Sissel has a lot of problems, but the least of  them is that he's dead. Well, not dead-dead, but dead. I'll explain: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective [Free] is all about what Sissel has gained in the afterlife. Like a common ghoul, this guy can rattle mundane objects, activate levers and buttons, and possess stuff. He can also decidedly un-ghoulishly rewind time, which is a trick that comes in pretty handy; a lot of the people he knows tend to die, and he needs these people to help him with his biggest problem: memory loss.

Ghost Trick first saw a release on Nintendo DS around a year ago. This isn't its debut on iOS, though. A couple of months after the DS release, Capcom dropped a Universal version of the game on the Japanese App Store. Now, the rest of the world is finally getting to see a version of this port tonight.

And it seems like it's OK from a technical standpoint. In my modest amount of time with it, I haven't seen any port-specific issues like stuttering or flickering. It controls pretty well, too, and caters to your finger just about as well as it did to the stylus.

There's some stuff still bothering me. The assets aren't as high of a resolution as I would like. Also, a good sixth of the screen is covered by a thick layer of UI that, it seems, is simply there to keep the pixel density high. It's weird.

In case you missed out on Ghost Trick, it breaks down like this: Sissel is often charged with reversing people's deaths and he has to use his powers to do so. Each death is like a puzzle, basically, that has you opening doors, spiritually oozing to adjacent objects, and otherwise setting up Rube Goldberg-ian scenarios that'll change that person's fate.

In most cases, you're watching a death, infesting that person's body in order to rewind time, and then actively trying to disrupt that sequence. The solutions to puzzles seem to be mired in weird video game logic, but the saving grace here is that there is a single and true solution to every puzzle. You just gotta find it, you know?

I've been having a blast so far, by the way. This is a pretty thoughtful, if not challenging game with some insane, but fun-to-discover solutions. And while the minutes of overly long exposition is starting to wear me out, I'm digging the characters and the humor. Just wait until you meet dog, man. Wait for it.

We'll definitely continue on with Ghost Trick, and try to give you something much more definitive than this in the near future. This is a free release, though -- the first two chapters, which take about 60 or 70 minutes to complete, are what you'll get with a $0 download, so that should give you a good indication of what you're getting into. Our gut says grab it. Here's some more screens:

  • TouchGamePlay

    I know it that Brad would give it a try when we all got Hyped about it when it did hit the iTunes Store 😀

    Could you tell me what iDevice you were playing on (iPhone/iPad)?

    Just asking because of that "sixth of the screen is covered" doesn`t seem to be such a Problem on the iPad 🙁

  • Bill Quine

    Ghost Trick is amazing! I didn't know it was coming out for iOS. It's made by the same team that did Phoenix Wright, and shares a lot of its sensibilities, but instead of being a lawyer, you're a ghost. (Maybe this article should mention this?) Everyone should try this game.

  • Stephen Beeman

    "Also, a good sixth of the screen is covered by a thick layer of UI that, it seems, is simply there to keep the pixel density high. It's weird."

    The Nintendo DS's aspect ratio is 4:3, as is the iPad. The iPhone and iPod touch are 3:2, which is exactly 1/6 wider.

    • StarCreator

      Plus, for those that haven't played the original, that information on the right 1/6 of the screen is an abbreviated and rotated version of whatever displayed on the top screen in the original game.  It can be pretty important during actual gameplay. The fact this also includes the top screen's tendency to show nothing but the game's logo during noninteractive portions of the story is a bit odd though...

  • Anonymous

    $10 and still no iCloud support? I'd like to use whatever device I want, when I want, so pass.

    • Ben Crowley

      Um, what? There absolutely is iCloud support.

      • Anonymous

        Wasn't mentioned in the review or description, so I assumed no. (Hell, there are still some games that aren't universal or don't support GC, but at least Apple makes those obvious to spot.)

        But at least it's free to confirm...

  • Anonymous

    You gotta be kidding, I was just listening on an old podcast about that game and thinking "man, Id love to see that game on ios".....

  • Anonymous

    Please please PLEASE beat the game before doing a review on this game. Half of the game's genius lies in the story.

  • Will Buckingham

    Well, consider me blown away that this finally got localized.  This gives a lot of hope toward the HD Ace Attorney trilogy getting a quick release.

  • Anonymous

    I loved the original for the DS (and still hoping for a sequel actually). Along with the rumored Layton iOS and the Phoenix Wright trilogy coming, the future is really bright for awesome ports like this. Maybe we might even get a 999 on iOS! 😀

    • Inaba-kun

      Layton iOS is a mini game spin off by the way, it's not a full Layton game.

      • Anonymous

        But it's about Layton's son right? So there must be SOME significant plot in there. Gonna pick it up anyways regardless.

    • Anonymous

      Without spoiling too much, once you complete the game, you'll realise why there can't be a sequel, but it is awesome, and I've played through the original twice.  Bought it for my iPad this morning! £6.99 for all parts in the UK, total bargain!!

    • Josiah Wilson

      Hate to burst your bubble, but the "Layton game" was actually a completely separate game with original characters, but they decided to change it to be about Layton's son late in development for marketing purposes. I'd be surprised if it had more plot relevance to the core franchise than a few quick references and nods.

      Also, I really don't think 999 will ever be coming to other platforms. Don't want to spoil anything, but the fact that there are two screens is actually central to the plot, but it doesn't actually become apparent that this is so or why it is until the very end of the game, unless you're incredibly perceptive and think very abstractly.

      • Anonymous

        Well that's a bummer. And yes, I know about that thing with 999; but what I meant was maybe the sequel could be ported to iOS? Maybe? Doesn't really matter, I have a 3DS and am planning to buy a Vita so I'll just buy it on those platforms instead. But I just think it would be perfect for the system; visual novels and touch-centric games obviously work really well on iOS, especially with the iPad.

  • osman yasin

    For those who are wondering, the game does have iCloud support,but for whatever reason it has to be backed up and synced manually. To do this, go to the game's main menu screen, touch options, then click the cloud and decide if you want to back-up the save or sync the save from another device.

  • Stew Hogarth

    I played this game to the end on DS. It was very good, really throws some interesting things at you, especially later in the game, and there's just so much variety. Should work pretty well on iOS!

  • Peter Villodas

    I can think of a way for a sequel to ghost trick. the way the game ends, sizzle is basicly immortal with eternal youth. when it shows the ghost world, you see he has the radiation from the meteorite. the only way that could happen is that when the final death was averted in the game, durring that scenario the black cat that disappeared must of got a shard from the meteorite in him. now what would happen if he died, he would end up just like yomiel where he can use ghost powers, thus can help. the only thing missing now is a new enemy, one that is a threat to most of the characters in the game, and possibly newer characters too. i think it would be great if they also connect it and explain more about the meteorite. now that can make a sequel.