Ashford, Sep 2018
The final game in our schedule at Pressure Point was their 70s disco murder mystery, Murder on the Dancefloor. The winner of a dance competition has been murdered, and, as a group of disco stars yourselves, you decide to sneak into the dancehall and get to the bottom of what happened.
It’s actually a game of two halves, with your first task being to find a way into the disco hall for your investigation. I’d describe that as a warm-up section, but it’s more substantial than that. Whereas the later part of the game uses a traditional hint screen for messages from the gamemaster, for consistency with the setting the first half uses a much more custom approach, in a way that added a big dollop of character and humour to what was already a memorable room.
Part two is equally striking, in a completely different way – it shouldn’t be a spoiler to say that they unleash the disco bling. Having made it through to this half of the game, the puzzle solving begins to produce clues to help you work out the story of the murder. It is a proper murder mystery, and although the conclusion may come as a surprise, it gets there without any dubious leaps of logic. If you solve everything and pay attention, you should reliably reach the right answer – which, after a number of more arbitrary murder stories, I found a refreshing change.
Not only the main plot but also the stand-alone puzzles felt very robust and clear – not easy, but absolutely fair. In both the two contrasting halves of the game, the puzzles made inventive use of the setting, favouring interesting puzzle ideas over strict realism. Enthusiasts in particular will enjoy the use of some familiar images on one set of clues, but a sense of fun suffuses the game from start to finish. I was caught by surprise when the ending arrived, but it was a witty finish that neatly brought everything together to ensure the game ended on a high note.
Although my impression was that it was a relatively short game, that’s partly because the four of us rattled through it at speed. Still, it’s an excellent choice for a smaller group, such as for a pair of enthusiasts. Right from the game briefing Murder on the Dancefloor hits an amusing, light-hearted tone, with a gently camp edge, that it maintains throughout. Combined with the absence of sticking points in the puzzle design, it’s perhaps a little bit slight but irresistibly fun from start to finish.