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Ghost Trick DS Review

03/02/2011 Family Teen Gamer Review
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Ghost Trick DS

Ghost Trick




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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Story Gamer (DS)
Family Gamer (DS)
Tech Gamer (DS)
Reporting Gamer (DS)
Microcosm Gamer (DS)
Novel Gamer (DS)
Odyssey Gamer (DS)
Reluctant Gamer (DS)

Ghost Trick DS headlines ghostly powers but in fact is all about zany characters, solid plotlines and magnificent butterfly affects. I'm more than happy to play this while my mates harp on about Halo and Modern Warfare.

Ghost Trick is like the detective novels my dad reads, but here the detective is dead himself as well as the victim. Luckily, this means you can use your supernatural time travelling powers to bring the criminal to justice and foil the murder. And it's from the people who made Phoenix Wright so the mechanics work really well.

For me, and my friends agree, Ghost Trick looks even better than Phoenix Wright. It's all in 2D, like old fashioned games, because of this it moves with a really fluid style. In some ways it looks like the Cartoon Network shows my younger brother still watches (ed: too old for them now?).

As the game starts you find out that you can travel back in time, to moments before each murder was committed. You then have to try and solve the puzzles before the time runs out and the victim gets it. Sort of like Quantum Leap meets Minority Report.

The game play itself isn't terrible, the shooting style is alright, quite Gears of War.

I'm a big fan of Japanese games so for me the flamboyant characters and novel settings really clicked. I know that not everyone will get this, but it is worth sticking it out for a while to get your head round. The story alone offers plenty of off the wall entertainment and you meet all sorts of interesting people along the way.

Beyond the window dressing though is the core puzzle mechanic. To solve each murder you have to use your other ghostly powers to move items around and uncover clues. Although it is essentially a point and click adventure, the presentation and story never let things descend into anything derogatory. As you piece each of these together there emerges a sub-plot that (while I won't give it way here) made me want to race through the game.

As the murders get harder to solve you have to start using series of items in combination to intervene. I loved constructing these marvelous machines where one item would cause a domino effect on another until the assailant was foiled. It felt a little like playing Mousetrap, only without the laborious dice rolling to move the mice around the board. This is pure contraption building fun.

The game play itself isn't terrible, the shooting style is alright, quite Gears of War.

I'm not that quick at these sorts of games, so it took me longer to get though the 19 chapters than some of my friends. I appreciated that I could try each chapter multiple times until I got it right. I found a combination of trial and error, along with some logical thinking usually got me through.

Each chapter has to be completed in order, and although some of them repeat the same tricks it never felt boring. The presentation and the overarching story of your own murder keeps the gaming moving. From helping a prisoner escape prison in a stealth sequence to sabotaging a stakeout to prevent a giant chicken from falling on a girl's head, there is a lot of variety on offer here.

I'm thankful my dad got me to play The Secret of Monkey Island when I was growing up because now games like this and Phoenix Wright make a lot more sense. If, like many of my mates, you haven't played many point and click adventures this is a really good place to start.

Written by Rowan Brown

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Rowan Brown writes the Teen Gamer column.

"I write about my favourite games from a younger person's perspective. It's often surprising how different this ends up to other more grown up reviews."

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