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Bohemian Killing

Score: 78%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: IQ Publishing
Developer: The Moonwalls
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Bohemian Killing is a rather unique take on the classic murder-mystery adventure setup. Instead of playing as the detective trying to track down the killer based on what clues have been left behind, you play as the accused. You are on trial and you are giving your testimony as to what happened on the night of the murder, and to make things a little more interesting, you are the killer - can you give a believable testimony that lines up with the evidence, but still gets you off the hook?

Bohemian Killing is set in 19th century Paris, but in a very small section of the city. While not giving testimony, you are either locked in a cage in the courtroom or confined to your small cell. When retelling your version of the night of the murder, you are restricted to a small part of the street your apartment is on. This includes the hotel next door where the murder happened and a pub filled with people that apparently really don't like the fact that you are a rich gypsy.

Given the small confines of the game's setting, it should come as no surprise that these locations are filled with a ton of detail that really gives the game a unique look and feel. Decor and technology all have a certain flair that feels right for the game's self-proclaimed "19th century steampunk" setting, though the steampunk aspect seems to be toned down quite a bit.

While the world isn't populated by a lot of characters, those who do appear look to have been as carefully crafted as the environments. Bohemian Killing really does hit the mark in casting a particular visual feel.

While the audio isn't quite on the same level as the graphics, it's not bad. Given the setting, it should be no surprise that all of the dialogue has a thick French accent, and while it only took a runthrough of the game for me to get used to it, there was enough trouble understanding what was being said at the beginning to make me wish the game had subtitles. Instead, a toning down of the Parisian background music and sound effects went a long way to helping out with that particular problem.


Like I said above, Bohemian Killing puts you on trial. Your goal is to ... well, do whatever you want really. Sure, your primary focus should be on getting acquitted from the charges, but there are nine different endings, all depending on how well you build your side of the case. By far, the easiest course of action is to find yourself guilty and sentenced to beheading. This is as simple as saying you went to your apartment and just went to sleep. All of the other testimonies and evidences gathered against you will so overwhelm that story that you have no chance of getting off.

If you want to unlock any of the other endings though, you will have to get to know what evidence has been gathered and who claims to have seen what and when. The more you can explain away the fairly damning evidence, the more likely you are to convince the judge of your version of events. For instance, a neighbor saw you coming into your apartment building covered in blood. While the truth is that you had just killed the victim, maybe your testimony explains it away by having been in a bar fight in the pub filled with racists. If your fingerprints are found in a location they shouldn't have been, visit that setting and, when asked, come up with some excuse for going there. After all, just because you did it, it doesn't mean that the actual course of events is the only possible, or plausible, sequence that went down.

As you walk around, observe items and take actions; your character will describe what you are doing to the judge in order to weave a convincing story, and if you do anything too odd, the judge will ask you about it. Don't worry though, it seems like your character has some good answers up his sleeves.

One interesting aspect of Bohemian Killing is that everything happens in real-time. A minute spent wandering the halls is a minute of the night-in-question taken up, but since the events take place over the course of a couple of hours, you don't want to actually spend several hours on a particular runthrough. That's why the game has some rather handy ways to essentially waste time. For instance, if you know that you still have 5 minutes before you are supposed to appear near your neighbor covered in blood, maybe you should read a newspaper. Is it a half hour before you need to be seen letting the victim into your apartment? Work on your invention a couple of times.


Depending on your goal, Bohemian Killing can be either easy or challenging. Like I said above, if you just want to get to the easiest ending, then don't pay too much attention to the evidence and do what you will - you're going to the guillotine. If, on the other hand, you are trying to unlock one of the other options, like framing someone else or even trying for the insanity plea, then you are going to have to do some serious thinking about what the evidence says and how you can get around it. Not to mention the fact that you can occasionally say something that will force the judge to take a recess while someone else is found to give testimony concerning how you say the events took place.

Game Mechanics:

Bohemian Killing is designed to be replayed over and over again. While it is encouraged that you listen to everything during your first playthrough, or the first time you take a particular course of action, the game doesn't want you to have to sit through the same dialogue. It knows you want to get to your next task, especially if it is one of the events that happens each time you play. A simple key press can let you skip dialogue to get you back to explaining your particular course of actions so that you can try something a little different than your previous attempts. While this is a feature found in most dialogue or story-heavy games, it doesn't usually come into play in those games as much as in Bohemian Killing.

Bohemian Killing is unusual in the adventure genre in that it doesn't really give you a lot of tools to play with. You aren't running around collecting inventory in order to use in other places. You are, for the most part, walking around and talking to people and checking your watch ... a lot. Sure there are a few things that you can pick up, like the murder weapon, for instance, but inventory and logic puzzles just don't come into play with this particular game.

Bohemian Killing is a pretty unique adventure game in many respects, and as such, it is worth checking out by fans of the genre. Given the game's nature, there isn't really a "right way" to play or win the game, it's just a matter of how you want a particular playthrough to end and how well you get to that goal. If you are looking for a little something different than your average point-and-click title, then Bohemian Killing could be up your Parisian alley.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Microsoft Windows 7 32bit, Intel Core 2 Duo 1,66 GHz Processor, 4 GB RAM, Radeon HD 7500G/Intel HD Graphics 3000 Graphics Card, 7 GB available hard drive space

Test System:

Intel Core i7-3820 CPU @ 3.60GHz, 16 GB dual-channel DDR3,Windows 10 Home 64 bit, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (4GB)

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