A traditional point and click adventure game, there’s a lot to like about Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The London Case. Especially if you like the idea of cracking a mysterious case involving art theft, forgeries and murder.
This isn’t the longest game in the world, though: you’ll have completed all nine of Hercule Poirot: The London Case’s chapters in six or seven hours. But during that time you’ll be embroiled in an intriguing story and, we’ve got to admit, we were keen to get to the bottom of everything that’s going on. You’re of course in control of the titular detective, Poirot, and what starts out as an innocuous night at an art museum gala soon turns into a branching case that requires the very height of Poirot’s skills.
You see, the prime piece of art – the Mary Magdalene – goes missing. And between the gala guests throwing their drinks over each other, one having a heart attack and another storming out, Poirot’s got his work cut out for him.
Hercule Poirot: The London Case is a fairly fast-moving game, considering its genre. Sure, its pace is limited somewhat by how quickly and easily you can solve its puzzles, but once you get to the bottom of a particular part of the case, you’ll be swiftly moved on to the next chapter. There’s no hanging around and pondering things that aren’t necessary to the case. Well, almost. Except maybe helping a reverend find his cat.
Thankfully, none of the puzzles here are too obscure, and it avoids falling into the pitfalls of those classic 1990s point and click adventure games. You know the sort: the ones where you’re expected to know you have to combine the frog in your inventory with your own mouth. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Discworld.) In Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The London Case, everything is much more logical. There’s a very limited number of items you can add to your inventory, ensuring you only ever have items you’ll need. And Poirot’s own dialogue will ensure you’re always nudged in the right direction, too.
You’ll gather information by talking to characters and exploring environments. You’ll need to talk to your sidekick, Hastings, to work through some evidence at times, and Poirot also has a “mind palace” of sorts that you’ll need to visit regularly to link up important pieces of information. Only when you’ve correctly pieced everything together can you move on, so if you’re ever stuck, make sure you visit your in-game menus and talk to Hastings.
It’s a shame that Hercule Poirot: The London Case feels a little unpolished at times. You’ll often get the same line of dialogue when interacting with something, even if you’ve already completed the necessary action. For example, we found a useful note, crumpled up in a waste paper basket. Even after removing it, upon interacting with the basket again, Poirot would repeat the same line of there being a crumpled note in there.
Little things like that don’t exactly ruin the experience of playing, but it does show the game’s budget roots. But this is a budget-priced offering, costing between £20-£30 depending on the format. For that price point, then, you’re getting a solid adventure game that might not be perfectly polished, but it’s going to keep you entertained as you puzzle through a mystery for a few evenings. And so, it’s hard to be too disappointed.
Weaving an intriguing tale that’s filled with twists and turns, we’ve enjoyed spending some time in Poirot’s shoes and solving the mystery of The London Case. This is a budget title and it shows, but there’s still a lot to like, especially if you’re a fan of traditional point and click adventures. It’s a bit of a journey back in time in that regard, but it’s a valuable addition to the genre nonetheless.