Detective 1: Blacksea Island

a Mystery / Puzzle by Will11

Commended by mizal on 10/5/2018 11:18:48 AM

Player Rating6.78/8

"#59 overall, #6 for 2018"
based on 113 ratings since 10/04/2018
played 3,888 times (finished 126)

Story Difficulty7/8

"wade in shark infested water"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.
The first in a new series of stories featuring the teenage amateur detective Susan Knox as the reader's character. Set in open world locations where the reader is free to choose where to look for clues, who to interview, what to ask and where the correct suspect, motive and murder method must be identified within a set time limit, this first story is set on the mysterious and notorious Blacksea Island whose history of insanity and death holds the secret to the unusual death of Knox's best friend...

I hope the reader enjoys my latest story.

Note: This story includes a few cases of naughty words (for example one of these words rhymes with "bunt", "punt" and "hunt" and isn't "runt") so those with delicate sensibilities, easily offended eyes or a nervous disposition should avoid this story to avoid mental distress, disorders or damaging derangements of dangerous and diabolical dimensions.

Finally I estimate this story would take roughly one hour to complete, give or take, and the reader might benefit from making notes or a map of the island, depending how good their memory is :)

Player Comments

I missed reading classic mystery so this felt really nice. I've tried the hard mode first because I'm stuck-up and also believe in the power of the "GO BACK" button; luckily in the end it wasn't hard at all.

I understood the main gist of the story more or less halfway through, then checked some details and after talking to the right people I was sure of what had happened with a few time points to go. The story never bored me though, and I think the level of difficulty might be just right for a younger audience, or one with little experience in mystery plots.

The style is direct and to the point and I think that works best when reading mystery fiction. There are very few grammar errors and the pace is well balanced (even in the relevant/non relevant ratio of the interactions).

The geography of the island was also built really well; I managed to picture it in my mind easily enough and I'm not exactly known for my sense of direction.

Going more into details (still no spoilers though) I really liked all the parts that described the history of the island, including the little appendix on real-life references at the end. I was positively surprised to see that the story continued after the reveal of the culprit, but I have to side with Mizal on the chest wound matter.

In the end this was a fun and tightly packed mystery game and I can't wait to read the future additions to the series. A 7/8 for this genre.
-- undr on 10/5/2018 3:03:12 PM with a score of 0
This was fun. :)

I'd known you were working on a murder mystery but this wasn't what I expected at all. It's nice seeing more kid friendly stuff on the site and I'll be looking forward to the next installments in the series.

The timer countdown is such a simple thing but it's so effective for adding an extra level to it all, instead of just clicking every little thing it got me thinking about how to use each click the most effectively and what I should really be focusing on for clues. It got me thinking of all kids of ways that could be used in a puzzle too.

The writing is pretty solid as usual, although I think it would pay to remind yourself to break up sentences as you write. Some of it is just a style thing I know across all your stories but some lines really do threaten to become run ons, or just go on too long and become a slog. (I think the worst offender in this case is 'You lay down the Dorsetshire Gazette for 1 July 2000 (by now, nearly a month old) and stare moodily over the Blacksea Ferry’s railing towards Blacksea Island, squatting like a bug on the gentle sea, its thickly-growing dark green trees clustering together like a wall which, together with the almost total lack of beach beneath the steep cliffs, makes the island and its secrets appear ominously impenetrable.') which could easily have been split into two or three sentences that would've had more impact.

Just a note, I beat the game on the hardest difficulty the first time through. Since that apparently wasn't supposed to happen just letting you know in case you want to up the challenge level a little on the next one. Although honestly I feel like I shouldn't have beat it, I missed some details and time ran out just as I started talking to the person who would've told me about a gun. But I had to accuse somebody and once I looked over the suspect list there was only one person it could be based on another bit of info I'd been told. (Avoiding spoilers since new story and all and I will be featuring this comment.) Maybe some kind of 'wow I guess I really have no idea?' failure option at the end would be reasonable...or a more detailed tracker on that variable if one already exists, idk I didn't go back and do a deliberate time wasting run yet.

The mystery itself was fun to piece together and I enjoyed poking around for clues, and they all came together in a logical way. I felt like you hit a nice balance there of relevant vs non relevant stuff to look into. In the end however I felt like I had a good idea of what happened but no evidence whatsoever...if there hadn't been that handy public confession the character would've not remotely been believed. (Put me in mind of a Mitchell and Webb skit called The Evil Voice, you might get a chuckle out of looking it up.) But to be fair, I suspect this is just me massively overthinking a YA detective story.

Although, still in that vein...just sayin, a shotgun point blank to the chest would definitely, unquestioningly kill someone. Like, immediately.

