Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident

Common Sense Media says

Spooky-themed seek-and-find game good for patient players.

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story is a simple, fantasy-infused detective mystery. It encourages players to be observant, methodical, and logical as they take their time examining scenes and then figure out how to use objects to solve puzzles. 

Positive role models

Players get to know the detective whose role they assume only through notes in the journal they keep. Based on these notes, the detective’s dominant trait is a passion to investigate and discover the truth. 

Ease of play

The game mechanics are simple: just point and click. However, some hidden objects can be devilishly hard to find. Luckily, players have an aid in the form of unlimited hints (though they have to wait a minute or so between requesting them). Unfortunately, the only hints players have for navigating the world and solving other forms of puzzles are notes kept in the case file notebook. Younger and less patient players could grow frustrated as they stroll around the game’s island, examining and re-examining their surroundings looking for clues on how to proceed.

Violence

No violence occurs in the game, but players hear a story about a deadly explosion. Plus, players occasionally search for tools of violence, including morning stars and swords, and some of the locations visited -- including a graveyard with coffins exposed by an earthquake -- are a little creepy.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Players see bottles of alcoholic beverages -- typically marked “XXX” -- within hidden object scenes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident is a mostly innocuous hidden object game. Some scenes -- like a crypt -- can be a little scary, and the narrative briefly references people dying, but play is limited to finding objects and solving puzzles; players never see any violence. While the content is fairly clean -- expect nothing more controversial than swords and liquor bottles hidden within some scenes -- parents should know that the puzzles can be quite challenging, as can figuring out what needs to be done next in order to progress through the world. Younger players without patience could grow frustrated.

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What's it about?

Big Fish Games’ popular series of hidden object games finally makes its way from PC to console in MYSTERY CASE FILES: THE MALGRAVE INCIDENT for Wii. Players take on the role of a detective drawn to a spooky, run-down island at the behest of an eccentric man who claims to have found a pink particulate that could potentially be the answer to humanity’s physical ills. Players navigate the island by pointing at the screen and clicking, making sure to carefully examine their surroundings for clues along the way. Most puzzles are seek-and-find scenes where players have to find a handful of objects among a jumble of items. They’ll keep some of these objects -- including valves, planks, tiles, and cutters -- to help with contextual conundrums that, when solved, will clear the way for further island exploration. A trio of multiplayer mini-games, meanwhile, pits up to four players against each other as they attempt to find objects as quickly as possible to earn points or avoid holding a bomb when it explodes.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Why would a family spend $40 on the sort of game that can be found for $10 on PC or $3 on an iPad? Surprisingly, there are a number of compelling answers. For starters, the quality of the narrative is closer to that of a full-priced boxed game than a simple downloadable. Plus, the number and variety of puzzles is impressive, and there are lots of bonus collectibles for keen-eyed players to find along the way. And the three multiplayer games, though simple, extend the fun in a way that’s impossible in a PC-based hidden object game. Expect ten or more hours of solid entertainment, all told.

Our biggest beef has to do with the Wii. Despite its control scheme -- which is perfect for a game like this -- and its seemingly ideal demographic of casual gamers, it doesn’t do a great job of generating clear graphics. That’s a problem in a game that demands players identify tiny details in busy scenes. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is the cause of some frustration. Nonetheless, Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident earns an easy recommendation.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to be a detective. Do you enjoy solving mysteries? Do you think recognizing clues in real life might be harder than in a game?

  • Families can also discuss the virtues of patience and perseverance. What are some real-world situations in which it pays to take your time and show diligence? Do you have a difficult time maintaining interest if solutions to problems aren’t quick to present themselves?  

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:June 28, 2011
Genre:Adventure
ESRB rating:E for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Violent References (Nintendo Wii)

This review of Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 7 year old Written byjsg February 6, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Spooky atmosphere might be too much for younger kids.

My seven year old son enjoyed playing it for awhile, but the spooky, sinister atmosphere it created resulted in a lot of anxiety at bedtime. He was very upset that it was rated "E for Everyone" and suggests that it is for older kids. Aside from the atmosphere, I thought it was fun, but definitely for older players because there are references to Hamlet and to objects that a younger person might not know. Definitely an intriguing game and one to play as a family.

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