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Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express Review

Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express review

Having two Poirot games so close together is a little confusing. Both published by Microids, Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express and The London Case have practically nothing to do with each other.

Indeed, they both see players step into the formidable shoes of fictional detective Hercule Poirot, but they’re at very different points of his career. The London Case takes us back to his younger days while Murder on the Orient Express is set in 2023. And while we enjoyed The London Case, Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express knocks it out of the water in terms of presentation, story and mechanics. This twisting murder mystery, providing a modern spin on the classic Agatha Christie novel, had us hooked from start to finish, and that’s largely thanks to its well-presented gameplay that puts players in the driving seat.

When crafting a mystery game that casts players as a detective, there’s a fine balance to be found between giving players too much guidance and allowing them complete freedom. While the latter, if done well, can make a truly immersive experience, players typically need a nudge now and then to ensure they don’t get stuck. Murder on the Orient Express seems to nail the balance. You’re typically free to go where you like, following your own nose. But a notebook, accessible with the touch of a button at any time, records everything you’ve done and need to do. Opening that up, then, will always ensure you’re on the right path.

In the course of your investigation – which, if the name doesn’t give it away, concerns the murder of a passenger aboard the legendary Orient Express train – you’ll get to know the other passengers, interviewing them and gleaning evidential information from them. They may not always tell you the truth, however, so you’ll need to keep your wits about you, paying attention to every small detail to catch them out.

Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express review

In your notebook, you’ll regularly have to arrange information yourself, putting facts in order or perhaps creating a timeline of events, using information provided by witnesses. These are fun little puzzles in themselves, and to crack them you’ll need to rely on testimony you’ve previously gathered. This isn’t the sort of game you can passively play through, then: if you want to truly enjoy it, you’ll want to give it your full attention. And thankfully, its pacing and narrative both keep things interesting so you’ll want to keep your mind focused.

There’s a small mystery to solve before stepping on board the legendary train, but Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express wastes no time in getting going. Cutscenes are kept short and to the point, and conversations are interesting and well-acted, keeping you invested. The first mission – which sees you find someone’s missing train ticket – introduces you to the basics of the game, which means once you get on board the train you’re ready to hit the ground running.

There’s plenty more to keep you invested in Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express than simply interviewing witnesses and solving the mystery of the murder, too. Along the way you’ll have a variety of logic puzzles to solve: we helped a chef organise his fridge to make sure everything would fit, and we completed a classic block puzzle of moving one stack of boxes from one space to another, ensuring they always remained in size order. Sure, sometimes it’s a bit jarring when there’s a more pressing matter at hand, but we really do appreciate the range of puzzles on offer.

Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express review

It doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with Murder on the Orient Express when you jump into this mystery adventure. In fact, we’d argue you might enjoy it more going in blind, with no prior expectation of what the story holds. While the story remains faithful in some ways to Christie’s original work, changes have been made to bring it into the modern day – we very much doubt a banana-flavoured vape made for a piece of evidence before, for example – and a new character and sub-plot have been added. Along with taking control of Poirot, you’ll also play as Joanna Locke, an American police officer, as she investigates a kidnapping through a series of flashbacks.

Solving a compelling mystery is always rewarding, and Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express absolutely nails the thrill of stepping into the shoes of a celebrated detective. Allowing you to take the lead on a intriguing case, Microids’ latest visit with Poirot gives players just the right amount of agency, presenting us with a varied and engaging mixture of puzzles to solve. Add to the mix pleasing visuals, good voice acting and a story that’s worth sticking around for, and you’ve got a very good mystery game indeed.

Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express is based on the PS5 version of the game, via a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.