Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express is a surprisingly well engineered reimagining of a classic

When it comes to murder myseries, the Murder on the Orient Express might just be one of the most well known and beloved of them all.

It’s a pretty familiar tale – easily Hercule Poirot’s most recognisable case – and whether you’ve seen it or not, you may already feel like you’ve got a pretty good grasp of what it’s all about.

And after the first hour or so of Microid’s take on the story, you might feel pretty familiar with what’s happening as the key beats take hold. Or so you may think.

Eventually, the game takes some dramatic twists and turns with the tale by adding in a brand new protagonist, new characters, and some modern day apparatus. Yes, you can finally realise your dream of seeing Poirot use a smartphone to flick through his picture gallery to show off evidence.

But the good news is that it’s actually a pretty fun game to play, with the dabble into the modern day actually making sense, the mystery paced well, the new characters each offering something fresh – though, it definitely feels like an American takeover at times – and a good mix of puzzle solving and sleuthing to keep you on your toes.

The introduction of the other protagonist also means you aren’t confined to a train stuck in the snow throughout the game’s entire duration, either, as you relive some flashbacks into a connected case out in the world.

Basically, the Orient Express is celebrating its 140th year birthday, giving people the chance of a lifetime to hop aboard for fine dining and luxury cabin space. So I guess you can think of this as an anniversary murder mystery that pays homage to the original Agatha Christie tale. And with such an eclectic cast of people onboard, it’s up to you to figure out who the killer is.

You will use a Mind Mapping chart which basically breaks the case down, piece by piece. As you find evidence in the world and start to rule out possibilities, so you also make deductions on certain findings. This usually results in a mix of activities, like lining people up with each other to see who serves as an alibi, or recreating a timeline of events through pictures. Even answering some simple questions to rule out key facts, like whether a particular person is a smoker or left handed.

The Mind Mapper also serves you in analysing all potential suspects on the train by listening carefully to them, and deducing their country of origin, profession and age. Most of these are fairly straight forward guesses and help warm you up for the bigger puzzles to come. But it does mean you need to keep paying attention to the game so you know what’s happening at any one point.

You spend most of the time as Poirot, controlling him over the shoulder from the third person, moving between carriages, knocking doors, examining people’s rooms and asking lots of questions. But you’ll also occasionally get asked to help out as a handyman by fixing an orange juice machine or figuring out how and where to stack crates on the train so nothing is left behind.

Most puzzles are absolutely fine with few frustrations. And even if there are, there’s a hint system available throughout which you can use at your leisure, usually breaking things down in stages before revealing the entire solution to the player.

Some repetition does set in though about midway through when it feels like you’ve got a good grasp of everything the game has to offer and you’re still doing character portraits, still chasing the same lead and asking people the same questions over and over, and you’re retreading and backtracking over and over. It never quite becomes dull, but it can test your patience on occassion.

That’s also sometimes a failing of the game as, despite the supposedly modern interpretation, while on the train it feels like you’re stuck in the 1930s, with people using embroidered hankerchiefs, passing the time for entertainment by opening Russian dolls, and talking about seemingly dated tropes or having dated careers rather than really delving into modern affairs. At times, it almost seems pointless Microids set the game in 2023 and may as well have just kept the original setting.

You get to see a bit more of the modern when playing as Joanna, the other protagonist, as she recounts her journey to the Orient Express by defusing bombs, using forensics to solve murder mysteries and working from a laptop, but this sometimes ends up clashing with your time on the train making the games almost feel like two very different experiences that only end up gelling because of the mechanics.

But it does all come together well and it does make for some interesting storytelling, especially when the story progresses and you learn secrets about people who you never would have suspected as being involved from the beginning. Solving the whole mystery is actually great fun despite the hiccups, backtracking and repetition.

There’s also this odd effect the game does with sound. When talking to themselves, Joanna and Poirot sound like they’re sat in a tiled bathroom somewhere, recording lines on a phone voice recorder that’s held away from their mouths. It’s a bit distracting and annoying with the echo and muffled sounds and the random levels of noise it generates. Definitely made me grateful I had subtitles on half the time.

But all told, I really enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express. Certainly much more than the other Poirot mystery that released this year – The London Case – as it gave me vibes of one of my favourite point and click adventures, The Last Express, with its eye-catching art style and stunning realised textures and environments.

If you can get past some mechanical tedium, a weird mix of puzzle difficulty that goes from too easy one minute to too hard the next, and some irritating sound effects, I think you’re going to have a great time on the Orient Express. I sure did.


Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express retells the classic adventure in a surprisingly compelling way through two very different protagonists, an eclectic cast of suspects, and a wide range of puzzles that pay homage to the original while blending in modern concepts. Sound issues, regular backtracking, and random shifts in difficulty spikes might be a bit off-putting to some players but the decent writing, acting, and use of mind-mapping to sift through your adventure will keep you invested to the end.


+ Lovely visual style holds up throughout
+ An interesting mix of modern and classic ideas
+ Good cast of suspects and varied puzzles keep you guessing
+ Nice balance of mechanics


– Dialogue often sounds muffled and echo’y
– Lots of backtracking and retreading your steps gets a bit tedious
– Puzzle difficulty spikes are all over the place

Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express is out tomorrow on PC, PS, Xbox and Switch

Code Kindly Provided by Microids for review purposes

Played on PS5

About the author

Sally Willington

Sally is relatively new to gaming since a newfound addiction to Nintendo Switch. Now they just can't stop playing, anything and everything. Sally especially loves a good RPG and thinks that Yuna may just be one of her favourite characters ever.
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