Redstone is a murder mystery set in a casino on a american tribal reservation. The game was written using Gamefic and is played online in a web-browser. The game interface consists of a number of locations, each of which has a background image and presents the player with a number of clickable actions and objects. The actions are a subset of typical parser commands, like “go”, “examine”, “take”, and there are no more than a handful of objects in each location.
[Some spoilers follow beyond this point]
The main character is a detective, and it’s left up to the player to decide how to pursue the investigation. The hotel staff have been instructed to cooperate, so the obvious thing to do is poke around the murder scene and talk to everyone that might have some connection to the victim, Troy Connor. Troy was last seen in the company of two associates, John Simon and Peter Link, so they are also on the short list for interviews at the start of the game.
The player needs to do the footwork to put together a timeline of what happened that evening, and the way the game is designed, I thought the clues came together smoothly, and that some clues set up others in a way that did not feel overly contrived.
I found that it helped to jot notes in a text editor as I went along, to help keep track of the names, places, and times mentioned, but the game’s built-in “think” feature does a great job of summarizing at any given time how all the clues plug together or what gaps remain in the picture. It’s a well-implemented feature, but I felt it did too much for the player. I would have preferred that it provide hints at points where I was casting around for what to investigate next, but not pull the strings together so comprehensively.
In fact, there was no need to take notes at all. By following the thread of the investigation, the game will come to a successful conclusion without the need for the player to justify their conclusions: that is done in dialogue.
Overall, the level of implementation of objects was light and some characters had a bit of depth, but most did not. The strengths of this story are setting and plot. I thought the dialogue was a little flat, but the flavor was good with regard to terms specific to casinos and law enforcement. The murder plot was nothing special, but everything did fit together very clearly in the end.
Preliminary Score: 8