Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
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Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a puzzle/adventure game for the Nintendo DS and iOS. It was developed mainly by Shu Takumi, the man behind the Ace Attorney Series. Game's story centers on the protagonist Sissel, and his ghost's struggle to discover who he was when he was alive and who killed him. The player assumes the role of this ghost, who has the ability to perform various Ghost Tricks to solve puzzles and navigate the world around him.
Ghost Trick: A Phantom's Tale
Reviewed on Windows in December 2023
Visual / Sound Quality
Level of Challenge
In the world of video games, where sequels and franchises reign supreme, it's refreshing to encounter a game like "Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective." This title, a creation of Shu Takumi, known for the "Ace Attorney" series, offers a standalone experience that's both unique and engaging. Let's delve into the spectral world of "Ghost Trick," and uncover what makes this game a hidden gem.
The Premise: Waking Up Dead
The game begins with an intriguing premise: you, as the protagonist Sissel, wake up dead. With no memory of your past life and the realization of your untimely demise, you embark on a journey to uncover the truth. The game's narrative is structured around a single night, unraveling the mystery of who Sissel was, who killed him, and why.
Gameplay: A Ghostly Puzzle
"Ghost Trick" is primarily a puzzle game interspersed with story elements. The gameplay revolves around manipulating objects in the environment. As a spirit, Sissel possesses items to solve puzzles, often against a ticking clock. The game encourages creative thinking, as you find ways to move Sissel from one point to another, using the objects around him.
The Twist: Saving Lives from Beyond
A standout feature of "Ghost Trick" is its life-saving mechanic. Upon encountering the recently deceased, Sissel can witness their final moments and attempt to alter their fate. These scenarios add a layer of urgency and challenge, as you race against time to change the outcome of events.
Visuals and Animation: Stylish and Expressive
"Ghost Trick" boasts an impressive art direction, with character animations that are both smooth and expressive. The game's distinct visual style, with clean lines and sharp angles, makes the environments and characters stand out. Animations are tailored to each character, adding depth to their personalities and making them memorable.
The Challenges: Puzzles and Time Constraints
While the puzzles in "Ghost Trick" range from simple to complex, they are generally enjoyable and thought-provoking. The game introduces its mechanics gradually, allowing players to familiarize themselves with its logic. However, the time-based aspect of the game might pose a challenge for some players, as missing crucial opportunities could lead to restarting sections.
Audio: A Soundtrack That Slaps
The music in "Ghost Trick," composed by Masakazu Sugimori, deserves a special mention. While the game lacks voice acting, its soundtrack significantly enhances the overall experience, adding to the game's charm and atmosphere.
Storytelling: A Complex Mystery
The narrative of "Ghost Trick" is a highlight, with plot twists and turns that keep the player engaged. The story unfolds in a satisfying manner, with each revelation leading to more intriguing questions. Despite its grim subject matter, the game maintains a balance of humor and seriousness, resulting in a compelling and well-rounded narrative.
Remastering: Modernizing a Classic
Originally released for the Nintendo DS, "Ghost Trick" has been remastered for modern platforms. While the remaster retains the original 4:3 resolution, leading to the presence of borders, this is a minor issue that does not detract from the overall experience.
Fun Factor: 85/100
Fun Factor: 85/100
"Ghost Trick" shines in its ability to keep players engaged with its unique blend of storytelling and puzzle-solving. The game's concept of manipulating objects as a spirit offers a fresh take on the puzzle genre.
Visual & Sound Quality: 90/100
The game excels in its visual presentation and soundtrack. The animations are fluid and expressive, bringing each character to life. The art style is distinct and memorable, and the soundtrack by Masakazu Sugimori adds depth to the overall experience.
While "Ghost Trick" offers a compelling story, its linear narrative and puzzle solutions limit its replay value. However, the charm of the story and characters might draw players back for a second playthrough.
Level of Challenge: 80/100
The game strikes a balance between being accessible to newcomers and challenging for seasoned puzzle enthusiasts. The puzzles are thoughtfully designed, escalating in complexity as the game progresses. The time-based elements add a layer of urgency and excitement, enhancing the gameplay experience.
"Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective" is an original, engaging, and visually stunning game. Its unique premise, compelling characters, and innovative puzzles make it a standout title in the adventure and puzzle game genres. The game's ability to remain fresh and entertaining throughout its duration is a testament to its design and storytelling. For fans of puzzle games, visual novels, or just a great story, "Ghost Trick" is an experience not to be missed.
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