Women’s Murder Club: Death in Scarlet
The first Women’s Murder Club game begins with a running jump; there’s been a murder and you, as Detective Lindsey Boxer, are tasked with solving it. All in a day’s work then for James Patterson’s loveable heroines. Fans of the novels or TV show will instantly feel at home as Claire, Cindy and Jill quickly show up.
The game takes the form of a Hidden Object search with the usual minigames and puzzles to break up eye-spy action. Quality of art can make or break this type of game, and Death in Scarlet’s seeking is made all the more enjoyable by some crisp, well-drawn backgrounds and objects. Another neat touch is that all the objects you find have relevance; you won’t be collecting canoes from police stations. Many of the objects serve to forward the plot in the form of pieces of evidence or puzzle solutions. It makes your actions have somewhat more purpose than in the average game of this type, a gripe I’ve often had with the genre. It’s especially important in a game with as strong a plot as Death in Scarlet. It pulls no punches with a fairly high death toll and while there’s nowhere near as much content as one of Patterson’s books, it easily rivals the plot of a TV-length episode.
The main issue with Death in Scarlet is the minigames; they’re very limited, and two of them are repeated multiple times with roughly the same solution (I had to find the same five coins in the same places at least three times, which kind of lost any challenge by the end). The game offers a huge amount of help to the player, with hotspots glittering and even going so far as to provide the answers to one of the minigames for a short while. It’s not short enough to miss either, and gaming stalwarts may find the title to be somewhat lacking in challenge. Due to the difficulty level, Death in Scarlet is fairly short, and most players will clock up no more than a few hours before reaching the end credits.
The hidden object aspect of the game is solid and never falls on the side of frustration, but the minigames could do with being more varied and taxing. Ultimately, Death in Scarlet comes highly recommended for those looking for a game light on difficulty but heavy on intrigue.
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