Review: Suspects (Studio H) – English

Agatha Christie was born on 15 September 1980 in England near Devon. At a very young age, Christie could already read like the best and she also started writing (short) stories at a very young age. The writer became particularly famous thanks to her stories about the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (known from, among others, The Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, partly inspired by the time Christie herself spent in Egypt) and the grey fox detective Miss Marple (the main character of your mom’s favourite detective story). With 66 detective novels and murder mysteries on her conscience, Christie is also the premeditated inspiration for many other works including books, films, television series and, of course, games. Christie is also, without invoking the right to remain silent, the inspiration for Supects by Studio H Games. In this game, players are hired to solve three mysteries – all in the style of Christie. Are you a real Marple or Poirot, or would they be better off handing in your badge?

Suspects consists of three mysteries. Each mystery consists of a deck of cards and some paperwork. In the first mystery you receive a map of the estate to explore. The stacks of cards contain clues and suspects or witnesses you can speak to. Not all cards are available at the beginning of the game, but by exploring and speaking to characters, you may unlock new cards, but as your investigation and interrogations progress, you may also miss certain opportunities and evidence, and cards may disappear.

Players must be able to answer questions about the mystery at the end of the game. The questions include the person of the perpetrator, murder weapon, motive and facts that have taken place. Players receive points for correct answers and even more points if they have looked at fewer clues (map) before answering a question. That feels a bit contradictory. The game tries to make you answer questions faster, while a detective has to be thorough and consider all the evidence. Oh well, players can always change a given answer later on, but it feels a bit strange. Of course, you can always just enjoy the mystery and story without the pressure of performing under time constraints. Although a real detective feels that pressure too, of course…

The atmosphere is certainly present and the game mechanics just work very well. The stories are logical and processing the clues provides a clear and satisfying conclusion. The game therefore feels very streamlined, especially compared to similar games such as Consulting Detective where the solutions are not always logical. Because the game is clearly inspired by the stories of Agatha Christie and the game is so streamlined, the outcomes of the investigations in stories in the game may feel a little cliché to seasoned detectives. Our first gut feelings often turned out to be right solution. Especially in the first case, most of detective tropes came to pass. A death in a rich family with a large estate as setting will not feel like unfamiliar territory to many. But don’t let that spoil the fun, because the game simply contains three fun filled mystery nights where players can play detective. Case closed: lock it away, fellas.