Some of you may remember some time last year there was a clone of this game making the rounds; eventually Ravensburger cottoned on and shut that catastrophe down. This however, is completely official.
If you’re new to the game, Scotland Yard was originally released in 1983, and nearly 30 years later you get to see the digital version of it.
The game revolves around modern-day London, where a mysterious Mister X has committed some unspecified crime. He is opposed by up to six bobbies (cops for you yanks), who attempt to trail and discover his whereabouts through a trail of discarded public transport tickets. Naturally, this begs the question of why a notorious criminal and the Metropolitan Police Force are using public transport to evade and pursue, but, and if I may misappropriate a quote from Tennyson, “ours is not to reason why”.
The trick to the game is that Mister X doesn’t have a piece on the board, at least not one visible by the police. Instead you must deduce his likely location by said trail of tickets; that is the police know (unless disguised as per below) what type of transport Mister X used for each turn. Additionally, at certain pre-set times, the current location of Mister X is revealed.
Fundamentally, each turn, whether you’re Mister X or a police officer, you must spend a ticket to travel. Both police and X have the options to use taxis, buses, or the metro train. Each have an inverse relationship to the amount of distance travelled to the number of tickets available to them. Mister X has additional types of tickets that allow him to travel without a trace, or by one of three boat trips.
Game wins for Mister X if he evades capture, and for the police if they either trap him or land on his spot.
In reviewing this game, it’s very easy to notice the amount of polish that has gone into its presentation, its user interface, and a really thorough tutorial. It has multiplayer optionality, with voice chat and text communications (Mutiplayer can be utilised through local, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and online/Game Center). So there is clearly a lot of love has gone into it.
I have to give a mixed opinion about this game. One the one hand, its presentation is very polished and for people who like the game it will undoubtedly be a boon. However, for people who aren’t exposed to the game previously it might be a bit of a miss. I find it hard not to compare it to Letters from Whitechapel, which is built around the same mechanic. However the latter game uses the same core game mechanic in a much more elegant and intelligent way. Of course such a comparison is disingenuous because Scotland Yard predates by three decades, and it’s like trying to compare early models of any technology with its decedents; that is, it’s easier to build a better mousetrap when you have thirty years of modelling to work off.
7/10: So what does this mean? If you’re new to games, or you’re looking for something that errs on the side of light, you will probably enjoy this game. However, if you want something that has a deeper strategy you may be found wanting.Scotland Yard,