Depending on how you look at it, my weekend was either a complete success or a disastrous waste. Asides from my daily ablutions, I've done nothing but sit on my derriere and play Capcom's Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective [Free]. It's true. I'm not ashamed.

I would be ashamed if this was a cheap rip-off stemming from some copycat's attempt to cash in on a popular indie title somewhere but Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective isn't that sort of game. If you had to liken it to a gender-unspecific trophy spouse, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective would be a 6'2" Scandinavian model with a degree in rocket science and a part-time job as a professional comedian. You won't be ashamed to be caught with this one.

The only problem here is that not everyone likes a talker. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective's only real flaw (which is also, paradoxically enough, its strongest quality) is the fact that it is extremely heavy on the narrative. More than half of your time in the game will be spent reading. Sorry guys. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective doesn't come with a voice pack either. If you're the sort who thinks that actions are louder than words, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is probably not for you. (I still recommend giving it a whirl, though.) As for everyone else, why are you still here? Get the game already!

What? No? Fine. I see those raised eyebrows and I'll raise you with a more thorough explanation. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is the long-anticipated port of an adventure game Capcom developed for the Nintendo DS. The titular character in this eccentric little delight is, as you might have guessed already, sort of dead. Sissel is also sort of awesome for an amnesiac red-suited ghost with a bad haircut.

Unlike most of the recently deceased, he has to navigate between the Land of the Living and the Ghost World. Sissel can also traverse telephone lines, perform minor feats of telekinesis, communicate with certain living beings (we'll get to that in a bit), and go back four minutes in time to avert untimely deaths. (Sadly, that's only applicable for everyone but himself.)

Incidentally, you'll find yourself using that last power a fair bit. The supporting cast is somewhat uniquely skilled at dying repeatedly. At least, one of them is.

Meet Lynne. She's a somewhat bombastic little redhead of a detective, the sole witness to your murder and – according to the helpful desk lamp (yes, a literal desk lamp) you meet in the introductory sequence – the key to deciphering the circumstances behind your posthumous condition. Needless to say, you will spend a lot of time rescuing her only to watch her barrel headlong into yet another humorous tragedy.

Along the way, you will also meet the rest of the highly memorable crew. From an unbelievably adorable if loud-mouthed Pomeranian (To quote our very own Mr. Nicholson, "Just wait until you meet the dog, man!") to a shotgun-wielding assassin (His name is Nearsighted Jeego. He never misses his target if they're in range.) to a slow-witted prison guard who dances when distressed, every entity you encounter in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is, uh, unique, to say the least. The development team definitely went all the way with the character design here.

(For those of you curious about how well Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective survived the transition to the iOS, I'm happy to say it looks pixel-perfect. While I've never played the original, I've seen the videos and if the videos are any indication of how things were, well, Capcom did you proud.)

Humor-wise, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is about as off-kilter as the menagerie that populates it. Facepalm-inducing moments are in abundance. The actual plotline, on the other hand, is deeper than what the initial twenty minutes might implicate. How so? I can't tell you. Games like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective are kinda like Fight Club. You don't talk about Fight Club. You don't talk about games like this either. At least, not in the context of the plotline, the actual dialogue and whatnot. Not unless you want to peel away some of the magic. The only thing you're getting out of me on this front is the assurance that when the bleaker moments of the game hit, they will hit hard.

Of course, a good story's not much without decent gameplay. Though marketed as an adventure game, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective feels more like a puzzler sequestered away in a visual novel. When you're not otherwise thumbing through conversations, you'll be in what the game calls 'Trick Time'.

To make this a little easier to understand, we're going to use an example here. Let's say you're inside a flag and you have to make your way across the room to get something. In order to accomplish this, you're going to have press the 'Ghost' button, switch to the Ghost World, and then draw a line from the flag to, say, a pitcher of water. Sissel will then do the rest. Interacting with objects is just as easy. For example, if you're inside a candle and the words 'burn brighter' are present on your side bar, all you need to do is switch to the Land of the Living and hit the 'Trick' button. Once again, Sissel will take it from there.

