A group of people standing in front of a train, the text Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express is in front.
A group of people standing in front of a train, the text Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express is in front.
Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express | image courtesy of Microids

Game Review: Agatha Christie – Murder On The Orient Express (Nintendo Switch Lite)

Agatha Christie – Murder On The Orient Express

A group of people standing in front of a train, the text Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express is in front.

“On board the Orient Express, legendary detective Hercule Poirot solves the murder that has taken place on the prestigious train, surrounded by a cast of intriguing characters with their own secrets and motives. Solving the mystery won’t be easy and through numerous twists and turns, players will have
to use their little grey cells and detective skills to unravel the truth and bring it to light.


Set in 2023, with new twists and turns added to the original story, the game will bring Agatha Christie’s
literary classic to life in a way that will surprise even long-time fans. Players will play as both the famous
Hercule Poirot and his new sidekick, Joanna Locke as they set out to discover the truth behind the
murder aboard the Orient Express.”

Developer: Microids Studio Lyon

Publisher: Microids

Release Date: 19 October 2023

Key Features:

  • faithful adaptation with fresh twists and turns
  • new character called Joanna Locke
  • play as the legendary detective Hercule Poirot and solve puzzles using his mind maps
  • take on the role of Joanna to explore clues outside of the train area
  • investigate the surroundings, solve puzzles, make deductions, interrogate witnesses and finally uncover the truth behind the murder

Price: Β£32.99 (Nintendo Switch Version)

Official Website

Murder on the Orient Express – Gamescom Trailer – Microids Studio Lyon

Where can I buy the game?

The version reviewed in this article is the Nintendo eShop / Switch version.

Disclaimer

I have been given a review key free of charge for the purpose of this review. My opinions about the game are honest and in no way influenced by Microids or any other party. I will not receive financial compensation for writing this review.


Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is one of my favourite crime novels ever, and I just coincidentally re-read it again in the late summer of this year. When the game was announced, I got super excited to play it. Thanks to Microids, I can play this game for you and share my opinions – so you can decide whether this game is something for you or not.

But enough of the prelude, let’s boot up the game…

πŸ”Ž Starting the Game – Prologue πŸ”

As we start our adventure in Agatha Christie – Murder On The Orient Express, we see the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who receives a message instructing him to return to one of the cases he has been investigating due to unexpected developments. He makes a funny remark about how the developments cannot be unexpected because he predicted them, which gives us a good first impression of his character. Mr Bouc waves to us from the back of the room and we are instructed to join him. This is where the player takes control of Poirot.

We can move Poirot with the left analogue stick on the Nintendo Switch and move the camera with the right analogue stick. The movement feels smooth and natural, and the controls seem to be responsive without being jerky.

The interface on the Switch light is quite small and there does not seem to be an option to scale the UI to better fit the smaller screen. This is an issue with a lot of games released for this console. The interface is still readable, perhaps at the cost of a bit of eye strain, and very beautifully designed.

As we speak with Mr Bouc, we learn that he wants to secure a spot on the Orient Express for Poirot, so he can travel back to England on the same day. Poirot accepts the offer and we are interrupted by Princess Dragomiroff and her assistant, who are making some extravagant requests for the journey on the train. Another passenger appears in the back and reports a theft – his train ticket got stolen! A ticket for the Orient Express is worth a lot, and so Poirot is tasked with his first investigation – finding out what happened to the stolen train ticket of Captain Arbuthnot.

This is also when we first use the Mind Map. This tool lets us trace the steps of investigating the case, see the clues that have been collected and make deductions – essentially functioning as a fancy notebook that helps us to solve the case. I found the Mind Map to be easy to navigate at this stage and it can also act as a reminder if you need to leave the game and come back later. With the help of the Mind Map, Poirot decides to investigate Arbuthnot’s room, check out the door to the room, and interrogate the neighbours in the hotel.

As Poirot and Arbuthnot take the elevator up to the rooms, we get a chance to test our observation skills in the character analysis screen. We can navigate between Nationality, Profession, and Age and get a choice of three answers for these categories. I don’t think there are any hints on this screen to help you choose the correct options, and this minigame feels more like a guessing game to me at this point. My guesses were correct and the game lets me know that once you complete a character analysis, they will appear in our character tab.

We proceed to walk to Arbuthnot’s room, number 411, and Poirot immediately notices that the lock has not been tampered with. This completes the first investigation objective, checking out the door. Next, we can investigate the room. We can examine objects and other strange occurrences, such as stains on the floor. Objects that we have looked at will display an arrow symbol instead of a dot and I really like this feature. In this room, we also find our first collectables – a golden moustache! Classy. I won’t tell you where they are hiding though!

As Poirot investigates, our Mind Map keeps updating with the new information. After looking at everything, I go into the Mind Map menu to see if I can connect some of the clues. I can, and the first hypotheses emerges from the investigation. I notice that you can’t really get the deductions wrong as the game just lets you re-try if you make a mistake. This suggests that the game will be linear and you can’t make wrong conclusions.

