Who Among Us

A fresh take on "And Then There Were None", the grandfather of all slasher flicks ... when I first read it, it was under the original politically-very-incorrect title. The story has been modernised and moved to Eastern Europe, which, as far as setting goes, adds to the interest.

There is a slight case here of being on rails. After all, there's a clearly-defined plot to follow, and not too much deviation can be allowed for fear of spoiling the whole thing. The multiple-choice aspect helps to limit the player here, allowing him to act within the story itself -- as opposed to acting in a subplot while experiencing the actual story from the outside, which seems to be fairly usual for plot-heavy mystery games.

I do give it a point for the plot, but I note that, as a mystery, it is a little implausible. A lot of the murderer's plan depends on chance, and it appears that there was no certainty that some of the characters would even think of showing up. "And Then There Were None" uses the simple expedient of written invitations, a method available to everyone. "Who Among Us" uses that a couple of times, but for the most part it appears that people showed up uninvited. This suggests that one should begin looking for the one person who could have engineered the uninvited appearances, but it does not appear that much thought was given to the possibility of a player pursuing this line of inquiry.

Then there is the use of profession to identify the different characters. I suppose this makes it easier to keep track of who's who (I wonder what that says about us human beings) but, generally speaking, it is quite distancing, and also a little awkward. Cluedo handles this by giving its characters thematic, colour-coded names, thus making them easy to remember. There are ways that feel more natural than identity-by-profession.

One thing I did like about the game was that, if you looked very carefully, if you tracked everyone's movements and followed the clues, it is possible to make a reasonable guess as to whodunnit. I haven't looked closely enough to see if this could be determined with any certainty, but I did enjoy the feeling that I could do so. That made the mystery worthwhile in my book.

Kippers, toast, a glass of vodka, and a copy of the Times. Mostly, I'm not looking at what I'm eating: I'm reading the news. But the vodka reminds me that breakfast today is just a little more foreign than I'm used to.