Review: Murder in Venice (DS)

Murder in Venice follows the story of a young American tourist called Vera who stumbles across the scene of a murder. Whilst photographing evidence an ex-KGB agent, who goes by the name Yuriy , enters and the two get caught up in a massive conspiracy that has been going on for many years – and only the two of them can stop what is happening.

The story splits between two time periods, you control Vera in the present day while you control Yuriy as you progress through his back story. The plot has many twists and turns and chugs along at a fair place and journals written by the main characters, which can be read at any time, add more depth to the story. All this combined brings together an intriguing plot that may be enough to keep you plodding through the game.

Murder in Venice is a hidden object game. Each screen gives you a list of objects and you must search for every single item in a 2D painting, which are always nicely detailed yet often very bland – not helped by a distinct lack of variety in locations. Some objects are as clear as daylight, some are cleverly disguised while others blend into a mess of pixels and can be frustrating to find. Random tapping is punished, although it only affects score, so you have to look very carefully for some objects.

The most interesting objects are the ones that are hidden away and require you to find and use objects located elsewhere on the screen. While it’s never in any way taxing, and requires nowhere near as much brain power as you would expect from a more full-on point and click, it does make the game last slightly longer until it gets to the realms of complete tedium.

Every now and then you’ll be given a special puzzle, which goes a long way to adding some content goes the gameplay but are unfortunately few and far between. The fact that it’s hugely exciting to come across one of these puzzles – which consist of pretty basic mazes and block puzzles – goes a long way to show just how dull the object finding sections of the game are.

There are a few extra collectibles thrown into the game in an attempt to increase the playing time. Items like chess pieces are carefully hidden in various scenes and serve no real purpose other than to bump up your score for the chapter. You can also see everything you find in the extras menu – although there is nothing to do with them apart form ogling them. You can also re-play mini-games and chapters once you’ve beaten them – but doing so is fairly pointless, like looking through a Where’s Wally book when some other kid has already drawn circles around everything important.

Murder in Venice has an intriguing story but has immensely dull gameplay. If you’re willing to slog through all the gameplay then you end up with a decent graphic novel, but that is pretty much all there is to it. It’s a children’s activity book combined with a graphic novel intended for much older kids.

Graphics: ⅗
Sound: ⅘
Gameplay: ⅕
Playability: ⅗
Lifespan: ⅗

Pros:

  • Interesting plot
  • Good Characters
  • Some nice artwork

Cons:

  • Dull gameplay.
  • Low quality music.
  • Not enough puzzles.

Final Verdict:
It’s a shame that the plot of the game is wasted on such dull gameplay. If it was a full-blown point & click or puzzle game it could have been something special.

4/10

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