Afterwards, I must speak with some people who could have some information about the case, including the chambermaid and the desk clerk. This helps Poirot to reconstruct the events as they occurred this morning.

This helps us to determine that the lost ticket must be in a laundry bag, and we go to inform Arbuthnot and finally retrieve the lost ticket.

Case closed!

With this task completed, we can move on to the Orient Express, where Bouc can be found waiting for us.

Bouc informs us that one of the passengers did not show up in time for departure and Poirot can have his bed instead. The two chefs we saw arguing before interrupt us and notify Bouc that there is not enough space in the kitchen on board to store all of the ingredients. Poirot decides that he wants to tend to the matter and solve their problem.

Next, we get to analyse one of the chefs in a character analysis and we are shown a diagram of the refrigerator and cut-out representations of the items. We can use these to figure out how the items need to be stored so that all of them can be brought on the train. The puzzle is integrated into the surroundings so we actually feel like we are solving it on the platform instead of a second screen, which is a good game design choice. After we solve the problem, the chefs are delighted and Bouc hopes that this will be the last mystery we have to solve on our journey. Foreshadowing anyone?

And with that, we step on the Orient Express…

πŸ”Ž The Orient Express πŸ”

The most important location of the game is – of course – the train. The exterior looks great and we get a few cinematic shots of the train before and after we enter. The interior is fairly light thanks to large windows, and the scale of the corridor, the toilet, and the rooms seems realistic. The rooms all have a room number and a symbol on the door which should make navigation fairly easy going forward. As the train is moving, you can see the snowy landscape passing by. The scenes are always quite atmospheric, and the train looks very comforting at night with soft warm lights everywhere and relaxing jazz music playing in the coaches.

The performance on the Switch lite is smooth, even in busier areas like the train station and platform with tables, luggage and the other travelers. The graphics are simplified but realistic and all objects and textures look sharp. This is a pleasant surprise, because there is nothing worse than a bunch of blurry textures and jagged objects to kill the immersion.

Gameplay-wise, the start is very slow once again.
We dine in the dining wagon with Bouc, and our next “case” is the identification of the correct recipe for the dessert that Bouc enjoyed so much. The chef does not want to give us the correct recipe, but instead of just saying that she would prefer to keep it private, she lies to us and gives us a fake recipe. It is now up to Poirot to identify the lies and work out the real recipe.

I personally did not enjoy this section and found myself fairly bored and not really wanting to pick up the game again afterwards.

πŸ”ͺ The Investigation πŸ”ͺ

Afterwards, we experience the night of the murder and, of course, Poirot is asked to investigate. I will not be going into detail here so you can find out who the victim is and where the investigations take you for yourself.

The investigation involves searching the environment for clues, playing mini-games, deducting information, and interrogating witnesses. The events generally follow the events as described in the book, but go into more detail and take into consideration the additional options you have while playing a game.

One of the new additions to the story is Joanna Locke, who is a second playable character in the game. She is a private detective and works on a related case in the United States. She can be played in flashbacks, which provide background information to current events on the train and the possible motives of suspects. This adds depth to the story and investigation and I really enjoyed this new addition to the game. Detective Locke will also join us for the final conclusion and share her insights.

The conclusion to the case adds some new information and layers, so this will feel somewhat new to players who are already familiar with the story. The general idea of the case has not changed much, however.

πŸ’­ Final Thoughts πŸ’­

My opinions on this game are a bit mixed. The game is beautifully designed with appealing graphics, fantastic voice acting, and a solid gameplay experience with a good balance of guidance and freedom. The game is filling the gaps needed to turn a book into a game very well and adds some own creative ideas, such as the tutorial case or the second playable character, Joanna.

The game runs surprisingly well on the Nintendo Switch lite, and I would recommend this game for the console if you prefer to investigate on a handheld device.

Despite these many positive points, I found myself bored quite often while playing the game. Perhaps this is because I read the book and watched the movie based on the book quite recently and thus there were few things that felt new or revolutionary to me. The game is advertised to fans of the series and the developers clearly tried to add additional experiences to the story, but in the end this game tells the story of the murder on the Orient Express.
This is not the fault of the game and if you are unfamiliar with the original story or don’t remember much of it, this game will be a fun and charming detective game!

The puzzles are not particularly difficult and the linear design of the game makes it impossible for players to miss information or come to the wrong conclusion. This design sets it apart from other detective games where the success of the investigation depends on your abilities. There are also no moral choices to be made anywhere in the game.
You follow a pre-written storyline and there is no way to step off the train, so to speak. If you are not into very linear story games, this game may not be the best fit for you.

Generally, I do recommend Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express, if you are in the mood to experience the story (again) and if you are comfortable with linear storytelling without choices and consequences. Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express is a well-made and charming game, and a very solid hommage to the famous detective story by the Queen of Crime.

Rating: πŸ§‘πŸ§‘πŸ§‘πŸ–€πŸ–€

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