Imagine, if you will, a tale of two young lovers aboard the infamous ship known as Titanic. The woman, young and from an affluent family, in love with a poor man working as a stoker deep within the bowels of the ship. Sound vaguely like a blockbuster film you’ve seen at least a dozen times? Now add a murder into the mix and a whole lot of double-crossing, and you’ve just about got the plot for Murder on the Titanic.
When tragedy strikes, Captain Edward Smith calls upon Professor Jacob Larsson to solve the mystery and find out who is responsible for the murder. Taking the role of Larsson’s off-screen assistant, it’s your job to find objects and solve a series of puzzles to crack the case.
Though referred to as a “hidden object adventure” game, there is little adventuring to be found in Murder on the Titanic. Rather than navigating around the ship on your own, the game automatically moves you from one scene to the next, making the whole experience feel very linear. Scattered throughout the ship you'll encounter many different puzzles that must be completed in order to move along to the next area, but most of your time will be spent finding hidden objects scattered in still images of piles of rubbish.
Beyond hidden objects, the other puzzles range from sliding puzzles to riddles that have you unscrambling letters to form secret words. While these puzzles do break up the monotony of finding hidden objects, they’re so few and far between that they almost seem misplaced in the game; the balance in variety is completely one sided, making for a much more tedious experience than one might expect. Working your way through the entire game will take most players around three hours, and the puzzles remain the same with each playthrough, significantly reducing any sense of replayability.
The majority of gameplay involves tapping around scenes and sliding objects on your 3DS touchscreen. The actual hidden object parts can be navigated using the D-pad, but to select the objects you’ll still be using your stylus; due to its sheer simplicity, the game controls well and gets the job done.
One of the real missed opportunities here is that Murder on the Titanic doesn’t take advantage of the handheld's ability to display games in 3D. With the exception of the title screen and some details on the periphery of the top screen, such as the list of objects to be found, nothing stands out. Regardless, all of the character images are well drawn and the scenes are clear enough to make objects easily differentiated from their environments.
Despite the disappointing lack of 3D visuals, the art style fits the mysterious mood of the game, and so does the soundtrack. Though limited to just a few different songs that all tend to blend together, the music does well to match and convey the cryptic nature of everything and everyone involved in the mystery.
Murder on the Titanic is the kind of game that doesn’t do anything overtly wrong, but it also fails to do anything new or exciting. The puzzles are repetitive, the story is convoluted, and the game is over before you know it, but it has its charms while it lasts. This one will satisfy fans of the genre looking to kill some time, but anyone seeking an adventure of titanic proportions will want to set their sights on more remote waters.