Online, Jul 2021
Moulin Rouge is a digital game set in Paris, where you’re investigating the murder of a young lady. This is a paid game with a guideline time of two hours, but note that there’s a free 15 min game from the company if you want to get a feel for the style before purchasing.
Their games have a connecting premise where you’re agents for a mystery solving agency run by one Mr. Tippley, who is a prominent character in this game – each step has a short animated video, with Tippley discussing your progress and giving you pointers for the next puzzle.
When I played this the game’s website was showing an ‘untrusted site’ SSL warning – but that’s likely a temporary issue, and if you get the same thing, note that it doesn’t actually prevent the game from being played.
It’s a linear structure with, broadly, each step providing a video snippet, some new clues, and a puzzle to solve to progress. Unlike most games that use this structure, the pages are not self-contained, in that you are expected to take notes of clues as you find them, and may need to use them on a later step. That’s an unusual approach that could be frustrating for players who don’t take sufficient notes – although in practice we never found that we needed to return to an earlier page. (It’s also not self-contained in the sense that you may need to use resources from the wider internet, though that’s true of a lot of digital games.)
The two of us played from different locations, which the game is designed to support; whenever one person enters a correct clue, it automatically advances everyone to the next page. You’ll certainly want a separate video call for communication if the players aren’t in the same place, though.
I found this a well-produced game with a substantial amount of content. It starts off reasonably accessible and gradually increases the challenge; with the exception of one puzzle that I still don’t understand, everything seemed fair. It does make a habit of using a particular puzzle trope, which is justified within the narrative as being a favourite of the victim who set you the clues; but it includes several clever or original ideas. The help system could do with a little improvement: it offers a clue buttons and a solution button, but finer-grained hints would be nice.
Between the animated videos and the various interactive elements it feels quite slick. There’s enough here to take most groups 1.5-2.5 hours of play, and it all fits together as a single clear narrative that slowly unfolds are you make progress, making it a solid option for an evening’s entertainment.