The puzzles themselves are a lot more complex and likely to leave you going, 'Wait. So, how am I supposed to use two suits of armor, a set of curtains, a globe and a framed-up sword?'. To complicate matters even further, there is often a time limit associated with these puzzles. Luckily for you (and everyone else in the predicament), Sissel can rewind time as many times as he likes, something that makes Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective nicely balanced between the realms of 'forgiving' and 'why would you do this to me?'.

While we're on the topic, here's my only other infinitesimally tiny issue with the game. It's too linear. I know, I know. This isn't some sprawling, open-world sandbox of an action-RPG. However, they've done such a superb job at developing the environments that I kind of want to spend some time away from the main storyline. Ahem. If you haven't guessed it already, I think Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is the bee's knees and with the first two chapters available for free you should definitely give it a shot. Following that, you shouldn't have too difficult a time parting with the cash to unlock the rest of the game.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Inaba-kun

    Without a doubt the best iOS title in quite some time.  I would say that if you liked the Phoenix Wright games (and this is by the same dev team), then you'll like this. They have a similar feel, and both are, as the review above mentions, text heavy. The writing is great though, and every bit as important to the game as the puzzle elements, actually, I'd say it's the most important element.

    Well worth the tiny price of entry and Capcom should be applauded for finally putting out a quality iOS experience, even if it is a rather low resolution DS port.

  • http://twitter.com/AhiruDuck Ahiru Nakamura

    this was worth checking out indeed... but the unskippable dialogue and too much-to-read thingy drives me nuts... I had to quit before finishing the 1st chapter, and when I came back I had to do that "cick-click" to skip the dialogue while watching a movie to get back where I was...
    this is straightforward adventure game, while no verbs nor inventory, this reminds me of those good old Lucas Arts stuff... like the author in this article noted, it's too linear. it's fun, but not gonna get the next chapters anytime soon, no thank you.

  • Zimon B

    You can fast-forward dialouge by holsing down your finger on the chat-bubble.

    • http://twitter.com/AhiruDuck Ahiru Nakamura

      ya but it doesn't really skip it... you have to tap it again to read the next bubble....

      • Artem Kozionov

        It will skip fast if you already watched the dialogue.

      • http://twitter.com/AhiruDuck Ahiru Nakamura

        okay, I get it, but still... I haven't played thoroughly, so it IS still too slow... even those old DOS adventure games had a nice "." key shortcut to skip a line that I can read by only setting my eyesight near it... 
        never said the game wasn't good, it's me who is impatient. what's the point of fastforwarding when I've already played and not when I'm playing for the first time?! 1st graders can read faster than the game can display the dialogues..

      • http://www.starcreator.com/ StarCreator

        You can go to the iOS settings (weird place, I know) to modify the auto-advance speed.  Don't think it changes the speed at which text appears but it'll shorten the time it waits after it finishes displaying to go to the next one.

      • http://twitter.com/Tmdean Tim Dean

        Well, according to Apple's guidelines, iOS settings is where infrequently changed settings are supposed to go.

  • http://twitter.com/CaponeTalks CaponeTalks

    Great review. The only thing that's missing is the fifth star. ;-)

    • Anonymous

      Haha. :) For those of you wondering where the fifth star is, I'm trying to be objective. On a PERSONAL front, it gets a 5.5 out of me. I stayed up till 7am finishing it that weekend. 

      However, there are plenty of people who will see the extensive reading and the linear flow as drawbacks. Thus, it gets 4/5 for that reason. ^^; 

      • Anonymous

        It wasn't a drawback on the DS.
        Neither was it a drawback in the Phoenix Wright games.
        You should review the game for what it tries to be and how it executes this idea for the target group.
        This is not some simple minigame, but a full fledged 40$ game for a mere fraction of the price. It got a 9.0 on Gamespot on the DS, you must be joking for giving it 4 stars compared to the ios competition.
        If it weren't as linear it would not be as good, simple as that.
        I'd write a better review than this any day.

