Murder asks an interesting question, and it’s not one of sentience or morality like the game would have you believe. It’s whether or not video games are the right medium to present short stories like this one, and Murder doesn’t make a good case for it.
Murder bills itself as a short story, and can be played through in 20 minutes. It introduces two mechanics: clicking on objects and dialogue options, and the game has barely any of the latter outside of the first five minutes.
Despite it’s short length, there’s good production values in Murder. The artwork in the game is absolutely gorgeous, the music is, for the most part, really well done and fits scenes perfectly, and every line of dialogue is voiced, even if the acting falls flat. The game is a story driven experience and doesn’t offer any form of challenging gameplay.
The game's opening showcases how much effort was put into the game's art design.But just because the game is well produced doesn’t mean everything meshes well together. The game started me out out with the most cringe-worthy main menu music I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a bad fan-produced rap song for a more popular game. It doesn’t remotely sound similar to any other music track in Murder, and fails to set the tone at all. Subsequent playthroughs have main menu music changed to something more appropriate, so I’m not sure if it’s a random easter egg, or if it only plays on a first playthrough.
Furthermore, the plot of the game doesn’t really go anywhere. It really feels like a prologue to a larger story, since there’s no character development. The game’s events also don’t flow well as a story, but just happen one after another. No questions are answered, and there’s no real conclusion. The credits just suddenly start to roll.
You spend a total of two minutes at most in this area, before going back to the main character's apartment, and then the game pretty much ends.
The game’s plot also spends the last five minutes going really Meta, addressing the player with vague non-answers that barely address the plot of the game. It comes out of nowhere and doesn’t compliment the story at all. It just makes the plot feel even more incomplete.
If the game questions anything, it’s whether or not video games are the proper form to present short stories like Murder. I enjoy short interactive experiences like this, but it feels underwhelming to have to pay for it. Murder costs three dollars, which is not a lot, but it’s up to buyer to decide whether that cost is worth such a short amount of gameplay. Murder probably should have had a smaller price tag, or maybe even have been free.
Murder has a fantastic art style that shows that real time and energy was put into it. I can see why the developer is charging for it, but the game’s short length, inconsistent tone, and incomplete story questions whether or not this game should cost three dollars.