Friday 29 October 2021

Review - The Curse of the Burial Dagger - a family-friendly interactive graphic novel murder mystery game

I received a complimentary link to enable us to try out this game.

The Curse of the Burial Dagger is an interactive puzzle game presented in the style of a graphic novel. It's a family-friendly game, and we were sent a link so that we could try it out together over half-term. 

Here's the premise of the game:

When everyone is a suspect, and a killer is on the loose, is anybody safe?

A mansion near Dundee, 1923. Susie Sato finds herself investigating a murder when her great-uncle and host Lord Hamilton is found dead in his private museum, an ancient Egyptian burial dagger protruding from his back. Could it be the curse of the dagger, an object Lord Hamilton was warned not to remove from the tomb? Or could something else have caused his death?

Can you uncover the events leading up to Lord Hamilton’s death and deduce how he died… before the curse strikes again?

We decided that the children and I would play the game together around one device, but you can use the game link for up to six people playing on different devices at the same time. This means that it's a perfect activity to do with friends and family remotely if you aren't able to meet in person. In total the game took us 80 minutes to play.

The story is presented as a graphic novel, with images and subtitled narration. We meet the narrator, Susie, who is staying at the house and investigating the death of Lord Hamilton. She's studying forensic science, so we learn some interesting information about different techniques which can be used to solve crimes, for example chromatography and fingerprinting.

In between detailed information about motives and alibis given by the different characters, there are a variety of different puzzles which need to be solved in order to move to the next stage. Among others there are maths puzzles, logic puzzles, and puzzles where you need to look for clues based on the images.  

Some of the puzzles were simple but others were quite hard! In particular there was a maths problem which Harry and I both had different ideas about how to solve, so we tackled it separately and compared our final answers which were very different. And yes, despite my confidence his answer was the correct one - luckily we entered his result in first! If you are stuck with a clue at any point you can ask for help or skip it.  

Interactive graphic novel murder mystery game for families

As well as solving the puzzles you also need to pay attention to the story as it unfolds, as there are plenty of clues revealed in the spoken dialogue between characters. This is where we came unstuck - we solved all the puzzles correctly first time but got the final answer wrong as we couldn't decide between two suspects! 

As you go along you are encouraged to fill out a notebook on the screen where you decide how likely various different hypotheses are, and this helps you to think about who committed the murder. But we didn't mind that we didn't get the answer exactly right, we definitely felt like we had given the game a good go! And as Susie says during the game, it's putting together the clues that was what we were most concerned with, when it comes to convicting the murder it's up to a judge and jury.

We really enjoyed playing The Curse of the Burial Dagger, and I would definitely recommend it. The game was family friendly and aimed at ages 10 and up, although I think you'd want an adult or two playing, as some of the puzzles did require a bit of thinking about. But perhaps I'm doing mine (aged 10 and 12) a disservice to think that they needed me, especially after my failure at the maths task!

I'm really glad that we had the opportunity to play the game, and I'll definitely be looking out for similar things to try in the future. 

Playing The Curse of the Burial Dagger

If this review has sparked your interest, you can watch the trailer below to get a good sense of how the game works, and visit The Curse of the Burial Dagger for more information or to purchase.

The Curse of the Burial Dagger game is priced at £20. All you need to play the game is a computer or tablet with internet access, using either Chrome on a computer or Safari on a tablet. When you buy a ticket you will be sent an email with a link to the game which can be forwarded to other players to play at a time agreed amongst you, or you can play as a group using a shared device. If you are playing with others remotely then it's recommended to set up a Zoom call or similar so you can discuss it together. You can play the game at any time, and take as long as you need to play.

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