A Subtle Kind Of Murder is a Gameboy-styled murder-mystery game that asks you not to solve a case as a detective but rather to cover your tracks as a murderer.
The game opens with a lengthy (but thankfully skippable) cutscene. It is just before closing time at your local watering hole and, spurred on by a night of drinking, your friend has threatened to reveal your deepest, darkest secret to the world. In a fit of drunken rage, you lash out and stab him repeatedly with a knife. Now, with only a few moments until the bar closes, you must try to hide your terrible actions without arousing suspicion from the barmaid still on duty.
A Subtle Kind Of Murder‘s gameplay progresses in two parts: an old-school, top-down adventure section followed by a questioning period with the police. After the game’s opening cutscene, you will need to explore the bar and find ways to disguise the murder scene before the countdown reaches zero. There are many helpful items you can use to try to throw off the police’s trail and each interaction you have will result in a different line of dialogue during the police questioning period. Unfortunately, the “hit zone” on the interaction boxes for objects is just a little off, which hampers your ability to move swiftly through the world within the allotted time frame.
The questioning period is a fairly straight-forward bit of branching dialogue where you must try to outwit the detectives with your chosen answers. A small meter at the top of the screen represents how close the police are to pressing charges. Answer too many questions incorrectly and it’s game over. This section is only hampered by the limitations of the Gameboy as the amount of dialogue that can be onscreen at one time is quite small.
There are multiple endings for A Subtle Kind Of Murder, all based on the actions you take during the game. Due to some of the game’s restrictions and a few irritating bugs, getting to experience all that A Subtle Kind Of Murder has to offer can be an exercise in frustration. But if you’re looking to test your wits against a pair of persistent police officers, A Subtle Kind Of Murder offers a very satisfying, and occasionally disturbing, glimpse into what it’s like to be on the wrong end of a police investigation.
Controls: Movement – WASD, Interact – X, Drop Object – Z, Skip Cutscene – Hold X
Available On: All Browsers (Flash)