17 Aug 2021 1:32 PM +00:00

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins Review - Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey

Nearly six decades since it first aired on British televisions, we’re still not lacking for Doctor Who recently. Though the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Season 13, next month brings us The Edge of Reality but last week, Maze Theory surprised us with news of The Lonely Assassins’ immediate launch on consoles, following a mobile release last March. Now arriving on PS4, Xbox One, Switch – new-gen consoles too via backwards compatibility – it’s a short but mostly sweet experience.

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Read More: Doctor Who: The Edge Of Reality Interview - Adventures In Space And Time

Don't Blink

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins screenshot - phone pattern unlock screen
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+ 3

The Lonely Assassins leans heavily on acclaimed Series 3 episode Blink, which introduced us to the Weeping Angels in 2007, a race that only moves when they're not being watched. Bringing back Finlay Robertson as Larry Nightingale, the game’s premise revolves around us finding his missing phone in an abandoned London house, investigating what happened to Larry.

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Joined by ex-UNIT scientist Petronella Osgood, we’re taking on a new threat from the Weeping Angels at Wester Drumlins. Though we don’t see much of our familiar Time Lord – archive recordings of the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) aside – this experience takes place during the 13th Doctor’s (Jodie Whittaker) era, who makes a brief cameo.

Offering a found-phone mystery, The Lonely Assassins’ mobile roots are immediately clear and to adapt it for consoles, players navigate a large smartphone-style interface from your TV. Using the joystick like a PC mouse, you’ll be searching through Larry’s messages, emails, videos, photographs and browser history, discovering the truth behind his mysterious disappearance.

Unified Intelligence Taskforce

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins screenshot - phone call from Petronella Osgood
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+ 3

Of course, it’d be too easy if Larry’s entire phone was fully accessible from the get-go. Instead, thanks to the Weeping Angels and a “reality virus”, most data isn’t immediately available. Once you've begin, you’ll be prompted to scan evidence and questionable items, presenting these to Osgood afterwards, That provides multiple-choice replies to Osgood, though those don’t have any real story impact, but you'll slowly retrieving more of the phone’s data.

Mostly, The Lonely Assassins is an enjoyable experience, one that can offer scares through the phone's corruption and though mobiles felt more intuitive, developers Kaigan Games has done well porting it to consoles. However, getting the true ending requires your most thorough investigation, finding four pictures of the Tardis across the ages. Without spoiling anything, there’s still a satisfying conclusion here if you don’t achieve that, and series fans will find much to love about this game, but presenting all four to Osgood grants closure on one particular mystery.

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Verdict

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins screenshot - phone text conversation with Petronella Osgood
click to enlarge
+ 3

I enjoyed my time with The Lonely Assassins, though it loses some immersion with this console port. There’s only a short adventure within - one you can beat within 2-3 hours - but I found myself drawn in until the very end, wanting to see this mystery through. It’s not a game designed for replayability, and you could finish it in one sitting, though that’s more forgivable considering the low price point. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, this one’s worth looking into.

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3.5/5

Review copy provided by publisher.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X through backwards compatibility.