previews\ Sep 18, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Touch Detective - NDS - Preview

Published by Atlus and developed by BeeWorks, Touch Detective is one of those ideas that show us why we’re glad to have a DS. An exploration/adventure game with a quirky look and feel to it, Touch Detective utilizes the DS’s touch screen well and keeps in the innovation tier with other great DS games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Trauma Center. Touch Detective’s interesting story and unique feel make one to look out for this Fall.

Touch Detective puts you in control of Mackenzie, a young girl who inherited her family’s detective business after her father died. You along with your trusty sidekick Funghi and your servant buddy Cromwell, you must solve various mysteries and gain prestige in order to prove yourself in the world as a worthy successor to your father’s business.

Touch Detective is played using the stylus on the screen, and makes little to no use of the face buttons. You simply need to tap on a spot on the screen in order to get Mackenzie to walk to the place, investigate the item, or talk to the person that you tapped on. During your journey through the town, you’ll discover a variety of items and clues to help you on your journey that you’ll have to use or combine when the proper moment arises.

In Touch Detective, you play through a variety of different and bizarre missions. The very first mission that you’ll take, for example, has you helping someone who had their dreams stolen. You must then scour the town to find the culprit, tracing the last place she was that she dreamed (the park) and delving into what her dream was about.

The dual-screen format is utilized in an interesting way in Touch Detective. The bottom touch screen is used for playing the game, while the top screen displays Mackenzie. The Mackenzie screen shows her facial expressions and her thoughts during conversations. It’s an interesting concept that shows what goes on behind the scenes in Mackenzie’s head and gives you a look at her innermost thoughts. It’s also pretty funny, as sometimes Mackenzie will let her mind run and think of random crap like hot tea as someone explains their case to her.

Graphically, Touch Detective has an interesting look, which sports a stylized feel. The art direction looks like a cross between a Tim Burton movie and a Jhonen Vasquez comic, albeit with a distinct anime touch. There is also a bit of a cel-shaded effect on the characters, as they are projected onto a static 2D background. The characters also lean towards the bizarre side with super-deformed human characters mixed in with anthropomorphized animals, making the game look like a prettier Animal Crossing.

Touch Detective is shaping up to be an interesting game with a unique concept, engaging gameplay and a fun story. Look for a full review of the game next month.

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