(Mini) Game Review: Murderous Muses

Paintings and murder. An unusual combination from developer and publisher, D’Avekki Studios LtdMurderous Muses sees you playing as the night security for an art gallery. Said gallery is holding an exhibit for a murdered artist and as you explore the gallery at night, you get drawn into solving the artist’s murder.

“It’s been a year since the unsolved murder of Mordechai Grey. In tribute, Gallery Argenta is about to exhibit six of the artist’s most famous portraits and prime suspects – the ‘Murderous Muses’. Play as the gallery’s night watch and explore its secrets over three days, whilst paintings spring to life at night, fuelled by the mysterious and scarce ‘Eyes of Mordechai’. See through Mordechai’s eyes to question suspects, unlock police interviews, and finally deduce who’s the murderous muse…”


Murderous Muses is an FMV, puzzle-detective game that offers a rather interesting twist. Every time you start a game, the gallery and the killer are periodically generated. There are only ever six suspects and one murder, but the clues that will (hopefully) lead you to getting the right killer will change. The gallery itself will change and the puzzles that you solve will change. This means that there are hundreds, thousands, millions… an infinite number of variations and every time you play, it will always be different.

The core gameplay mechanics of Murderous Muses are simple enough fare. Some basic interactions, pick up and place paintings and solve several puzzles that will be very familiar to you. In terms of how this game works, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. But that is not meant to be a negative in any way. Its familiarity makes slipping into a game very easy.


As easy as the mechanics are, understanding how Murderous Muses works is a little more tricky. There is this brief tutorial involving a picture of a key that kind of teaches you how to use the paintings in the game, but that same tutorial is also very light on details. I had to do four different runs before exactly how things worked began to click. As a quick example, every one of the six suspects has an information board that will have certain keywords and a number. Let’s say one of those words is ‘Job 1’. You need to take the portrait of that suspect to a different location in the gallery that has that specific topic, place the portrait of the suspect and press the word ‘Job’. This will then play an FMV of a police interview that will contain a clue or several clues. Rinse and repeat for every word and every suspect and use your detective noodle to work out who the killer is.


Murderous Muses is a game where you really, really need to pay attention and missing a vital clue is easy. Even more so, you can only use each painting a set number of times before it runs out of ‘Eyes of Mordechai’. There are little orbs that will give you insight into what Mordechai Grey (the murdered victim) saw before he died. If a painting has run out of Eyes of Mordechai, then it can no longer be used to gather clues. So you really have to be aware of which painting you use when and where.


There is a workbench that does allow you to remove spare  Eyes of Mordechai from one painting, to be used in another. This is very handy if you have eliminated a suspect, as they can still be useful. There are only three in-game nights for you to solve the murder. Thankfully, those nights can last as long or as short as you need them to as you control when to end your shift. There are clues everywhere and keeping an eye out is mandatory.

As mentioned, every time you play Murderous Muses, it is randomised. The six suspects are the same every time, but everything else changes. The layout of the art gallery, the clues, the solutions and so on. So, you can’t get cute and gather clues from one playthrough to use in another.


Murderous Muses comes with a price tag of £12 and is available now on everything. Each run will only last you a handful of hours or so, but the periodically generated element means that you’ll get a lot more gameplay out of it, if you want to see and do everything that the game has to offer. The acting in the FMV bits is really good and helps to sell the characters. Making notes and playing detective was really great fun, very much like playing a more in-depth version of Cluedo. The repeatability here is high, if you fancy yourself a bit of a detective.


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