      • Anonymous

        You have your points, sir/ma'am. I'm not going to argue about how acid that came off, but! I'll say one thing.

        I play a lot of adventure games and those, in turn, are also extremely linear. However, there's a lot of exploration, nonetheless. Most of it is spent looking for the same items time and time again. But, there are often multiple objectives to fulfill and things to poke at. 

        The reason the linearity bothered me is a funny one. I wanted more excuses to explore the world that they had built. It was just that awesome. ^__^

      • Anonymous

        I am too tired to write another reply as long as the one above, but I'd like to add one point to your argument considering linearity.

        This is not yout typical "western" adventure game, but a game very closely connected to the "visual novel" style of games, which are very popular in Japan. These games are always extremely linear, and rarely released on the western market due to complaints like these.
        Compare it to a book, with which you can interact to a certain degree.
        The primary focus is storytelling and exploitation, mostly executed with huge amounts of text inbetween the gameplay elements.
        Ghost Trick features gameplay overdoses compared to the (even more) Japanese counterparts. And the Japanese like it that way, so do I and other members of the target audience. That (and the reasons in the above posts :) ) is why I disagree with the final score, it doesn't do the game justice.

      • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

        But it is for me. You can't skip anything, the dialog interrupts the gameplay and I found it frustrating. I still loved the game, but the fact that you have to sit through scenes that can drag on, and the endless amount of talking does take away from the flow of the game for a lot of people.

        Not everyone likes Phoenix Wright, I didn't. Should those people be ignored?

        Just because you think it's wrong doesn't automatically make you right. Your argument that you'd write a better review? How. You don't seem to have the ability to be at all objective. You have just about said you're a fanboy of the game. but that said, why don't you try getting on the TA review staff if you're that good? This unfounded argument that people have (" I can do better than you ") is just silly. Where are your reviews?

        And 4/5 is that much worse than an 8/10 or 9/10? Look at all the reviews on the DS game. They weren't all glowing, and there are faults in the game. Just because you can't see that doesn't mean they don't exist. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean that everyone also will.

      • Anonymous

        Instead of being rude while trying to sound as if you were a superior person compared to me (geez I hate that most about the internet), why are you not evaluating on the points I have provided you with?

        Clearly you are not the target group for this game if you didn't even like the Phoenix Wright games, this however is not the games fault: It's your own for buying it regardless.

        The question remains: Does the game succeed in what it tries to be, and will the target group dig it on that simple premise.
        If it does, there is no reason to reduce it's score, just because there might be people that don't like reading a lot or hate being put on a linear path. It's just the way it is, and it would not be as good a game if it weren't that way.
        -> King of Dragon Path (awesome game by the way) got 5 stars, even though it is even more of a niche product than this. 
        Or to put it another way: There certainly are people that dislike football games for example, but a well executed football game still deserves a perfect score if it succeeds in what it tries to be. 

        I'm not a fanboy (seems to be the gaming community's most commonly used term should there be a disagreement of some sorts...) for claiming this game does the things it sets out to do right, and should therefore not be punished, just because there might be people that are put of by it's gaming design. You should just mention the potential drawbacks for the mainstream audience in the review as a warning, and still reward this game (and its development team) with the score it deserves.

        Seriously, if this isn't 5 stars in ios standards, I don't know what is. Especially with this price tag.

        (Regarding my "career" as a reviewer: I'm writing ios reviews for a small German magazine as a part time income besides my studies. In German of course.I'm not yet convinced, that my English is sufficient enough to work for an English site. Still I'm convinced I'd have given this particular game more credit due to the points mentioned above.)

      • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

        I don't believe I was rude. Blunt, maybe, but not rude. Frustrated I'd even take. When you end a comment saying that you could do a better review than the reviewer, you come across as a person who strikes me as being "superior"

        Everything you said was stated as fact. When in reality everything you said about the game is opinion.

