Murder in the Hotel Lisbon Preview - Niche Gamer Murder in the Hotel Lisbon Preview - Niche Gamer
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Murder in the Hotel Lisbon Preview

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I was given the privilege of playing an early preview build of this exciting new game from Nerd Monkeys who are based out of Portugal. What they are cooking up here is a comedic detective point and click adventure game that harkens back to the days when this was a dominant genre.

As soon as you boot this thing up you can see the retro feel this game has gone for. Everything has a hand drawn look to it but at the same time it all looks very crude, but not in a bad way. What I mean by that is that if you grew up with some of these games you will instantly feel at home with the old school retro look this game has gone for. A lot of indie games are criticized for overusing the retro look but it’s kind of necessary in a game like this. It’s not only the graphics, but the entire game feels retro. It was a theme here and not a statement.

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Now we have already covered this game quite a bit (here, here, here here, and here) and as I mentioned the developers were nice enough to give us access to an early preview build of their game. Due to this some things in the game were obviously a bit off. Certain dialogue isn’t translated and the game crashes quite a bit. I even lost over an hour of gameplay due to these crashes. However, you can rest easy since Nerd Monkeys have confirmed that none of these issues will be present in the final product.

The game starts off right in your office and right off the bat you can see how easy this game is to play. Anything you can investigate gets highlighted by a white border so you won’t waste your time clicking around endlessly looking for a small piece of evidence tucked under a bed or something like that.

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You are immediately introduced to the comic stylings of this game as well, cheesy and corny. The game clearly went for the approach of low brow humor and it works quite well, especially when taken in along side the art style. Everything is silly and the humor makes you laugh not because the joke is good, it’s funny because it’s corny. This entire theme is really forced home when you walk into the very next room and meet Clown Bot.

His entire gimmick is telling corny jokes as he immediately starts bombarding you with the classics. Cheesy one liners, knock knock jokes, yeah, they are all there and the crowd loves it. Yeah, that is right, the crowd. A really cool thing about this game is that the entire thing seems to be a playing as the curtain draws when you start up and the crowd will frequently lets their grievances or approvals of your work be known. From as far as I got in the game, the crowd loves Clown Bot and doesn’t seem to like you too much. This is because every cheesy joke that Clown Bot tells elicits raucous applause and you get frequently jeered aside from one guy who always laughs at what you say. I have to get that guys name and buy him a drink or something.

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In the next room you meet Policeman Garcia and are introduced to the interview tutorial. This was one of my favorite parts of the game. How it works is that you have a series of questions and statements you can make to the witness and you pair that question up with evidence you find during your adventure. The evidence makes it so the witness can’t deny your allegations anymore and has to give you the information you are demanding from them.

Now I am not sure if the final game will be different, but it just seems that if you fail the interview segment and don’t get the information you need, you can just talk to them again and start over asking the same questions and presenting the same evidence. Kind of makes me wonder if there will be any kind of penalty for botching the interview in the final version.

You can interview with both Detective Case or Clown Bot and in the old good cop/bad cop strategy. Case is more crude and aggressive while Clown Bot is more calm and logical. Certain witnesses respond better to different strategies so it’s a good idea to take the witnesses personality into account before you choose who you want to conduct the interview.

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Another thing I liked about the game was that the various characters in the game will at times offer side quests for you to accomplish. From my understanding these are totally optional and I’m not sure what kind of rewards they will open up in the final game, but they are silly enough to be a fun diversion to the main quest. For example I did one that involved finding Policeman Garcia’s lost baton which Detective Case kept calling his “stick”, and yes, that included all the inappropriate dick jokes that you can think of.

I really enjoyed what I played of this and I went up until the game crashed on me when I went to interview somebody and I lost over an hour of progress. Obviously this issue won’t be present in the final release so I urge everybody to check this out when it launches on December 5th if you miss the old school adventure genre and you enjoy games that don’t take themselves too seriously.  Pre-Order it here.