Genre: Adventure 

Developer & Publisher: inkle, Ltd.           

Released: June 2, 2021             

Requirements: Requires a 64 bit processor and OS

OS: Window XP and up

Processor: Minimum 2GHtz with SSE2 instruction set support/4 GHtz


Memory: Minimum 2 GB RAM/4 GB recommended

Graphics: Version 9.0c

Storage: 200 MB available storage








By flotsam


inkle Ltd

This game is the very embodiment of do it, fail (or maybe not), repeat. The only thing it needs to be perfect is Emily Mortimer.

There is murder at sea in 1935, a man overboard. You know who dunnit from the get go because you dunnit. You spend the next hour or so of playtime trying to get away with it.

How to do that? Point the finger, create an impeachable alibi, establish it was an accident, or something else entirely; whatever, there are 8 hours until you dock, and whatever it is you are going to do needs to be done before then.

The 8 hours is pertinent. Getting around the ship and doing things takes time, and time passes. Want to go see the Captain in his cabin? The game will tell you what time you can be there, and you can then choose to go or not. You might prefer to visit the forward cabins first, to have a chat to another passenger. Can you get away with murder in 8 hours? Only time will tell, so plan accordingly.

Which I didnít first time through. I clicked and made decisions somewhat indiscriminately and ended up ďbanged upĒ. I was more thoughtful the next time but no more successful. I tried praying in the chapel on the next occasion but to no more avail, and pushed someone else overboard after that with much glee but no more success.

Which didnít matter one bit. Each time was a hoot, and progressively more so. There is so much you can do, so many things you can achieve within the game, so many ways through to an ďendĒ. Blackmail, anyone? Or a game of pontoon maybe? Charm them, bully them, murder them, its up to you. I wonít spoil your own enjoyment by telling you more, and I suspect I havenít uncovered everything anyway.

I did take things I learned in one run with me to the next, and the game provides feedback through some limited objectives (that will change each time) that might help you decide to engage in a new course of action. Or maybe just provide a little side quest. Regardless, donít be afraid to try things; you may be rewarded in ways you donít expect.

However much fun is to be had, there is a definite sophistication under the hood, especially if you want to get away with it. Your choices matter. What you say for instance to a character in hour one might come back to sink you three or four hours later. Keeping your story straight, knowing what you have said to whom, knowing when to hold and when to fold; there is a lot of good ďadventuringĒ going on here.

The interface is simplicity itself. A silhouette of the ocean liner with the various locations identified is your stock in trade. Click a location to get information about who is there, and how long it will take to get there. Choosing one produces a comic book style split screen/s, within which you click again to engage in conversation or select other possible actions. You might for instance find yourself in a corridor with two cabin doors available. Do you knock on one or the other, or maybe listen at one, or simply try to let yourself in? If you hear something do you press on or retreat? Just select your chosen action with the mouse and move on.

Once engaged in conversation with a character, you can be as garrulous or as reticent as you like. Or choose any actions that might present themselves, or just back out and leave.

Like you, everyone else moves about the ship. Donít expect them to be where you last met them, and if you agree to meet someone at some time and place, donít be surprised if they arenít there if you are late. And donít surprised if they then think less of you.

Seemingly inconsequential actions might be anything but. Seemingly significant actions might come to nothing. Throw that into the sea, spike that drink, its all part of the rich tapestry. A little red box top of screen will give an insight into what might be the consequence of what you have done or said (eg. he will remember that).

Speech bubbles abound, there being no spoken word after the intro. Minimal but excellent sound effects and a range of time-period appropriate musical tracks provide the auditory input. Visually, it is colourful comic book noir. It is funny and dark and not beyond a pun or three. It all comes together to create an immersive delight.

I eventually got away with it, but there are different versions of that as well. The perfect ending is still on board, waiting for me to have another go. Which I will do as soon as I finish writing this.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB



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