Big Fish Games is at it again with another entry to their highly successful hidden-object series Mystery Case Files. In this entry, Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident, players take on the role of a highly astute private detective sent on a quest to retrieve a supernatural substance on Malgrave Island, a once-thriving place now reduced to eerie abandonment save for the strange Winston Malgrave, the last surviving resident and sole curator of the lonely resort.
The suspenseful story begins when the player receives a package from Winston Malgrave. It seems his wife is at death’s door due to an unnamed illness, and only a certain substance will cure her. Winston hires you to go gather mysterious flecks of dust that are rumored to heal all ailments, a panacea that would be the holy grail of medical science. The player is then sent to Malgrave Island where Winston and the dust can be found. The island, once a thriving resort, is now deserted. As you search for the dust, you slowly unravel the mysteries of the island and Winston’s past. It seems there’s more to this quest than meets the eye.
Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident is a gripping interactive detective story that will pull you in right from the beginning. The graphics and visuals are simply stunning. As you navigate the many areas of Malgrave Island, you will encounter a variety of beautiful scenes that display the island’s natural splendor, as well as a few abandoned buildings that were once thriving businesses. The music adds to the overall mood, changing from somber to creepy to suit whatever location you’re in. There’s also a sense of isolation in the Malgrave Incident Wii game, as you are the only person making your way in an abandoned locale. This adds to the chill factor even though the game isn’t meant to scare you. As a detective game though, you get the feeling that anything could pop out at any second, and Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident keeps the suspense high with its tense atmosphere.
The gameplay is mainly a hidden object type. Basically a scavenger hunt of sorts, you’ll be expected to find a list of objects in a fixed, static area. The screen is usually littered with extraneous debris and other props, so it’s much harder than it seems. However, players will be able to magnify and pan the camera to look at things at a different perspective. Finding the hidden objects are pretty engrossing, and the game ensures that the challenge doesn’t border on frustration.
In addition to the object finding, players will pick up items that serve key roles. Oftentimes, these items are needed to open inaccessible areas and trigger key events that will allow progress in the game.
Finally, there are three multiplayer modes where players can compete with each other in finding hidden objects. These are fun additions when you need a break from the main storyline. The campaign is single player only, but a friend can join in and help you find hidden objects using a separate Wii controller. This is pretty redundant, as extra players can just point out the hidden objects on the screen instead of having to use a second controller, but the Wii Malgrave Incident game ensures that no one is left out.
A huge drawback in the game is the lack of specific objectives; you are left to try and figure out the case on your own. This makes sense, because real life detectives need to follow their instincts. However, when you find yourself backtracking to the same locations over and over again and wondering what it is you’re supposed to be doing, the game becomes frustrating. Finding hidden objects are pretty easy once you’ve spent a decent amount of time on it, but the other aspects don’t share the same straightforwardness. If you want to feel the stress and aggravation real-life private investigators go through when solving a case, you’ll get your fair share of them in Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident.
Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident is the first game in the Mystery Case Files series to appear on the Wii platform. It doesn’t require any other peripheral other than the standard Wii controller. The game is mainly for single player, but up to four people can play competitively in three side games.
Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident is better than a mystery novel, because you’re actually playing the role of the detective whose solving the convoluted case. In addition, the gripping atmosphere and casual gameplay makes this an instant classic. However, unlike a mystery novel, you’re left to discover the plot all by your lonesome with no hints whatsoever, resulting in numerous trial and errors that quickly put the brakes on the game’s pace. Although it is chiefly a single player game, the main storyline can also be played as a group. With friends and family gathered around the Wii, giving hints and taking turns in solving the case, it becomes a pleasant and enjoyable social experience. For those wanting to get lost in a detective’s world, Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident is the game that delivers.