure genre on Wii. Whilst some will definitely prefer the clever use of the Wii controller for puzzles in Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, that particular game was lacking in any real storyline and thus is discounted by many as not really being a true PC-style point-and-click adventure, no matter how much Nintendo insists otherwise. In the PC realm And Then There Were None is certainly not the best in its respective genre due to the saturated market, yet on Wii it is a great entry point for those interested in trying out such a game. With another Agatha Christie PC game already out at retail and a third one on the cusp of release, there is potential for more to come Wii's way, but obviously a lot rides on how well this one sells. Give it a shot if you have not already played it on your home computer...

Screenshot for Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Easy-to-use motion control mechanic, clever puzzles and a gripping re-telling of the classic Agatha Christie tale.

Graphics

Gorgeous backdrops and impressive locations in general, marred only by poor character animation and lip-syncing.

Sound

Strong, clear vocal work throughout, plus a great soundtrack that adds perfectly to the game's atmosphere.

Value

Stacks of story to wade through, lots of engaging puzzles and plenty of exploration and sleuthing to keep adventure fans happy.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Whilst Zack & Wiki is the Wii's first true puzzle-based point-and-click game, Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None proves to be the system's first proper out-and-out PC-style adventure, complete with a classic gripping tale filled full of intrigue and mystery. The fact that it all comes wrapped up in an impressive package with intuitive motion controls only helps to make what was already a good game even better. Fans of the genre will be pleased by this strong first step into the adventure world...

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07.02.2008

10

5424

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Developer

AWE

Publisher

The Adventure Company

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Loved the book (which in part, inspired the first C3 Mystery!), but feel that I might not enjoy the game if I already know who committed the crime..


Anyhow, nice one Adam! I've been keeping my eye on this one for a while, nice to know that it turned out well.

C3 Moderator

We read the book last year, it was pretty good. I'm glad to see it's got a good game. Smilie


"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery"- Winston Churchill
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Sadly a lot of other reviews are slating this for being so slow in terms of pace and discovery. I actually enjoyed the laid back nature of it, though...Some have also criticised it for not using the Wii controller more, but do people that like these games really want some sort of party game?! I would have thought not. Zack & Wiki was a game made around the idea of Wii controller-based puzzles, so that's why it worked. ATTWN was not, simple as that, and I'm glad the developer chose not to force too much in just for the sake of it.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Wow, an 8, that's great! I read some of the reviews on other websites and I'm sure they didn't get into the story or considered the game "shovelware" so they dismissed it quickly with a 4/10 score.
Thanks for this detailed review.
I'm sure I'm going to love this game.
And I agree, little motion sensing is better in this case, if not it'd turn into a poor WarioWare imitation or Furu Furu Park with a good story.

----
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Sounds great, thanks Adam! I'll probably pick this up. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Yeah, I really enjoyed the story and sedate pace - very relaxing and gripping, as if I was reading the book! Can't wait for Secret Files next month as well, as that's meant to be pretty cool.

I'm surprised to see some places selling ATTWN for 34.99, though. I thought it'd be better value at 24.99 given it's an old PC game...might put some people off, to be honest.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

im glad to see this getting a good score i was wathcing this one intently although i have read bad reviews else where!

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

What I find strange is how the PC game was well received by critics and yet the same people are slating it now on Wii. Weird...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Hmm, ONM gave it like 40ish %? Can't see how there can be such a radical difference. Also I find Nintendo sites stick around another 10% on to their review scores...

No Longer Temporarily Banned.
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It's crazy. When it hit the PC, adventure game reviewers all thought it was a good title...yet now it's on Wii people are slating it. How does a good game, that now has decent Wii controls included, suddenly become a bad one? I seriously don't get the hate being directed at this by some sources... Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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