A NintendoFuse game review by Jeremy Hardin.
Game – Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident
Version – Wii
Time Spent Playing – 11 hours
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of Nintendo of America
The Malgrave Incident may seem like just another casual game destined to become classified as shovel-ware, but don’t write it off just yet. In fact, don’t write it off at all. Malgrave is an example of a classic point and click game, full of hidden object puzzles all tied together with an intriguing plot.
How far will one man go to save the love of his life?
The waters of Malgrave Island are legendary. The locals believe that soaking in the island’s baths will melt years from an aging body. This legend grew as tourists began flocking to the island to see for themselves. One such tourist was Winston Malgrave-a wealthy but sickly industrialist. With his vast wealth, Malgrave became the island’s curator, guiding the island through many years of prosperity. But then the island suddenly closed its doors to visitors, and no one has heard from Mr. Malgrave or the island’s residents since.
Now it seems that Mr. Malgrave is in need of assistance. He has reached out to you, the master detective of the famed Mystery Case Files Detective Agency. Mr. Malgrave delivered a registered post to you-and to you only. No one else here dared open it.
One can only wonder what’s inside that package and what Mr. Malgrave needs.
Gameplay and Controls
What starts off with a brief, but mysterious request to come to Malgrave Island soon expands into an intricate story with twists and turns that will keep you going for several hours. Your primary focus throughout the game is to collect the mysterious purple powder scattered throughout the island. Malgrave delivers his instructions via a steampunk radio transmitter (which closely resembles a Wii Remote) and together you will explore the island and hopefully save his beloved Sara.
As you make your way throughout the island certain areas will have purple dust rising up from over them, thus indicating there is a hidden object puzzle to solve. For the first time in the series, each hidden object scene has three layers and the player can scroll and zoom in each puzzle. In order to reach any area beyond the first you must collect dust and solve puzzles. Certain puzzles will give you an inventory item upon completion, these items are needed to progress or to access collectibles. Once a puzzle is solved you absorb the purple dust into your device and the meter rises, naturally. Once you fill the device the gauge will glow bright purple, and you must now deposit the dust into a specified receptacle only after you solve a simple puzzle. In between each of these hidden object scenes you will explore the island, search for clues, complete logic puzzles, and examine your surroundings. Rinse and repeat.
As the entire game is point and click you may find the task of traversing this large island daunting. Fear not impatient gamers, for there is a map. While you explore the landscape you may notice a postcard throughout each area. If you collect the postcard the location is automatically added to your map and you can now travel there by clicking on the now circled location. Your map is kept along with all the clues you find in your journal for easy reference. You control the game simply by pointing and clicking, the game is presented from a first person perspective.
Malgrave Incident offers players the chance to play the main adventure solo or with up to three additional players for co-op . There are also three multi-player modes available. In Swift Pick, players must find certain hidden objects before their opponents do; in Tick Tick Pick, they must find a hidden object and pass the ticking time bomb to an opponent before it explodes; in Classic Pick, whoever finds the most hidden objects is the winner. These additional modes are a great way to keep a steady interest in the game, even long after the main story is complete.
Visuals and Sound
The game really impressed me with its visuals and sound. Every area is in ruin, unkempt, dark, and desolate. The island is shrouded in fog, yet somewhere off in the distance you see a faint rainbow in the clouds. Maybe there is hope here after all. For each scene, the music and sound effects complement what you are looking at quite nicely. These are definitely not the best graphics I’ve seen on the Wii but the developers did a great job of giving each area, and the whole island overall it’s own unique ambiance.
In particular the voice of Winston Malgrave stands out above all else. His voice is deep, commanding, weathered, and sinister all in one. From the moment you receive your first correspondence with Winston until the end of the game, this man’s voice is full of all kinds of crazy.
Concluding Overall Impressions
While Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident features many hidden object puzzles, it’s more than that. At it’s heart the Malgrave incident is a carefully crafted and well thought out point and click adventure game, perfectly suited for the Wii Remote control style. The visuals are rich and detailed, the environments all unique. The puzzles are challenging, and rewarding to complete. Malgrave Incident would make a welcome addition to your library of Wii games.
Final Score: 5 out of 5