-- mizal on 10/5/2018 1:06:40 PM with a score of 0
Enjoyable whodunit, though I wanted to make a few suggestions. I encountered a page where the directions were wrong, like East should have been West, etc., on Normal difficulty Iris's last name was given as Green and not Grey when I first met her, some words were misspelled (Iris last name spelled Gray in one place and Grey in another was one that I remember). I started with Medium difficulty, but I pretty much figured out the whole thing after about 80 TIME, so maybe just 2 difficulty levels, like 80 TIME and 100 TIME? More red herrings, especially ones that lead you on longer, would have made it better. There could also have been more questions that can be asked to each suspect, and dead ends should be less obvious, like giving island lore or personal backstories (even of the innocent people) instead of just saying there is nothing interesting here. I especially liked the ending surprise chase sequence and its mechanics.
-- urnam0 on 2/8/2021 3:59:58 AM with a score of 0
Usually I don't respond to feedback, being glad to get any at all, but No Thank's is so oddly intense I thought I'd make one small correction: in your review you wrote "i know you are reading this and feeling hurt or insulted or defensive". I want to correct you and let you know my reaction is bemusement :) Thankyou for sharing though and for the amount of effort you put into your review :D
-- Will11 on 1/16/2021 8:48:06 PM with a score of 0
There was no purpose in many of the questions other than to waste time. Why ask about the other volunteers? That question never mattered. Finding the gun didn't matter. There was no way to confront Iris or ask more questions when we found more evidence. The mystery was obvious because you relied on some of the most common tropes of women with changed last names as a primary tool of literary obfuscation and also women being the victim and the murderer. Also. Why only 2 women and both were in the plot? Not only would another 50 yeae old or 45 year old woman have given you a reasonable second suspect but it also would be good to have other female charactees who aren't part of the main plot. Women can be normal background support characters too, and in fact it is weird if your only female characters are the only characters that matter. Volunteers are normally mostly women and you decided to somehow avoid that unless they fit your plot specifically even when men were used generically. It is ok to have a woman who isn't there for any big reason, just like men, just like in real life. And also you literally wrote a gross weird flirty scene with a 15 year old girl - a CHILD - and a 20 year old adult man? Ok. No. Please. Just make him younger. Why would you make it weird? Her friend just died and now she is all hot and bothered by some older guy? Nah. Sorry. That might be how a 15 year old boy would act, but come on. Other than that why did you also have to again comment about the female protagonist's future romantic life in the end anyway anyway? You would not have done that with a boy character. Also please next time have literally any other branches of the narrative, have any of the red herrings seem actually like they lead anywhere, and also allow me to finish without running down the clock. Also why could i only pick up 1 item and it was useless? Lots of text sure, but no substantive dialogue. All of the red herrings were obviously pointless, ages made it all immediately obvious. It was quite linear. Some of this was fine overall but it could have been so much more. And i know you are reading this and feeling hurt or insulted or defensive but as an interactive author to another author, take the criticism as genuine feedback because i definitely am not alone here. It makes you better as an author to reflect from other perspectives and improve.
-- No Thanks on 1/14/2021 10:41:48 PM with a score of 0
Clever and lots of fun!
-- nfsulli on 12/10/2020 6:49:08 PM with a score of 0
Time limit is a great element. There's far too much details to get into the story quickly.
-- UnholyYoshi on 7/14/2020 2:32:32 PM with a score of 0
A great read!
-- Helox on 5/10/2020 1:23:32 AM with a score of 0
+ Very well written, excellently researched (I was fascinated by the background) and really enjoyed the fact it was based on real events (perhaps more so as I'm a Brit). Very well adapted from real-life events too.
+ Each page had a very well-measured amount of detail to it.
+ Excellent twist at the end when things turn ugly, requiring your memory of certain details...

- I would've enjoyed more variation in the questions you asked the volunteers, these felt a little formulaic and repetitive.
- I live in the UK and 'National Group' sounds just a bit like a fascist organisation to me. Perhaps this was based on the National Trust and you wanted to use a different name, but the National Trust would make perfect sense to Brits.
- Especially for Easier Time Limit, an option to 'go to the 5pm end' could've been good. (I chose this to 'see' what a story looks like in all its possible detail to help writing my own.)
- SPOILER ALERT I would've loved a plausible false trail to suggest another suspect, even if it soon becomes evident that this is false.
- SPOILER ALERT - being able to make more than 1 accusation at the end seems a little unrealistic.
+ This being said this kind of story is difficult to plan in terms of the getting the reader to name their reasons the suspect is guilty, without making it obvious to them. You did do this fairly well. SPOILER AL-(you get the picture) As I said a false trail could've spiced things up a little further.

Thanks very much, really enjoyed it, am feeling inspired. I will look out for more with Susan Knox...
-- MistyTrail on 5/2/2020 8:28:25 PM with a score of 0
Very well written. Almost got lost through the Wetlands, but made my way through and solved the mystery on my very first try (on time level NORMAL or 100 though...)
-- S on 9/30/2019 6:58:40 AM with a score of 0
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