Everyone loves a good mystery. Sherlock Holmes, Miss. Marple, and the Hardy Boys are just a few of the upper echelons of literary sleuths who have stood the test of time. Unfortunately, The Mystery of the Hudson Case is not one, however, that will be remembered as a titillating tale of intrigue, but an example of what feels like quick production at the cost of depth and distinguishing features.
One of the first and most apparent shortfalls comes in the way of setup. You play as a reporter who has decided to search through the dusty and dilapidated hallways of the Hudson family mansion, along with a couple of the surrounding buildings. We are told Mr. Benjamin Hudson, the family patriarch, had owned a great number of slaves in the 1830s whom he regularly abused in horrid ways. What we are not told is what, a news reporter in 1979, is looking for exactly. In the end, you are finally given some justification for your troubles, but it is never clear until then exactly what mystery you are trying to solve.
In fact, the very little bits of story you receive, while serving as a glimpse into the awful and evil practice of slavery and the lives of those who suffered under the practice, I can’t say this is exactly a mystery title as much as it is simply a puzzle game held together by a sparse narrative. The amount of misspellings and awkwardly structured sentences seems all the more apparent given just how little text is actually present in the game.
The puzzles themselves range from easy to medium. Most require simple solutions found in clues you will locate throughout the house. You will write down these clues in your notebook for future reference. Other puzzles require a bit of detective work on your part. For instance, there are a few puzzles that are variations on moving about and properly aligning parts of a picture. With these, you must use your own intuition to discover the proper combination. But, none felt more than marginally difficult
Throughout the game you will find items necessary for accessing new areas, or revealing new clues. Each item will be automatically stored in your inventory which appears as a circle on the lower left hand side of the screen. You can switch between items easily using the arrow button located directly above. Since all items only have one use, you will usually not have more than three items at any given time, so there is no need for a more complex inventory system.
I played Mystery of the Hudson Case on the Nintendo Switch, which would seem perfect given the game is a point and click. However, though never enough to cause severe frustration, the controls are not well tuned. This means there were quite a few times I would click and it did not register. Where this became the most frustrating was during one puzzle that required me to click on tiny gemstones in order to move them from one section to another following thin tracks cut into a set of three rotating rings. Too often the game thought I was clicking on the ring, causing it to rotate, rather than moving the stone. This meant I had to rotate the ring back around to once again position the stone in the right place, only to have the game misread me, causing the ring to spin.
The game is rather short. You can blow through it within the course of 30 to 45 minutes without much trouble. There are only three buildings that come into play: the mansion, a shed, and a cabin. All are beautifully rendered in the hand-drawn art style of many hidden object type games. But, given how often you visit each location over and over, even this runs a bit thin.
The Mystery of the Hudson Case fails to distinguish itself amongst a genre already replete with titles. The puzzles never advance beyond medium level difficulty, and for a game that boasts a story, there is very little story to be found. In fact, it is not until the end that we are even given an explanation for the reporter’s motivation. Given the present evidence, and my own personal experience, I can safely deduce that The Mystery of the Hudson Case is a mystery best left unsolved.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Nintendo Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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