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Titanic Mystery DS Review

04/04/2010 Family Family Gamer Review
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Titanic Mystery DS

Titanic Mystery




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Titanic Mystery DS offers a hidden object driven story that uses its theme well. The surrounding legend of the Titanic lends an enjoyable sense of weight to proceedings of this Nintendo DS puzzle game.

Not a million miles away from the 1912 Titanic Mystery PC game, the developers have revisited their game to freshen it up for Nintendo DS. The premise is the same, and just as enjoyable, find hidden objects in the detailed locations, and solve some mind bending logic problems.

We discover that in 2009 the now famous White Star shipping company decided to build a new ship, the Titanic 2012. Not only that but they will strictly follow the original plans - only this time with state-of-the-art iceberg avoiding technology and better lifeboats. The story then picks up in 2012 for the maiden voyage. The player ends up on board in a bout of self derivation after their partner left. So, despite feeling a little uneasy about stepping onto this famously doomed vessel, you set sail.

If you've not played these sorts of games before, this is a puzzle experience built around the hidden object concept. The game progresses as you identify particular objects in the artsy - and cluttered - locations. As with all games of this type there needs to be a time limit and here it is driven by the discovery that someone has hidden a bomb on board. The player is tasked with finding and defusing the bomb.

I have to confess that I was having so much fun with my family I didn't really realise that I was bellowing out a Taylor Swift song until it was too late - surely a sign that the game was working its magic charms?

As it goes, Titanic Mystery on the DS does a good job of the object hunting. It is amazing how annoyingly hard it is to find certain items. Then, once you have discovered them it's a wonder they were even hidden in the first place. The skill of the game is to use the psychology of distraction and illusion to stop the player from spotting items too quickly.

In addition to the general items you need to locate, each location also has 10 objects from a particular category - telephones, suitcases and so on. Collect these for added bonuses. Finally, there are special items which are broken and scattered about the room. Find all the pieces and put them together to get another blue.

This then takes you into more Professor Layton territory. Although not as varied, or as well themed, it's a welcome break. These puzzles include reassembling a picture from pieces, deciphering a word using Morse alphabet as well as some logic focused challenges.

This all adds up to a satisfying distraction over a lunch or coffee break. But although I started playing in my breaks at work, my kids soon got wind of the game and wanted to play along as well. The simplicity of the hidden object task meant that could genuinely contribute to my progress.

I have to confess that I was having so much fun with my family I didn't really realise that I was bellowing out a Taylor Swift song until it was too late - surely a sign that the game was working its magic charms?

Played on the larger DSi XL with its bigger screen, Titanic Mystery could be played by the whole family. In fact it felt at times more like a board game. As well as having some fun, we also enjoyed learning a fair few facts about the original ship - and came away with a much clearer understanding of why things went wrong. Having watched the Titanic film a number of times, I thought I knew all there was to know, but Titanic Mystery still managed to flesh things out for us.

Although this isn't a hugely original game, its quality combined with the interesting subject matter makes for an engaging experience. Played with family and friends, this becomes quite a competitive game.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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