        I didn't address every point? Well I will. Limiting a game to a target audience is good how? A good game will appeal to its target audience and then some. Many people who dislike role playing games loves Mass Effect, for example. I don't generally like platformers on iOS but there are games that stand out, even though I'm not the target.

        If this game was released and only people in its demo bought it, how would the game fare? Not that well. However I do believe this is a game that can appeal to people outside of its target demo, and then some. It appeals to me, and I was not a fan of Phoenix Wright.

        And the fact of the matter is simple, the "target group" of this style of game won't care about the issues brought up here. They're aware of them and accept them as such. The thought that a review should exist for a game that only has its target demo in mind is a limited review indeed.

        And yes, you seem like someone who loves and adores this game plus the Phoneix games. Am I wrong? Can you really look in your heart and say that you could look objectively at this or any other game and see *any* faults? No game is perfect, everything has an issue and it's up to the reviewer to judge it, and try to do so as objectively as possible. If they feel a certain element was a detriment to the game, then they have the right to discuss it and mark it accordingly, even if that is what the target people want. Again, if is expected by the people who are huge fans of the style if gaming, they'll add a star themselves, because it's not an issue for them. Instead of "fanboy", replace it with my above comment. Based on what you said initially, I believe that you have, to some degree, blinders on an ability to be objective.

        Again, I love this game but I do believe all the text, and the drawn out way it is handled, takes some of the enjoyment away from me. Not all of it, but some. And there are scores of reviewers on the DS version who had the same issues. Are they all wrong?

        As for the linearity comment, how do you know? You didn't play a game that was less linear, it doesn't exist. I understand what you're getting at, but it is a common concept in gaming, and this game in particular, that has also been discused by other reviewers. Freedom in gaming is something that deserves to be mentioned and some people will find issue with not being able to move freely and make their own choices. This game leaves no options, there's only one way to build the mousetrap and only one way to the next objective. Is it wrong for people to want more flexibility? And who knows, maybe it would be good. It's a least worth considering.

        This game is great, it's amazing and it would be crazy not to try it, regardless at how you feel on any other game of its type. But people Also need to be made aware it might not be for them, and that a major gameplay mechanic, regardless of how you feel about games in general, can be an issue. This is an adventure, point and click puzzle game. That's the genre it's in. It's also very, very, very Japanese, something people wandering onto the app store may not be aware of. Thst means the characters are goofy sometimes, they overreact and they can be terribly wordy. People that like this style will be interested in this game, even if they despised Phoenix Wright, and maybe this review is for them, and not for the people dedicated to the genre it was directly made for.

        But in final point, regarding your reviewing comment, you have to back that up. Just saying something doesn't make it true, and I think this was a very good review (even though there were a few spoilers in it) that portrayed everything that is great about the game.

      • http://profiles.google.com/sokolov22 Derek Chin

        Unfortunately, there is no way to solve people disagreeing with you on the internet.  The reviewer has a set of criteria and a review methodology - that's all the caveat I need.  If my views and preferences don't align with the reviewer, well, that becomes clear relatively quickly and I can adjust my perception of the final scores that reviewer gives.  There's no need for me to go and tell the reviewer how they review based on  my personal preferences, that seems pretty silly.

        On the other hand,  you can't take much out of a review that says "Sucks 0/10."  So the caveat here is whether the reviewer is decent and explains why he or she likes/dislikes particular aspects of a game, of course.  

      • Anonymous

        You are right!
        But fortunately there is a comment section in which I can TRY to explain why I think this particular criticism is wrong. 
        Maybe someone appreciates this, maybe not.
        At least I tried. ;)

      • Anonymous

        You see, sir, this is where you are wrong again.
        This game is a take on the Japanese "Visual Novel" style of game.
        Comparing it to the western Point and Click adventures is why you might be disappointed by it's design to some degree.
        I don't know how much experience you have with this particular genre, but considering your comments and complaints about this game I guess you are a blank piece of paper on this topic.
        These games are the definition of linearity and text overdoses. It's story first, gameplay second. I think this game handled the gameplay part very nicely, while telling a very good story which keeps you guessing till the ending credits roll. Or to put it another way: in a genre that is rarely appreciated by western audiences, this game has still found plenty new fans outside of it's regular fanbase, which in your own opinion is what a great game should do. 

