Fast Familiar – The Curse of the Burial Dagger [Hivemind Review]

The Curse of the Burial Dagger a digital, narrative-driven light puzzle game created by Fast Familiar in the UK.

Illustration of a detective character with a notepad. Closed caption reads, "Suddenly, I head this screaming coming from Lord Hamilton's museum."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Web-based inventory system
  • Includes video segments
  • Point-and-click

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: about 60 minutes

Price: £20 per team

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

It was a web-based (and well designed!) interface. You talk to different characters (video segments) and try to deduce who the murderer is (like a huge logic puzzle). Occasionally you get to solve some small puzzles.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

In this murder mystery/ graphic novel mashup, we found a lord dead in his mansion. We had to start an investigation amongst his employees and family members to figure out who had done it.

At its best, this game was high in production value. It had amazing artwork and funny voice-overs. There was a slow and steady onramp to a unique and nicely designed game mechanic. The puzzles also included some actual knowledge about forensic science.

At its worst, while the longer dialog sequences made sense, the puzzle-to-story ratio was pretty off. I wished we could have done more in the game ourselves instead of being told about it. The puzzles themself had a user-friendly interface, but they lacked a bit in originality. One straight-up math problem felt especially out of place.

This story-heavy deduction game made us giggle a few times. However, it’s not a game for puzzle enthusiasts.

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

This is less of a traditional escape game, and more of a murder mystery experience. The production value is high, the voice acting is top-notch, and the tongue-in-cheek humor is cute. The actual structure of the game incorporates many comical cut scenes. These are interspersed with simple puzzles that are clearly designed to educate the player about introductory forensic science concepts.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

The Curse of the Burial Dagger delivered a purportedly paranormal murder mystery with a surplus of gorgeous artwork and constantly quippy dialogue. The visuals and writing were the strong standouts of this experience, and I spent much of the game laughing.

Designed in collaboration with a forensic science institute, this game included an above-average amount of real science as we processed fingerprints, blood samples, and such. Additionally, a core mechanic prompted us to evaluate the potential truth of a list of hypotheses based around the evidence we uncovered. I liked this idea in theory, but in the form implemented it felt redundant and perhaps a bit too elementary. Moreover, I wish more attention had been paid to what the players are meant to take away from these forensic science elements — since there was no way I was going to remember the names of chemicals and such mentioned in passing.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Curse of the Burial Dagger. I could see this game appealing to high school students diving deeper into the scientific method, or to escape room enthusiasts looking for a light narrative-driven game that is visually attractive and hilariously written.

Disclosure: Fast Familiar provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

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