Picture the scene, you’ve just set foot on a fancy airship which is decorated to the nines with the most decadent and luxurious items money can buy. You’ve decided to wear your fanciest gown for the occasion because you are a lady of class and you have arrived promptly because fashionably late just isn’t your style.
However, you just so happen to be on a mission to hunt down and assassinate a target aboard, so you’ll have to evade guards, scout the area, hide in plain sight and get your target fast. Though, while you do this you’ll have to be looking over your shoulder at all times because a hunter is closing in on you and they have a knife primed and ready for your back. Have we got your attention? Well, then you just might like Murderous Pursuits.
This game mechanically plays rather like it’s predecessor The Ship: Murder Party but has a lot more going on this time around. The aesthetic is very much 1920’s upper-class society attending some sort of crazy masquerade ball in the sky. While the gameplay borrows assets from Dishonored and it’s iconic party mission, The Elder Scrolls Oblivion’s Dark Brotherhood party quest and arguably most notably, the Assassin’s Creed series with its hiding mechanics and multiplayer hunter mode.
It’s a concept that perhaps doesn’t set the world alight in terms of innovation. However, with decent implementation, this game has the legs to be a competent mobile game.
Murderous Pursuits Pros and Cons
- Excellent visuals and environments
- A wide set of cosmetics to strive to unlock
- A variety of fun game modes.
- A deep and nuanced ability system.
- AI does nothing to prepare you for human opponents.
- Sound quality is nothing to write home about.
- Paying players will get access to unique abilities before you.
A Killer At Large – Initial Stages
Let’s begin with the overall gameplay for this title, firstly I must commend the game for its onboarding. Throughout the initial stages where I was coming to grips with controls and core mechanics, the game explained each asset with a decent level of detail, meaning that even though this game had more than enough potential to be alienating and confusing to the player, I felt it did more than enough to avert those concerns. The game teaches you how to hide, find your target, evade other hunters and explains guards and their role in the game. Then after that, it sends you on your merry way.
Game Mode Variety
From there, the player has a variety of game modes that they can take part in, each with their own unique spin on the core gameplay. First is the standard classic mode which asks you to get your target and stun the rest of the killers for maximum points. Next is Stronghold which acts as a more stealth heavy version of Call Of Duty’s Domination mode. Then you have the crown game and VIP escort modes which are effectively king of the hill. Next team hunt which is exactly what it sounds like. Lastly you have free play which is essentially a free for all killing frenzy. It’s a rather loaded catalogue for a mobile title and does a lot to keep the player invested and the gameplay from going stale.
Murderous Pursuits Controls
Then as aforementioned, the controls are rather intuitive as well into the bargain. The set up is rather similar to the likes of PUBG or COD Mobile where you will control of third-person character through a joystick on one side of the screen and then action buttons on the right. The actions are quick and responsive as is the movement. This is perhaps aided by the slow and methodical approach the player will naturally adopt playing this game but regardless, it fits this title perfectly.
The AI Trouble
As you jump into matches with the AI, you begin to understand just why this game is meant to be played with friends online. The AI is competent enough to offer a somewhat serviceable simulation of what a game might be like with real players. However, they never quite fully prepare you for the challenge of outwitting someone with an actual functioning brain.
As many titles do, this one gives the player a false sense of confidence and positively reinforces every action. Play a game, have XP. Did you kill a target too braindead to evade you? Oh, you need a new item and to advance in level immediately. This is a great way to keep players invested most of the time but sadly when you drop into a real game without AI, you’ll find yourself unprepared for the challenge and this can be frustrating.
Murderous Pursuits Matchmaking
There also seems to be no real form of matchmaking that I could make out. You seem to get lumped in with players much more adept at the gameplay than yourself and this leads to you bumbling around the other players pick you off for sport. In short, it’s a steep learning curve and one we wouldn’t blame you for not having the patience to tolerate.
Power Up System
What has to be appreciated however, is the rather nuanced and deep power up system. With new levels comes the ability to not only improve and upgrade the effectiveness of your power ups, but also to unlock new useful ones too. You’ll be able to reveal hunters and quarries from a short distance away, equip yourself with a disguise for a short time, or alternatively, equip yourself with a brief cloak of invisibility after a kill for a stealthy getaway. These are only a few of the tactical assortment of powerups on offer and they all culminate to make the gameplay much more rich and competitive.
Murderous Pursuits Visuals
The visuals for this title as a whole are a real highlight with an environment that has been designed to replicate the PC version’s HMS Britannic beautifully. Obviously, there have been small sacrifices to condense this game to the smaller screen but overall, it’s a visually striking title.
The character models are all very well designed and in keeping with the upper-class theme. The artwork, decorations and animations are also brilliant for the most part too. However, there were some small issues that did break the immersion ever so slightly.
The most notable of these was the fact that even if you are standing in a vignette with no other NPC, your character will ramble on to themselves like a lunatic. Now, I don’t know about you but that isn’t how I would go about keeping a low-profile. What would have perhaps been better would have been if there wasn’t another NPC present, then that was no longer a viable vignette. It would have made the game more intense, dynamic and most importantly, added more realism to this cat and mouse game.
As for sound quality for this game, its musical score, if you can call it that, was fine. It’s a looping track that is fitting for the game but otherwise it’s rather forgettable. The real star of the show is the narrator of these games. Or should we say, the star until you’ve heard each line countless times. After a few games you’ll soon become tired of the smug British quips being repeated over and over. Perhaps this is a matter of preference but in our opinion, this feature could have been used much more sparingly.
Paid Content – Microtransactions
Then lastly, let us touch on the paid content for this game. The PC iteration of this game would have microtransactions included. However, they would be critically panned due to these purchasable items being cosmetic skins that boiled down to nothing more than a change in the colour palette to the default skins. However, with the mobile version, there is actually quite a lot of interesting items to peruse in the in-game store.
You’ll have access to a cavalcade of much more desirable skins which will have you stand out during matches to the envy of your fellow party-goers. Then you’ll also be able to buy items that will help you gain and upgrade unique abilities at a faster rate.
It’s not exactly pay to win but it certainly will give those that add a little cash injection the edge over their competitors. Items can technically be earned by simply playing the game but be prepared for a long grind to get anything worthwhile.
Overall, this game takes a concept that is by no means revolutionary but offers a fun set of game modes, a classy set of visuals, a comprehensive ability system and tight controls to offer an experience that is rather addictive when you get on a par with your fellow players.
This might take a while as the game doesn’t prepare you well with a rather braindead AI. Plus, you will have to deal with such small issues as immersion-breaking animations and an annoyingly smug narrator. Aside from this though, Murderous Pursuits is a great mobile title which is perfect for those that want a more slow based and methodical deathmatch type game with trigger happy twitch reactions often being punished. It’s not for everyone but we recommend you give it a try.