The Fifth Sunday - Tom Broccoli

Quick note to those wanting to play: The “Play Online” link is broken for me. All I get is a page that looks like this.

Downloading the game and opening the html file, though, worked fine, and I was able to play the game.

And now my thoughts on the game itself:


Uh, well, not much of one. I thought maybe it might have something to do with the content of the game in a meta or ironic way, but it really doesn’t. It’s just a statement of copyright ownership over the cover image.

General Impressions:

I came away unimpressed and a little annoyed. The game was difficult to understand both visually and textually, and difficult to play given the mechanics of the thing.

The Good:

  • I quite enjoyed the sound effects. I especially enjoyed that their timing was so good, with respect to text appearing on-screen. The door-knocking genuinely jarred me.
  • This appears to be a game that is either in translation or was made by someone who’s first language is not English. That’s great! I’d love to see more international entries. The wider the pool of authors, the better!

The Bad:

  • The game text itself is physically hard to read. Grey text on a fuzzy, largely grey background is probably a poor choice, especially (I would imagine) for people who are visually-impaired.
  • There were numerous spelling and grammatical errors. I imagine that the game is either in translation, or the author’s first language is not English (I especially imagine this to be true given the appearance of Chinese text in a number of places). While I’m happy to see more international authors, the game suffered for its poor English. I had trouble following what was happening, on occasion.
  • Aside from language issues, there were other problems with the writing. The game telling us that we knew things that we didn’t. Leaps of logic that make no sense. Statements of “fact” that just don’t follow. Things happening that did not happen (I declined to call the police, but then the game acted as if I had).
  • There was a certain amount of sexism (it’s “hard for a woman to cut so deep”) and homophobia (“Why does this request sound so strange? Like a gay?”), which I found to be unfortunate.
  • There’s a lot of telling us what suspicions to have, rather than allowing us to put things together ourselves from a variety of clues. Which is rather the point of a mystery game. Not being able to do that very much negatively impacted my time with the game - especially since so many of the deductions we’re told we have made seem to make little sense given the facts that are revealed to us.
  • There simply isn’t a great deal of interactivity. The game is mostly narrative, presented in long, unskippable passages of text, punctuated infrequently by a binary choice. And in some cases, the choice is false - both options lead to the same outcome and text.
  • Having to go through the game a few times to learn the killer is interesting… but it’s annoying that you need to read so much unskippable text each time. It also violates the player’s bill of rights: “3. To be able to win without experience of past lives or future events.”
  • Also, needing to go through multiple plays of the game to win is one thing… but each of the “endings” makes no sense. Why does the game end there? Things just seem to stop without resolution each time. Moreover, to win, you need to accuse someone of murder immediately after beginning a new game. This doesn’t make narrative sense. Your character would not have any of the necessary information to make the accusation at this point.


This comes across as a very harsh review, and I feel a little bad about that. But there are a great number of problems with this game. That said, I am very pleased to see an international entry. And there is certainly potential, here. The concept is good, it’s just that the execution needs work. A round of beta play by native English-speakers would have benefited the game immeasurably, for instance. But there is potential there. I’d love to see the author come back next year with another, more polished, work.[/spoiler]

This game made assumptions that I don’t think I accept. My feeling on puzzles like these is that I should look on them in hindsight and say, “oh, of course, I should have guessed that” but I didn’t have that feeling at all.

[spoiler]My first guess was Yellow Hair. The game excluded him because in one of the endings, YH was stabbed in the back. That’s true, but that doesn’t prove that he couldn’t have murdered Sister Yang before he died.

If we assume that anybody who died in any ending is not the murderer, that excludes Anne, Rita, and YH. That leaves J, An, and Lin. I picked Lin, but the game said that he couldn’t have done it, just because he’s the protagonist. Why?

That leaves just J and An. I read in two endings that “Mr. J had the spare key and had time for committing the crime,” and J immediately discovered the murder weapon under the bed, so I picked J. Then the game said that YH and An could prove that J had an alibi. But I don’t believe that, because the three of them didn’t spend all of that time together. (If all three of them could confirm alibis for each other, then none of them could have committed the crime, exonerating all of the suspects.)

So, it turns out to be An, by process of elimination, with no in-game motive. Apparently I overlooked a path where Anne said that An had access to the room? Certainly that fact wasn’t summarized in any of the endings, so I guess it was easy to overlook. Overall, the puzzle just doesn’t make sense to me.[/spoiler]

Also, the Qiaobook format with slowly appearing text is maddening for this game structure, which requires you to replay the game nine times to access all of the clues. At least visual novels let you fast forward through text that you’ve already read. As I mentioned in another thread, if you edit the index.html file for these games, you can find a line that says “animate:true”. Change it to “animate:false” and you won’t have to wait through the text-delay animations. This makes the game much more enjoyable.

Lastly, this game was pretty clearly a translation, but the translation wasn’t very idiomatic English. I got through it, but if the author intends to publish more games in English, I would suggest asking a native English speaker to copy edit the text.

Okay, so now there are three threads about The Fifth Sunday by Mr. Broccoli. Moderator may want to step in and reorganize…

[As you wish…]

Based on a few playthroughs, I have written a review:

  • Jack

From my review on

It is all so bizarre that I came to think that it was all sarcastic, as if the author wanted to joke around the mystery genre and fool the players.

But in all this, which may seem like a disaster, something shines … I have a feeling: the author has great talent. Who is hiding behind the name of Tom Broccoli?

“No crime si perfect, but the best crime can be nearly perfect.”