Video Game Review – Who pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus?

Shaun Munro reviews Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus?…

Wales Interactive’s latest FMV thriller is certainly a slight improvement on most of their recent efforts, namely night book and Bloodshore – yet, despite the utmost thought that has been put into its execution, it is still a wildly uneven effort.

Moving noticeably away from supernatural shenanigans and gunfights towards the better suited genre of murder mystery, Who muted Uncle Marcus? is essentially a micro-budget homage to Knives out – or rather, the sons of Agatha Christie who clearly inspired Rian Johnson’s film. A noticeably lighter tone than recent Wales FMV titles, Uncle Marcus more willingly leans into its inherent country character with half a nod to the audience rather than trying to play itself straight as too many previous games from the studios have done.

Abby (Abigail Hardingham) is her family’s outcast, but as annual tradition has it, she reunited with the whole quirky clan during a Zoom-style call for a family quiz on her mother’s birthday. But just as the quiz is about to begin, Abby receives a call from her beloved uncle, Marcus (Andy Buckley), who informs her that he has been fatally poisoned by one of the other six members. of the family, and it’s up to Abby to reveal their identities before it’s too late.

What follows is admittedly a pretty basic murder mystery by conventional standards, though it’s filtered through the prism of an FMV game that you’ll need to play repeatedly in order to amass clues that will lead you to blame. the supposed killer.

Uncle-Marcus-005

That alone gives Uncle Marcus far more replay value than previous Wales games, which, with their aggressively mediocre stories, might only see you curiously going through history once or twice. Here, it’s absolutely necessary to keep coming back if you really want to get to the bottom of the mystery, and even most of the failed accusations lead to at least amusing and/or over-the-top endings.

Eventually, you’ll probably be forced to scramble every last dialogue combination to uncover the few remaining clues, which can sometimes make it a bit too forensic for its own good, closer to His history Where Tell lies than a melting fleece.

But what elevates this slightly above this publisher’s recent FMV efforts are surely the entertaining performances. nina forever star Abigail Hardingham brings a relatively frustrated quality to protagonist Abby, while it’s fun to see Office’s Andy Buckley hammering him as the titular uncle.

Elsewhere, the various supporting actors lean well into their shameless caricatures, biting into the fun and nasty dialogue and ensuring that each of them remains wary throughout. Susannah Doyle is particularly fun as June, Abby’s boozy aunt, and Eileen Davies as her dotty grandmother.

Uncle-Marcus-004

Even with a shrewd cast, many of the usual FMV Wales game problems abound, mainly that the story just isn’t this compelling and, fatally, that the ability to skip previously watched clips always forces you to rewatch a parcel of hardware due to the way video files are stored in the game. Over potentially a dozen or more games, it really gets quite tedious.

It’s probably right to call Who muted Uncle Marcus? a small step in the right direction for the studio’s FMV gaming stable, but it’s still a long way from 2017 Late shiftwhich in terms of concept and production quality is so, so much more professional. Like most of their COVID-era games, Uncle Marcus feels low-budget entertaining to its very bones, but this glorified Zoom call is at least more entertaining than their most heightened works of late.

It’s not a terrible way to kill a few hours and certainly better than most of Wales Interactive’s recent FMV projects, but still marred by presentation flaws and run-of-the-mill storytelling.

Uncle-Marcus-002

Benefits:
+ The fun campy tone.
+ Strong distribution performance.
+ A decent incentive to keep playing again.

The inconvenients:
– The story is a fairly generic thriller.
– Low production values.
– The ability to skip a previously viewed video is inconsistent.

Rating: 5/10

Tested on PC (also available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, IOS and Android).

A revision code was provided by the publisher.

Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more video game ramblings, or email me here.