Parents' Guide to

Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1 - A Dreadly Business

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Creative adventure full of puzzles and laughs.

Game Windows 2015
Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1 - A Dreadly Business Poster Image

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Bertram Fiddle is one of the most entertaining adventure game heroes ever created. Equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Phileas Fogg, and Inspector Clouseau, Fiddle represents an amusing caricature of the classic Victorian gentleman. Like these other characters, he comes equipped with a sidekick -- in this case, a Peruvian cyclops with super strength called Gavin. Unlike them, he also has a wife who gives him a serious ultimatum: Find adventure or get a job. Horrified at the prospect of working, he embarks on the investigation of a murder case, at the center of which is a shadowy figure the newspapers are calling "Geoff the Murderer." He does this hoping to find adventure (Fiddle is utterly clueless, seemingly unable to recognize adventure even in the midst of it), and along the way he also agrees to run errands for a creepy and unpleasant nobleman named Lord Arthwipe. Both the murder case and Lord Arthwipe's needs provide ample opportunities for fun puzzles and absurd dialogue.

Puzzles in A Dreadly Business consist of situational obstacles, solved by using random items and interviewing weirdly wonderful Londoners. The dialog and voice acting both are excellent, and the game's odd vocabulary, silly surnames, and sly literary references often are laugh-out-loud-worthy. The graphics and music hold their own with the puzzle design and writing -- the former being beautiful in a bizarre, colorful, “Yellow Submarine” kind of way, the latter adding to the offbeat tone of the game with playful Victorian-esque melodies featuring accordion and tuba. Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1 – A Dreadly Business is, especially for adventure gamers, one of those games you just can't afford to miss. It's clever, creative, funny, and graphically stunning in a crazy, kaleidoscopic kind of way. And though this first chapter plays out in a quick 90 minutes, the high-density entertainment it provides leaves you excited to experience the next.

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