In an industry dominated by first-person shooters and grim not-too-distant futures, a point-and-click adventure like The Raven: Legacy of A Master Thief is a refreshing change of pace. Especially when it provides the player with a break from overly macho gun-toting protagonists: the slightly overweight, balding, and thoroughly likeable Swiss Constable Anton Jakob Zellner.

 photo the-raven-01_zps903c6398.jpgThe game is to be released in three chapters, the first being The Eye of the Sphinx. It sees Constable Zellner aboard the Orient Express in 1964, assisting in the transportation of the priceless emerald to a museum in Cairo. Zellner hopes to protect the gem from a famous and mysterious thief known as the Raven. If this sounds reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel, that's because this game is a lot like an Agatha Christie novel. A murder-mystery which is too pleasant to be noir, but not without intrigue, suspense, and twists, Christie's books are clearly a big inspiration, right down to Zellner's Poirotesque moustache.

 photo the-raven-03_zpsa0c1ba8e.jpgThe style and setting might seem old-fashioned but developer KING Art have done a great job of updating and refining the point-and-click format. While the changes aren't drastic, the experience is greatly enhanced by the way in which you interact with your environment. They've made the pointing better, basically. The pointing and of course, the clicking. The game doesn't require you to try endless combinations of objects in your inventory, as the player will only be presented with the interaction symbol when two objects can be used with each other. Similarly, when an object in your environment can be clicked, Zellner will automatically perform the most appropriate action.

 photo the-raven-02_zps85100c46.jpgThis works well with another modification to the usual point-and-click format: puzzles that actually make sense. Gone are the frustratingly convoluted point-and-click puzzles of yore. Instead the solutions often seem like the sort of thing you would think of doing yourself. Need to get someone out of their chair? No need to mix gin with crushed peanuts and motor oil in order to make rudimentary stink bombs and convince your target that they've soiled themselves until they're forced to run to the toilet. Just open a nearby window. The mark will get too cold and move away. In fact you rarely have an "oh for [expletive deleted]'s sake" moment as you try to solve a puzzle. That's not to say you might not get stuck at points however. Early in the game I was forced to ask another reviewer on Twitter how to find an object in order to solve a puzzle. In the end it came down to something as simple as not being able to see something because it was too similar in colour to the background. There is a hint system which highlights important areas on the screen for you to check out, but in a way which is so subtle the highlighted areas can easily be missed.

An area where The Raven excels is in the quality of its voice acting, with strong performances by the voice actors across the board. While some characters may seem like caricatures, this suits both the animation style and the genre the game is paying homage to. Zellner in particular is charming, his amiable nature again reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Belgian hero, only here in the form of a Swiss constable far less renowned, though no less capable.

 photo the-raven-04_zpsdcee1745.jpgThe game isn't without its flaws but these are mostly cosmetic. A misspelled subtitle here, a rendering glitch there: nothing a patch won't fix and nothing too game-breaking. Occasionally a badly-placed series of clicks might cause Zellner to endlessly walk in circles forcing you to reload an earlier save, but this is rare. And you shouldn't be clicking all over the place anyway, behave yourself.

Occasional glitches (and that one bit where I got stuck) aside, The Raven is a relaxing, enjoyable ride. It's a Sunday matinee in game form that will suck you in and before you know it you'll want nothing more than to see it through to end. It's the mark of a good game that I can't wait for the next instalment, and I'm sure you'll feel the same.