Whilst visiting the village of Little Riddle, the four members of the Blue Toad Detective Agency end up on a Busman's Holiday due to the unfortunate murder of the Mayor! Exclusive to PlayStation Network, The Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle is a 4 player cooperative game that asks players, who play the roles of different crime fighters, to solve a series of challenging puzzles to uncover the identity of the murderer. As a downloadable game Blue Toad comes in six self contained parts, each of which surrounds a fresh murder.
With the number of players set, and their characters ready, a crime will be committed. You are presented with 4 possible suspects and must investigate their motives and their actions. Unlike a Mass Effect style question and answer session, you listen to a conversation and then solve a puzzle. The puzzle elements are one of the strongest areas in the game, as they vary in style and difficulty. In many ways they are reminiscent of the Professor Layton games on the Nintendo DS.
Puzzles normally take the form of simple Mathematics or English. For example, you will be asked to work out the conversion rates for a series of prices in the Chemists, or decipher the poor handwriting of a doctor by solving some anagrams. All puzzles are timed, and upon completion you are given a medal depending on how successful you are: gold for brilliance, silver for one mistake, or bronze for several. The medal tally will add up as the game progresses to see which player is the best investigator.
Once all the puzzles are completed you should have enough clues to uncover which of the suspects is the guilty party. As simple as this sounds, it actually takes a canny observer to confidently know who did it. Which of the players will get it right? The final decision, plus the previous medal tally, will decide which of the players in the 'winner'.
As a solo experience the game is a fun and self contained series of adventures. You can go through and solve all puzzles and murders by yourself. Despite what Relentless Software suggest the game becomes repetitive on replay as the puzzles and answers are all the same. However, this is Co-Optimus and we are interested in the cooperative elements of the game. Relentless Software are selling the game as 4 player co-op, but is it?