Suspects: Mystery Mansion
Unclear aspects may render this multiplayer murder game DOA.
Suspects: Mystery Mansion
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Suspects: Murder Mansion is a murder mystery game for iOS and Android devices. The gameplay involves a killer who's trying to dispose of as many players as possible, so there are some violent elements. Players look for and report finding dead bodies, and can also be killed suddenly, with a cutscene showing the killer attack them with a knife, for example. The body of the victim will remain behind, and will be visible to other players who enter the room they were murdered in. Although the characters are cartoonish animals, and the deaths may not show a lot of blood, several can occur during a match as the killer uses weapons to eliminate targets. Players may be confused about some of the game elements -- they're shown two drawings that show what to do if you're a guest or the killer. They're otherwise dropped into the game without any further instruction on elements such as how to move around the mansion or specifically perform the tasks on their list. There is an FAQ, which explains things in more detail and can be accessed from the Settings icon on the main page, but it's not particularly easy to find. While completely free to play, gamers can -- but don't really need to -- buy gem packages, sold for $0.99 to $99.99, to get new characters and tickets that allow them to have a specific role. They'll also earn gems by playing, but they tend to accumulate fairly slowly.
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What’s It About?
Players try to determine which player is the killer in SUSPECTS: MYSTERY MANSION. They explore and try to complete a list of tasks as they find clues. The killer, on the other hand, is stalking the other players, trying to eliminate them without being caught. By clicking on a paw icon, they can examine them -- using a magnifying glass, for example, to scan an item for fingerprints. When a body is found or a bell is rung, players gather to discuss the killer's identity using their device's microphone. If they vote and don't chose the killer, the game continues until the right suspect is found or the other players are murdered.
Is It Any Good?
While this murder mystery attempts to draw in players, the lack of instructions and glitchy controls ruins the fun. Clues are scattered around a stately home in Suspects: Mystery Mansion. Players can pick up items -- such as a book highlighted with a yellow outline in a bookcase -- for a closer look. They're also supposed to finish items on a list of tasks, such as putting away scattered tools, or completing mini-challenges, such as fixing a water issue with plumbing pieces. Players also try to disarm bombs the killer has placed to blow up the mansion. If you're killed, you can stay in the game as a ghost, which lets you move around the mansion more freely, and you can still complete your tasks. You can also watch the game play out, but can't ring the bell or vote.
The game instructions aren't detailed, which quickly becomes an issue. As a guest, you're essentially told to complete your tasks, report dead bodies, and discuss and vote the killer out -- but aren't told how to do any of those things. Players need to figure out how to move their character around and pick things up. When a player rings a bell to report a murder, everyone's taken to a screen where they can discuss the killer using their phone or other device's microphone. Although players enter their birthdate before starting the game so it can be customized to their age, teens may find themselves matched with very young children -- and, as a result, the discussion can vary in content. Also, since there's no guarantee that players will choose the murderer correctly in chat, games can reach a point where it feels like there's not much left to do but walk around rooms repeatedly waiting for something to happen, which isn't too exciting. The controls and audio can also be glitchy at times, although the game claims to be under constant development, so future changes may iron out those issues. The concept has promise -- the voice capabilities are a somewhat novel way to collaborate with other players, and the murder mystery could serve as a fun way for younger players to use logic and other critical thinking skills. But without more guidance on how to play, though, Suspects: Mystery Mansion seems more likely to confuse players than intrigue them.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the process used to figure out who the killer was in Suspects: Mystery Mansion. How could those skills and investigation tactics be used in real life?
How vital is paying attention to details in solving who the killer was in Suspects: Mystery Mansion? Is this skill something that only applies to this game, or would it work for other games or real life as well?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: May 1, 2021
- Category: Role-Playing Games
- Topics: Adventures
- Publisher: Wildlife Studios
- Version: 1.0.5
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 10.0 or later or Android 4.4 and up.
- Last updated: May 10, 2021
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