So did Humpty Dumpty fall or was he pushed? Someone in Library City knows the answer and solving the Humpty case is going to take the skills of its top two detectives, Diggs Nightcrawler and you.
Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler is the new game from Moonbot Studios and the second title so far to use the new Wonderbook technology, following the release of Book Of Spells last year. The game has the player team up with gumshoe Diggs to solve the murder of Humpty Dumpty, the Don of Library City, and by finding clues and helping Diggs the player attempts to crack the Humpty case.
The investigation starts with a marvellously imaginative scene in which Humpty, predicting his own demise, begs the player to solve his impending murder by finding Diggs the detective and bringing the criminal to justice. Sure enough Humpty is bumped off and the game starts to unfold. The story and use of the Wonderbook begins at a steady pace as Diggs chases suspects and investigates the crime scene. It's also here that the immersion into this world of nursery rhymes and film noir sucks the player in and never really lets them go.
As the game progresses Diggs and the player must work out who bumped off Humpty by traveling around Library City seeking out clues and looking for pieces of Humpty's shell, all the while avoiding danger. While doing this players meet the cities' brilliantly reimagined nursery rhyme inhabitants such as the three little pig detectives, Itsy Bitsy spider the nightclub singer and her backing band the blind mice. All the characters and locations have a great authentic noir atmosphere mixed with a healthy dose of imagination that Tim Burton would be proud of.
Not everyone wants the Humpty case cleared up though and danger comes in many forms, such as being framed by the three little pigs or being thrown in a river in a barrel by L.J. Silver the pirate leader who can only speak in ‘arrs’. Everyone it seems has got something to hide or secrets to impart and it’s up to the player with the help of the Wonderbook to search for clues, chase villains and help Diggs with his detective work.
Detective work has never looked so glamorous as Library City and its inhabitants are bought to life with gorgeous looking graphics. The streets and clubs look authentically dingy, almost like something right off a Hitchcock set, and using Wonderbook players can cleverly rotate the environment and do so smoothly without so much as a flicker disrupting the game. The great look of the locations are supported by the detailed style of its inhabitants who have been beautifully animated as they move round the screen really bringing the game to life. Complementing the great look and adding further layers to the great atmosphere is the marvelous period sounding music that plays unobtrusively in the background and swells to match the action or just nicely sets the mood.
Controlling Diggs and the investigation is handled well by use of either the Move controller, the Wonderbook, or both. The Move controller is often used like a magnifying glass to look for clues, whereas the Wonderbook brings each scene to life from any angle and can be tilted, turned or used in many other ways to help Diggs. For example, if Diggs needs to look at a clue the player will rotate the Wonderbook to the correct angle so Diggs can see it, or if you are in a car chase a simple tit enables you to steer past obstacles and ram the baddies' car. Whatever the player ends up doing the controls are intuitive and easy and at no time was I struggling to work out what to do.
Overall, Diggs Nightcrawler is a great game but that doesn't mean it’s faultless. The major problem is that - engrossing though the Humpty case is - it doesn't take long to solve, with probably just over an hour’s worth of gameplay altogether. There is some replay value bought in with different trophies to earn which will require multiple playthroughs, but at the most there is only two to three hours gameplay. Of course, the game is squarely aimed at seven-year olds and above according to its PEGI rating so it could be argued that the length of the game is just right.
If you've got a Wonderbook then I would certainly recommend you pick up Diggs Nightcrawler. Though the game might be short, it’s great fun to play and bodes well for future Wonderbook-related releases.
-The Final Word-
A fun but short detective game that utilises the Wonderbook in great ways.