Murder Is Game Over: review of an investigative adventure

Murder Is Game Over review cover

Murder Is Game Over is an investigative adventure that puts us in the shoes of detective Guy and his trusty dog Cleo. The game was created by HitherYon Games and published by Ratalaika Games, with its initial release on Steam in October 2022. Since October 27, 2023, Murder Is Game Over has been available on Xbox, and we had the opportunity to play the Xbox Series X|S version.

Our adventure in Murder Is Game Over begins with a flashback in which the current owner of the Ludwig Castle, Russell Gallant, is warned of a curse that could cost him his life. At the end of the flashback, we find ourselves playing the roles of the investigative duo consisting of Detective Guy and his trusty dog Cleo with her infallible sense of smell. We have been called upon to investigate the mysterious and suspicious death of Russell Gallant, which occurred due to a huge stone gargoyle falling from the castle roof.

Murder Is Game Over screenshot 3

Gallant was a renowned video game developer, known for creating Paladin Dream, and had recently purchased Ludwig Castle, where he resided with his wife and adopted daughter. On the day of his death, there were two additional individuals present at the residence for a business meeting. Now, it is up to the investigative duo to determine which of the 8 suspects is the murderer or if the developer’s death occurred due to supernatural causes.

Murder Is Game Over: find the evidences!

The gameplay of Murder Is Game Over is characterized by two main pillars: the exploration of the castle and its surroundings, and the interrogation of suspects. The game style resembles old-generation 2D RPGs, where players explore, interact with people, and collect items. We can decide whether to put the detective or Cleo in charge of the group. A crucial point during our investigative process is the search for evidence, a task in which the assistance of our loyal companion Cleo will be essential.

Murder Is Game Over screenshot 2

Exploration extends beyond solely searching for clues to gain a clear understanding of the crime, but also encompasses the search for other elements such as indications of a hidden treasure within the castle and bags of food for our Cleo. These two activities are entirely optional.

The interaction with the suspects is limited to asking them some questions about their identity, alibi, and their theory about what happened. Furthermore, explanations can be sought regarding the collected evidence.

Murder Is Game Over screenshot 4

Elementary, my dear Cleo

Murder Is Game Over kept us entertained for approximately three hours with a pleasant mystery that was neither too simplistic nor too convoluted. The retro graphic style complements the decision to make the title a game similar to an RPG. Although the story is interesting and well-structured, the deduction and investigation process is too simplistic, and everything boils down to the final scene where the suspects gather to hear the conclusions of Detective Guy.

Murder is Game Over screenshot

During the game, we collect items and speak with the suspects. However, the interrogations do not provide us with much room for maneuver. Our detective will simply ask a few questions and then present a deduction. There is no branching of dialogue lines or blind spots where our mistake could lead us to a wrong deduction.

Only at the end will we have to make connections between the evidence and motives of the suspects. In this case, if we make a mistake, we can try again until we find the correct answer. Given the simplicity and well-crafted narration, it will not be difficult to reach the correct deduction. However, we would have preferred a higher level of challenge, especially considering that it is a crime story.

Our verdict

The story is short and interesting, although with a rather simple and superficial investigative development. It kept us engaged until the end, but we would have expected more from an investigative title.

  • Cheap price
  • Technically well-realized
  • An intriguing story
  • Simple investigative development
  • Too short