Who Pressed Mute On Uncle Marcus? starts with Abby having a text conversation with her mum, when she gets a video call from her Uncle Marcus. He has some startling and upsetting news: he was poisoned by a family member and he wants Abby to investigate and find out whodunnit.
The game plays as an interactive movie, and it's a good few minutes before you actually interact with anything. Gameplay involves Abby (that's you) making a quick decision on how to advance a conversation. From each conversation you may be able to get information which will help deduce who's trying to kill Uncle Marcus–or not.
Gathered together in a Zoom-quiz setting for Abby's mother's birthday, there are 6 family members that are possible suspects. It looked to us that you may have to gather at least 3 pieces of evidence against one in order to accuse them of the murder. As you only gain evidence if you choose the correct question/answer/path, I reckon this means you may have to play the game through 20 times or so to gather all of the clues!
This would be okay if the game was funnier or the plot was more interactive and actually made you feel like you were being a detective, or the various character's dialogue was more varied, but you'll have to sit through several sequences that you've seen before–despite what the game tells you, you cannot skip all of the scenes that you've seen previously. Here's the problem: the game takes around 20–30 minutes to play through and it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to do that at least 10 times and spend that much time in the company of this awful family!
Of course, apart from sweet old Nan, the family come across as obnoxious because they're so well acted by a talented cast. The best thing about the game is the acid-tongued wino Auntie June, played by the wonderful Susannah Doyle.
Although the actors do fine work and the plot is genuinely interesting and amusing at times, the game isn't well structured and entire playthroughs can be a total waste of time. The problem is that it's not clear or even always logical what triggers a piece of evidence, or which path you take to unlock further evidence, this means progress is gained mainly by trial & error and making sure you take a different path to the previous playthrough, rather than any actual detective work or the ability to remember what people said, which is a pity.
We managed to play Who Pressed Mute On Uncle Marcus? all the way through several times and get all the achievements, but it became a chore. It's a nice idea but badly flawed, even at a price of only £9.99 saving Uncle Marcus might seem more like a burden than clever detective work or interactive entertainment–especially if you don't fancy seeing the same sequences over and over again and have a low tolerance for awful relatives.