Jacques and Stella’s Mystery Files Club Review: Speechless? No, Just Clueless

Indie developer company Maxmars recently released their Clue-like game Mystery Files Club to the App Store, and it’s definitely a game that doesn’t have much competition except for EA’s own version of Clue on the iPhone.  While I thought Mystery Files Club did a better job with imitating Clue, there are some flaws that hold it back from being great.

In Mystery Files Club, you need to collect the evidence by passing various mini-games along with traveling through various rooms to gather the evidence.  It’s definitely very much like Clue, the board game made popular through Hasbro.  The overall game experience was okay, I just couldn’t help but feeling clueless at the end of the game.

Likes

Mini-Games: The various mini-games were a great way to solve all the clues, and while some of them were annoying, most of them were creative and well made.  There were also a variety of mini-games that came up, and the differences keeps the player in the game until the end.  I did get frustrated by some difficult mini-games, but overall, this type of approach was creative and well-implemented.

Clue: I believe that Mystery Files Club did a much better job of recreating the Clue board game experience on the iPhone, and it’s one of those games that you want to solve.  The game itself felt like I was playing the board game, and while there are a few kinks needed to be ironed out, Mystery Files Club successfully recreated the board game on the iPhone.

Dislikes

Design: The design is, in my honest opinion, horrendous.  Everything seems to be all over the place, and it’s hard to tell what is where.  The font, Marker Felt, made the game look very unprofessional, and the PDA design was far from beautiful.  I would dread using the PDA because of its confusing design, and even when using it, I had no clue what I was supposed to do.  The text was all laid out and everything, but I think there still needs to be some organization.

Clueless: I have no clue what I’m doing half the time.  The story is hard to catch, and the murder mystery is sometimes hard to understand.  The clues are hard to understand, and with no real tutorial, I can’t help but feeling left in the dark.  Some may get used to it and figure out all the game’s secrets, but as a casual gamer, I don’t have time to figure it out.  What most people want is an easy, pick-up-and-play experience with simple instructions, but Mystery Files Club was far from simple, and I was clueless throughout the whole game.

Mystery Files Club, I believe, created a successful rendition of Clue on the iPhone, but it definitely needs some work before coming close to being accepted by the majority of the public.  It definitely has some design flaws that need to be ironed out, and a tutorial is desperately needed to help the player out before starting the game.  Also, the speed and amount of text was way too much for me, and I would often skip through important stories or clues with no ability to really go back and read it.  Again, it’s a good copy of Clue, but it just needs to do a better job with guiding a beginner through the game.  I felt that the game would leave you in the dark most of the time, and by the end, I was too exhausted to even go through all the clues.  Even with many hours of hands-on time, I can’t quite get the hang of the game, and it’s just too complicated to really understand without some type of tutorial.  It’s more of a work in progress than a complete game, and with a few updates, this game has the potential to become the game it should have been.

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Jacques and Stella’s Mystery Files Club was developed by Maxmars, and I played through version 1000 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $2.99 with no lite version available.

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About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

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