After hearing that you’re no longer in line for your family’s estate, you’ve decided to take matters into your own hands. You’ll need to plot the perfect murder to get it, though, and that won’t be easy.
In The Deed you take the role of Arran Bruce. After a troubled childhood, he has a distant relationship with his family. For your father’s 50th birthday, you’re returning home, but not exactly for pleasant reasons. You have a goal to kill off your sister so that you might become the heir to the estate again.
The Deed plays out as a short, 30 minute, choose your own adventure style game. Everything you do matters – choosing how you respond to the people you talk with, should you even talk with them, and what actions you take during the evening. It all comes to a head at the end when the murder is being investigated. Should you have acted poorly, you’re on your way to jail.
For how long the game is, the story is actually exceptionally well written. There are places where you can find more backstory relating to your character, and the characters are all quickly given their roles. You can find your dear mother worrying about her daughter’s mental health, your father who is just a gigantic jerk, your sister who has an obsession with calling you a rat and mirrors, and the servants.
Considering the price of the game, I wasn’t expecting it to be very large. The house is exceptionally small. The character models actually look unique to the game – at least I haven’t seen them in other RPGMaker titles – but do feel a bit large compared to the size of the hallways. You can examine most everything, with quite a few of the spots containing items to take as either evidence or as a weapon.
When it comes to the murder and trying to not be suspicious, you really have to be careful. You can’t plant weapons as evidence, meaning if you take two weapons you’ll be caught with one during the investigation and will have to try and talk your way out of it. On the flipside, evidence can’t be used as a weapon, so you’ll also have to talk your way out of it if they find a piece of “evidence” on you. It can be a lot easier to get caught with evidence though, at least the first time you play, as it’s not very intuitive as to how you actually place it in a room. This is one of my gripes with the game. To place the evidence, you need to go into your inventory and select it from there while you’re in the room you want to put it in.
Once you actually commit the murder, you have a limited amount of time to run and hide in another room. The maid will question you if she sees you in the hallway. The amount of time depends on the weapon used, with your bare hands leaving you only 3 seconds to escape, and rat poison giving you 20 seconds. Even minor things like where you are when the maid finds the body are important, as you’ll be questioned on it, and the investigator will get curious if you answer incorrectly.
The music is extremely minimal in The Deed, but it does fit the scene. The sound effects for the menus, on the other hand, are straight out of default RPGMaker and don’t feel like they fit at all. A little effort having been put into the sounds would have been nice, but considering the game was only $1 ($0.74 when I purchased it), you’re getting what you paid for.
The Deed is an exceptionally short but very replayable game, a lot more than one would expect to get from something that costs $1. Trying to figure out what all of the combinations of items do can take a bit of figuring out. It does get a bit annoying constantly having to rewatch the introduction, but it does take less than a minute to get through should you just start spamming it. It took me 4 playthroughs before I was finally able to earn the rights to the estate, but even then it didn’t feel like a completely happy ending as the servants had quit working for the house. I am pretty impressed by how much they were able to convey in such a short game, and definitely feel that this is one game that is more than worth the asking price and I do highly recommend it to others.
The Deed Review Score
The Deed is available now on Steam.