Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders Game Poster Image
Entertaining but gruesome mystery; sometimes too difficult.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

It's very possible the game could scare kids, especially with its talk of the seeming randomness of the murders and everyone's fear of a mad, serial killer on the loose. On the positive side, everyone respects Hercule Poirot for his intellect and he is often commended for his smarts.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As the hero of the tale, Hercule Poirot does present a positive role model. He cherishes intelligence, shows commitment to his work, and feels terrible when he thinks the killer may somehow be committing these crimes to get back at him.

Ease of Play

Several of the game's puzzles are incredibly difficult. It's nice to be challenged, but players who can't solve a certain puzzle could have their progress in the game stopped cold, as there is no way to get hints and no way to give up and bypass a too-difficult puzzle.

Violence

Although no violence is specifically shown onscreen, a series of gruesome murders is discussed in detail throughout the game. Talk of people who have been stabbed, strangled, and bludgeoned to death is quite frequent and those murders are central to the storyline. Witnesses talk about one suspect who frequently made threats to kill his wife in different ways (the man says these threats were jokes). A brief animated montage that begins the game shows a shadowy figure approaching behind unsuspecting people (the figure holds a scarf stretched out behind one woman, whom he is about to strangle). The montage then focuses on the victims' closing eyes.

Sex

Visually, there is no sexual imagery, but the physical attractiveness of certain female characters is talked out in dialogue, as is the status of a few romantic relationships.

Language

The words "damn" and "hell" appear in the dialogue multiple times.

Consumerism

At most, the game could inspire players to read Agatha Christie books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is talk of one character being a drunk, another buying tobacco, and another being disoriented by the morphine she was given by doctors after her husband was murdered.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while young mystery buffs may enjoy stepping into the shoes of one of literature's greatest detectives, this story-based whodunit game is about a serial murderer and is filled with gruesome details. They should also be aware of the very high difficulty level on several of the game's interior puzzles, which could frustrate some kids even if they're enjoying the other aspects of the game.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 9 years old November 25, 2017

The Book Review of The ABC Murders

I was looking for a website to review the book on but could not find one so I'm writing a review of the novel here. ABC Murders is a very clever novel, and... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 31, 2016

Really great series!!

I personally LOVE Poirot so much and his ABC Murders are just the best! I must admit, one character is quite freaky and there are many people killed. Most kids... Continue reading

What's it about?

AGATHA CHRISTIE: THE ABC MURDERS follows the same plot as the famed mystery writer's similarly titled book. Detective Hercule Poirot receives letter from someone calling himself ABC and announcing in advance murders he plans to commit in different British cities. Poirot travels around the country interviewing suspects, most of whom say things like, \"I'll only answer your questions if you can solve this riddle.\" Random brainteaser puzzles are presented to Poirot through the game. At the end of the story, the player must correctly identify the murderer or risk starting the game all over.

Is it any good?

As it follows the plot to Agatha Christie's original novel of the same name, The ABC Murders is a mystery that will definitely keep you guessing (unless you've already read the book). As an interactive Christie mystery, the game is a pretty good one. While the random puzzles posed to Poirot through the game provide a lot more for the player to do, and generally work as a game-lengthening device (a la those in the Professor Layton games), the inability to skip any -- or even get a hint -- is a flaw.

There is a nice bit of replay value added by the "Free Mystery" mode, which presents the same case and same suspects, but with different testimonies that lead to an entirely new murderer. There is also a third mystery, in the form of a logic puzzle, the clues to which can only be found by examining the scenery during the main mystery. Touches like that cater to mystery lovers, but the game may still be too challenging for the casual player.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of mystery stories. Why do people enjoy trying to solve crimes, even ones that are violent and gruesome? Is a game that is violent but brainy better than a game than a violent game with no intellectual component?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Dreamcatcher
  • Release date: December 11, 2009
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Violent References

For kids who love mysteries

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