An intimate tale on an international canvas, The Raven puts you in the shoes of underdog policeman Anton Jakob Zellner as he gets tangled up in a web of thieves, gangsters and misguided, distrustful bystanders. If those ingredients sound familiar, it’s because Nordic developer King Art is overtly – and passionately – riffing on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot tales of murder and mystery (right down to Zellner’s waxed moustache and an indirect cameo by the author herself onboard – where else? – the Orient Express).
Christie’s influence permeates every element of the game, from the family-friendly tone to the period setting, but King Art injects its own personality into the production with a meticulous approach to mise en scene and cinematic framing that makes scouring each environment for clues a pleasure.
While the logic-based puzzles are never too perplexing, they can require a little too much back-and-forth travel between adjacent rooms, occasionally wearing out the good impression made by each gorgeously rendered setting. A hint system helps alleviate the eye-strain, however, with the tap of a button using up a portion of your currency to highlight areas of on-screen interest (currency is awarded a little too generously for each successfully solved puzzle).
This first episode of three is a solid foundation for King Art to build on and proof that the team is up to the challenge of bringing Christie’s oeuvre of intrigue, interpersonal conflict, and superior facial hair – in everything but name – to life.
The Raven: Legacy Of A Master Thief is out now on Steam.