In which I desperately try to avoid giving you spoilers…
You’ll recall that I had a sneak play of “Episode 2″ of this way back in April 2016.
I was very excited then, but such is the nature of these things that I was restricted in what I could say - I did always know that Jack was going to be in this, and in fact I had an over-eager conversation with Nathan at the closing party of The Distance where I mentioned the tie choice they’d made for Jack and mentioned that it was one of my favourites. Bless him, he was suitably enthused about it!
(Look at that tie - isn’t it gorgeous?)
So, what do we have? OK, here we go, with something that’s half-review, half epic fangirling!
Part graphic novel, part ‘choose your own adventure’ game, the 4th season* of ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ sets out it’s stall in the pre-credit sequence: Murdoch Foyle is back, taunting Phryne even as he is supposedly led to the gallows to be hung for the murder of her sister Janey.
This: “Murder at the Opera” is the first of a proposed eight episode series**. It’s not a spoiler to say that the reappearance of Foyle is the over-riding arc of the season. But he makes only a slight appearance here, book-ending the plot of a murder at The Princess Theatre in Melbourne.
We pick up, well, it’s not clear actually. We’re definitely post-airfield, but *when* exactly we are, and whether Jack did ‘come after’ Phryne are never clarified - the evening at the Opera is described as a date if you choose one path through the many routes available to you, but if you choose another, well, let’s just say that Phryne’s Boudoir is still receiving it’s fair share of overnight guests…
The art work is gorgeous - a selection of everyone’s favourite Phryne outfits can be chosen from, and we spend the first Act of the ‘novel’ with Jack in a tux. Phan-girl heaven!
(The above is just one of several outfit options available to you - all of them gorgeously realised)
(Jack in a tux!!!!!)
And the music! Greg J Walker’s excellent compositions from the TV show are all here, often in extended versions that really help to enhance the mood and tone of Lisa Jeong’s excellent artwork.
The whole thing is at times reminiscent of the dizzy heights of Season 2: Phryne and Jack flirt and banter; Aunt P is scathing but ultimately concerned for Phryne and her Found Family; and Dot continues her character development arc in a marvellous piece of undercover work.
If you’re worried that you might not have the skills to play the game, worry not. It is very, very intuitive, and in fact the game won’t let you move on until you’ve discovered a vital clue, going so far as to pretty much tell you which screen you need to be going to if you are trying to ‘go the wrong way’.
Phryne does a lot of sleuthing, all of it with her trademark wit and zeal. She’s less afraid to ‘get her hands dirty’ than she perhaps is in the TV show - there’s a bit in an alley that would probably usually fall to Hugh to deal with, but here the constraints of producing artwork mean that it’s Phryne doing the physical work.
The plot is clever, well written, and - it makes sense! The use of little summary boxes for storage in your ‘detective journal’ delivers some absolute gems such as this:
Really, when it’s written down like that, the whole thing does come across as faintly ridiculous. Kudos to Nicholas Bell for managing to make Murdoch Foyle so intimidating.
I have no idea what the release schedule is going to be, and at the moment it’s on iOs for iPad or iPhone only - I know, I know! If, like me, you have an Android phone, and the only iteration of Apple you own is the Mac Mini, then this *is* disappointing. But you’ve maybe got a friend who’s willing to lend you their iPad - it’s worth asking them, and that’s how I’m able to join in all the fun. There is a reason for this: the people at Apple and Android have very specific requirements for what’s contained within the code of the applications they allow onto their platforms. I am told, by people who work in the industry (including the aforementioned owner of the borrowed iPad), that it is much, much easier to code for iOs first, and then adapt to Android later - try it the other way and you apparently find yourself pretty much reinventing the wheel each time.
It appears that the cost is 2.99 of your local currency (seems to be that in both US Dollars and UK Pounds). I’m honestly going to spend more than that on my lunch tomorrow, and this has far less bad calories in it. I presume that the rest of the run will cost the same, meaning that the whole Season will be about the same price as a Box Set DVD release.
*Season 4? Why, yes. Look, we know we’re not getting a TV Season 4, at least not anytime soon. This has eight episodes and it picks up after Season 3. So, you know…
**Not to be too blunt, but if sales aren’t what they need to be, they won’t have the capital to release them all. I’m sorry if that ‘sounds like blackmail’. I know that ‘everyone’ has an Android phone, but as detailed above, that’ll be coming later. For now, if you have an iPhone or iPad, please support the game. Supporting the game means supporting the show, and creators deserve to be paid for their effort. Tin Man is run from a tiny space, smaller than Phryne’s parlour, with people crammed in and working their guts out. They’re an amazing team, and they so deserve to have this be a success after how long they’ve been working on it.
Ok, so I spent the last 4 days on a Netflix binge and I’m in withdrawls now that Riverdale season 1 is done. I need more Jughead in my life, what can I say? So, I’m trying to find a good Jughead and Betty to put in my game. I’ve seen some that are up for download, but they all look weird to me. I keep trying to make them from scratch and I’m not having any luck. IF you happen to know of a good Bughead I can use, send it to me! :D