כ״א בכסלו ה׳תשע״ד (November 24, 2013)
A Murder Mystery In A New Version Of A Jewish Themed Game – Shivah A “Kosher” Edition [Available For PC, iPhone And iPad]
Russell Stone is a rabbi at a struggling synagogue in New York City. He is a devout man with a problem – membership is down and he lacks the funds to keep his synagogue open. Things are looking very bleak, and he has grown progressively more cynical and bitter with the passage of time.
Just as he is on the verge of quitting, he receives some intriguing news. An estranged member of his congregation has died and left the rabbi a significant amount of money. A blessing? Or the start of something far more sinister? Can Rabbi Stone just accept the money and move on, or will his conscience get the better of him? Step into his shoes as he travels all over Manhattan in his attempt to uncover the truth.
Features rabbinical conversation methods, a unique method of fighting, a haunting score, and three different endings depending on your moral choices.
Review by a Cult of Mac
The Shivah starts with a joke:“A goy came up to Rabbi Moishe to ask, ‘Why do rabbis always answer with a question?’ To which Rabbi Moise replied, ‘Why not?’”
First released in 2006, The Shivah is a noirish, murder-mystery adventure game centered around a money-deficient New York synagogue. Its hero, Russell Stone, is not a hardbitten private investigator or a disgraced former police officer like the genre typically demands. He’s a cynical rabbi with a heavy conscience who stumbles into the investigation completely by accident. It sounds odd, and it is, but it also totally works.
Now, developer Wadjet Eye Games has released The Shivah: Kosher Edition, an updated iOS and PC version of the original game with all-new graphics and music. If you’ve never played the original and you’re a fan of adventure games and (well-meaning) Jewish humor, it’s a great take on the well-trod genre.
As an adventure title, your first task is to discover the game’s unique logic. Most of your investigation takes place on the in-game Internet (“Ravnet New York: Where Jews Connect”), but you have to figure out what you have to search for and where to even find it. It takes some odd mental gymnastics, but once you get into The Shivah‘s head, it gets way easier.
Here’s an example: The joke that begins the game is more than a joke; it’s also a clue. By the game’s logic, rabbis always answer questions with questions, and this is something you’ll have to keep in mind all the way through. It’s actually key to surviving one encounter near the end of the game which becomes a variation of The Secret of Monkey Island‘s “insult swordfighting.”
It’s a great take on the well-trod genre.
The Shivah is a short game, so I won’t say much about the plot other than that it’s about a cranky rabbi investigating a murder. It manages the tone well, mixing the serious matter of violent and untimely death with humor. Most of the jokes aren’t broad or silly but dry, slightly dark, and self-effacing (because Jews). And it’s a good fit that keeps Stone relatable and the setting interesting.
And if that appeals to you, you have no reason not to pick this one up.
App: Shivah by Wadjet Eye Games LLC
Compatible: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Released: November 21, 2013
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Price: $1.99 (buy app)
PC version: $4.99 (buy game)
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