Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? – Review
Follow Genre: FMV, mystery game
Developer: Wales Interactive, Good Gate Media
Publisher: Wales Interatice
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: PC

Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? – Review

Site Score
7.2
Good: Well-written mystery story
Bad: Quiz aspect is severely underutilized
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Ah, the FMV. A genre long declared dead, that has seen a surprising resurgence over the last few years, not in the least thanks to the titles released by Wales Interactive. We took a look at some of their horror titles, like Night Book and I Saw Black Clouds, but they’re taking things in a very different direction with their latest release, Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? In this mystery game, you’ll need to solve a murder… except the victim is still alive, and you’ll need to race against time to save his life. Don’t worry we won’t give away any spoilers, so join us as we attempt to figure out Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus?

Story

Producing FMV games during a global pandemic isn’t a very straightforward affair, but Wales Interactive managed to circumvent any restrictions by crafting a story that allowed for the characters to interact with one another without ever being in the same room. Players join protagonist Abby as she attempts to rescue the life of her beloved uncle Marcus, who has been poisoned by one of the other members of the family. The family members have conveniently gathered together to celebrate the birthday of Abby’s mother Felicity, as family tradition dictates that they do so by taking part in a very strange online quiz. Each of the six suspect family members has a very distinct personality, although they also all fit into a specific archetype. The characters include the death-obsessed Bradley, who wears a black hoodie and locks himself in his room, vapid teen pop sensation Lottie, who is constantly on her phone, family matriarch Felicity who only cares about the family’s reputation, seemingly naive grandmother Nan, environmentalist Toby and finally aunty June, who is never seen without a glass of wine and a plethora of nasty quotes.

The evening before the quiz takes place, the entire family -barring Abby herself- have gotten together to discuss the future of the family business. It is during this meeting that someone slipped uncle Marcus a dose of an unidentified poison. By the time he realizes this, he only has a couple of hours left, but the only way to escape death is to take the right antidote -and taking the wrong one will also seal his fate. If Abby can identify the killer, she’ll be able to figure out which poison was administered and rescue Marcus with the right antidote.

Unfortunately for Abby, the entire family consists of outright terrible people, and each one of them has their own secrets as well as reasons to hate Marcus. Abby will need to weave her way through lies, backtalk, and perhaps the most awkward quiz ever, all without raising suspicion. With the killer knowing she’s on her trail eventually, and time ticking away for dear uncle Marcus, will our unlikely heroine save the day, or will the family need to attend a funeral next?

Acting

Wales Interactive went for seasoned actors that are relatively unknown for Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus?, but the cast definitely delivers, although some of the performances are less impressive than others. The standout here is Susannah Doyle, who plays aunty June. She’s clearly loving every moment of playing a bitch who doesn’t want to be at the online party, and her dry delivery of sneering insults is easily one of the game’s highlights. On the other end of the spectrum is Al Weaver, whom you may know as Rex from the Xenoblade Chronicles franchise. His performance of cousin Toby, who is supposed to be participating in the party from the back of a vehicle in the jungle, feels over the top and not in a good way. Thankfully, even though Toby delivers the worst part in the game, even his performance is above average.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the characters can’t really bounce off one another due to the fact that they weren’t able to record their parts together. Timing of interactions between two cast members occasionally feels off, although this can be attributed to lag on the characters’ webcam connections, and the cast certainly does what they can within their limitations, such as having to stick in the same location throughout the entirety of the game.

Gameplay

There isn’t a whole lot of depth to Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus?’ gameplay, but that’s par for the course for FMV games. You’ll simply sit through the scenes and make choices, which influence the flow of the branching story. Along the way, you’ll discover secrets and gather evidence through watching specific scenes. Once you gather enough evidence, you can then accuse your suspect and hopefully solve the mystery of who poisoned Marcus. A single playthrough will take roughly 45 minutes, though any scenes you’ve seen before can be skipped. Of note is that the game also offers a “streaming mode”, which removes the time limit from any choices that need to be made, presumably so Twitch streamers can get their followers to vote on which direction the story needs to take.

Evidence you’ve gathered during a playthrough will carry over into future attempts, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll gather enough clues during your first time. This means that you’ll get to see your beloved uncle Marcus die several times as you return to the game over and over again, making different choices and eventually finding out every bit of dirt about your rotten family. There is a time limit in play as well, and eventually, Marcus will ask you which antidote to take regardless of whether you’ve figured things out or not, so there is always a 33% chance of him surviving his ordeal depending on if you guess correctly.

We were somewhat disappointed with the way the quiz element was implemented. The quiz is structured around teaming up with a different family member for each round, but apart from a handful of questions where it’s irrelevant to the plot, you don’t actually get to take part in the quiz -instead, either Abby or the family member you team up with will provide the answer automatically. We understand that the quiz itself isn’t relevant to the game’s main objective, but it seemed like a missed opportunity, especially since it could’ve been used to pad out the game a little bit. Of course, the quiz itself being terrible is used to highlight just how terrible the family is and how everyone except Felicity hates it, but as it stands, it feels a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, watching the rest of Who Pressed Mute On Uncle Marcus? play out is entertaining enough to make this a mystery worth your while.

Conclusion

Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? is an enjoyable little mystery adventure, with above-average performances from its cast. While it doesn’t bring anything new to the FMV genre, what’s present here is enough to keep you entertained for an evening or two. The game isn’t overly expensive either, so you could do worse than spend your time with a horrible family as you discover their secrets and deduce who slipped dear uncle Marcus some poison. It’s far from an essential title to add to your library, but it’s definitely enjoyable enough to consider picking up.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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