Title: Tell Me Everything
Release Date: May 29, 2018
There’s nothing better than a good mystery game in my books. Sure, these days all the big game developers love action-packed, lush open worlds. But what of mysteries? A style that essentially lets players explore the story and uncover secrets. It’s amazing what a good gameplay hook and good writing can create. Case in point, Tell Me Everything.
Tell Me Everything is a very small game in many senses. The concept is strikingly simple. You are a detective. A crime has been committed and you must solve it. Pretty standard so far. But what is really interesting is the way Tell Me Everything lets you probe your witnesses. Most mysteries see you question suspects. Then each fire back something in the ballpark of god’s honest truth to complete fabrication. Then you go get fingerprints and whatever to prove whodunit. Tell Me Everything strips it all back. One detective, one constable, three suspects. It’s up to you to sift through information, get a grasp of the comings and goings of witnesses and such. It’s a wonderfully minimalist approach to the genre, so it’s the perfect foundation to build in interesting ways.
Questioning is where things really get turned upside down. Gone is the basic question and answer dialogue. Instead, with each question, you are presented with an ever-expanding lexicon to pull from. As more and more information comes out, more keywords are added to your list. Mr. Red tells you about all the times he saw Dr. Green looking at antiques, and now antiques are a topic of discussion when you question Dr. Green later on. It’s a very tiny adjustment, but I’m very interested to see how it bolsters the gameplay down the line. I’m reminded of experiences like Her Story and The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, both games that really draw on you following the story, and knowing the right questions that will lead to the truth.
Unfortunately, in a busy year like this one (not that gaming is going to get less busy), it’s fair to say lots of niche, interesting little games might slip by unnoticed. But hopefully this is one of those games that is out there, is weird, but might also be totally your jam. If that’s the case then you can pick up Tell Me Everything on Steam. It is a short game indeed, but with a price tag under a US buck, it’s worth a look.
In pursuit of another indie title? Maybe give the Indie Radar article on Immortal Unchained a shot. It’s a future fantasy style game that takes all the difficulty and tough gameplay of a Souls game and just says, “Hey, let’s get some guns up in here”.