Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus? Review
Come on girl, give me the hot goss from last week’s meeting.
Available on: Steam/Consoles
Genre: Mystery FMV
Publisher: Wales Interactive
The majority of us have family members where we cannot stand them at all. And sometimes it’s most of your family apart from one or two of them. While most of the time this means avoiding them, trying to not get too annoyed during gatherings, and avoid arguments, some take it to the extreme. I don’t mean putting hot sauce in their drink or deleting their Pokemon save file. Cold. Blooded. Murder.
You play as Abigail, or Abby as she’s nicknamed, and most of her family are just terrible. Everyone basically hates everyone else and it seems each gathering turns into a nest of arguments. At least for Abby, the only one in her family she likes is her Uncle Marcus and her Nan (which her Nan is the only one out of the bunch who is sweet to everyone despite her causing some annoyance when she doesn’t understand tech or the recent teen slang). You jump into the situation on Abby’s Mom’s birthday. Every year on her mom’s birthday they have a tradition of getting together and doing a family quiz. Of course, it doesn’t always end well, but they still do it every year even if they have to do it through video calls so everyone can be there.
However, right before Abby joins in on the call, Uncle Marcus rings her up. Marcus has been poisoned. Yous see, there was a family business meeting last week and there were arguments. Uncle Marcus was given the family business and the family wanted Marcus to do what they wanted and Marcus wouldn’t budge. It turns out that Marcus was poisoned, which he seems to narrow it down to someone in the family, and he will die that day unless he gets the right antidote. Which is a problem as he has no idea what he was poisoned with and he wasn’t able to catch it in time for the doctors to have time to figure it out either. Why is Uncle Marcus trusting Abby though? Abby was the only one in the family to not make it to the meeting, due to her job, so that automatically rules her out. It also helps that she likes her Uncle too and she wants to find out who poisoned him as well. It’s all up to you to figure out what he was poisoned with, find the proof, and find who did it.
Throughout your playthroughs (and yes I mean multiple), you’ll need to figure out what happened and what they were all doing without bring up any suspicions. There are six possible suspects: your terrible Mom, your sweet Nan, your sister Lottie, and your two cousins Bradley and Toby. While us the players don’t really know these characters starting out and had to do catch up to be on the same page as Abby and the others, I did enjoy the characters here. Yah the majority are the usual annoying family members, but I did enjoy the dynamic they have with each other and how they acted with Abby. There were also some reveals about them that I liked as well, and some of the jokes do land.
Anyway, you’ll be participating in the family quiz for a couple rounds. Each round has someone asking a couple questions and the rest of the family gets into teams of two, which is convenient for what you need to do. This is mainly where the choices you’ll be able to choose from comes in. You get to choose who you want to team up with, or more truthfully who you want to question about the last family meeting. You’ll discuss what the asker wants you to answer and the possible answer, which us the player won’t really know so you get to pick which one sounds like it would be right (or is right for the questions involving math). You will also have a chance to pry at your teammate about the meeting or to get them to talk more, either when there’s some downtime between questions or during the questions as you can either pry for some gossip or answer (and generally there is a piece of evidence down both paths). Though, some pieces of evidence can require doing a specific sequence of choices to get It or require you to get a certain piece of evidence in a previous playthrough (or in the same playthrough) to get it.
At the end of your playthrough is when Uncle Marcus is knocking on Death’s door. You actually do get to see how close Marcus is from dying as the game goes along, and he does pop up to talk to Abby every so often (and cause some suspicion as the other family members wonder what Abby was doing). While you can guess what poison Marcus was poisoned with, you still need to figure out who gave it to him and you have a chance at accusing someone at the end whether Marcus survives or not. However, you will have to replay the game multiple times to be able to have enough evidence to accuse someone. This is due to you not being able to get a lot in one playthrough and you’ll be missing out on some if you pick the wrong choice. This also means you’ll be watching the same scenes over and over again, and even more if you don’t take notes on which person you teamed up with each round and how much evidence you still need from them (as you do get a helpful screen showing how many pieces of evidence that part has and roughly where it will be in the conversation in relation to the other pieces of evidence). Thankfully, you can skip scenes that you already saw, but I found that it really only counts if you went down the exact same path you previously did as it won’t skip scenes that is the same no matter what. Also the skip button can also be used to pick the choice you want, which can be very annoying if you accidentally press it one too many times and have to wait until your next playthrough to get to that part again (though this isn’t as annoying if you still need evidence found in the next round).
Also on deducing who did it, I do like how you’ll find out why your different family members would want to kill Marcus, how they would know about the poison, and possibly when they could have done it. Though, the real culprit only has two conversation bits/evidence that will blatantly point to them. I do feel it would have helped a bit if they had more evidence pieces to them which can be dismissed early on as just a coincidence, but come around in full circle once you find the damning evidence that puts it all together.
Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus is a toss up on whether it’s worth getting or not. I actually did like the characters here, I liked a lot of the jokes that were here, and the acting for the most part was pretty good (I’d say Marcus was the only one that had some bad moments). The story was also enjoyable and I liked getting to know the family more as I played, not to mention that this is not a mystery game where the culprit is someone you would have had no idea about. Though, honestly, I would have preferred if we got a normal, 5-6 hour, FMV whodunnit where you didn’t have to replay it over and over to gather all the evidence; but for having to film during lockdowns the game is still enjoyable most of the time.
If you don’t really mind how this is structured or still planning on picking this up, I do recommend keeping track of which paths you go down and what evidence you got or didn’t get. This way, you know which path you still need evidence from and don’t get as annoyed not knowing what you still need. I had a little bit under 6 hours myself after finding all the evidence bits and accusing everyone at least once.