Ghost Trick Review (iOS)
When it debuted on the Nintendo DS last year, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective didn’t get as big an audience as Capcom was hoping, though the devotees who did pick up on it were more than pleased with how it turned out. Now the company is looking to introduce it to a whole new audience, with a better touch screen interface and a much more affordable price. Despite a few flaws, it’s a shift for the better.
In Ghost Trick, you portray Sissel, a smarmy detective who starts off the game in the lowest possible form possible – as a corpse. He’s just been freshly murdered by a hitman, though he isn’t entirely ready to shift into the afterlife. Instead, he’s capable of interacting with the real world by means of a secondary “ghost world," shifting around into objects just within reach of his soul and even re-enacting moments within the last four minutes of their occurrence. There’s actually quite a bit of importance in doing this, especially when it comes to saving the life of a fellow detective, a red-headed female who can help you get to the bottom of your own demise.
So here’s how the gist of Ghost Trick’s gameplay works. You’re able to execute “Tricks” by picking a select item within the spectral realm and executing its main purpose, whether it’s unfolding a table or causing a random guitar to strum and spook out a member of the living. The rest of your transition is handled through moving from object to object, and occasionally shifting between worlds in order to keep moving ahead. How you get from point A to point B helps the story move forward, and even if you make a mistake, the game will give you a chance to try again, until the right solution is found.
There’s some genuine interest when it comes to the mystery at hand here, and it’s told with humorous dialogue, along the same level of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games. (That’s because they were both created by game director Shu Takumi.) The only real downside to this game is that there’s only one real solution to each problem, and once you complete the game as a whole, there’s no real reason to come back -- no extra challenges to take on while you’re still in spectral form.
Oh well, it’s the journey, not the destination, right? The gameplay in Ghost Trick certainly holds some fascination, and executing things in a certain way definitely has its moments, especially later in the game, when you learn what’s truly up with your lead character. What’s more, there are plenty of interesting characters here. Even the dog, Missile, has a story of its own.
Capcom has also set up a reasonably fair pricing model with Ghost Trick. The first two chapters of the story are available free of charge, and you can buy either pertaining cases for $4.99 apiece, or the game as a whole for $9.99. That’s a very reasonable price, especially when compared to the $30 Nintendo DS price tag.
The game has also made a superb transition to the iPad front. All of the fluid animations are kept in check here, along with great backgrounds and terrific transition between both worlds. The sound could use a few more samples, but for the most part it retains its jazzy, detective-style tone.
Ghost Trick may be a, pardon the pun, one trick pony, but this mystery is well worth solving if you need something new to play on your Apple device. The fact that it’s one-third of the DS’ price isn’t too shabby either. For some of you with a tight budget, it just might do the Trick.