        Criticizing it for linearity or too much story/text is criticizing the genre itself, which is simply wrong for obvious reasons. It's like criticizing Point and Click Adventures for having to collect items.
        You cannot make a game like this open to explore without sacrificing the flow of exposition. That's just what it is: Story first. 
        Even the reviewer said, that story is the strongest point, while mentioning it to be the biggest flaw at the same time. It's exactly this kind of complaint that usually keeps these little gems in Japan, without translation and any hope to ever see the light of day abroad.
        If people would learn to appreciate different things for what they are, maybe we would see more of these games around. 

        I hope this gave you a little insight on why I consider this game a 5 star game, without sounding biased in your opinion. You might still call me what you like however, freedom of speech and stuff...;)

      • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell

        I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm a huge reader, because otherwise I'm going to come off as some kinda philistine, BUT...

        Extensive reading is kind of a drawback on iOS. Especially given that the game's autosaves are a bit dodgy. On DS you're not likely to have your game interrupted. If you're playing on your phone, that's a lot more likely.

        I'm enjoying Ghost Trick a lot so far, but I've been annoyed on a couple occasions when I come back to the game and have to reread a ton of dialogue that I've already seen. That's bad implementation. And on a hop-in, hop-out sorta platform, having extended scenes without gameplay can be a problem since people may be playing in chunks of a few minutes and not actually get to *play* in that time. I'm not going to step into a score argument, but I can certainly see it being a big drawback for someone.

      • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

        This is why I adore you Nissa (marry me?)

        I had a few situations where I played the game, had it close out on me and the lack of checkpoints (that weren't improved from the DS version) ended up in me having to play a significantly lengthy scene again. Yes, I was able to skip a bit of the talking, but it took nearly as long as watching it the first time.

        I multitask on my phone and iPad, and if a game can't save a state, that seriously reduces its ability to be a portable game. I understand they couldn't change the system in the port, they probably had a minimal budget as it was, so adding anything is probably was unrealistic. But I can't see why they couldn't have put a more robust way of skipping dialog into the game.

        Also you can't skip the animated portions, either. And as beautiful as they are, they can be very slow. Amazing the first time, but much less if you have to watch it again and again.

        And that's the other thing, when you have to redo things, you also have to re-experience things. With the same slow skipping mechanism and the same need to watch the animations over again with no way of skipping that.

        Great game, but I agree with the stars. Frick, it's 4 stars! That's REALLY good. (though I do think TA is a little big more positive with their reviews, Super Crate Box, really?)

      • http://twitter.com/ktern Brady

        That's a reasonable perspective. I've had the game crash twice on me total, and it took a LOT of clicking to get back to where I was.

        I think what's alarming isn't the rating itself. It's the separation between the rating and her opinion. I don't know if this is an option for TA reviewers, but if I felt incapable of writing an proper review for whatever reason, I'd probably hand it off to someone else who could do it justice, rather than trying to guess what others might think of the game.

      • http://twitter.com/ktern Brady

        I think every review comes with a "this may not be your genre" caveat, and it's better to go with your own opinion than trying to guess those of others. There are a lot of games that get very high scores here that just aren't my thing, but I can see how they deserve the ratings they got regardless.

        While this may be too much work, the problem would be partly resolved by having multiple editors review each game. Maybe one "main review" and a few quick comments from others?

  • http://twitter.com/Aghartastudio Alex

    I'm in the last chatper, and all I can say is : where is the fifth star?? This game is brilliant, and deserve a 5 star rating more than let's say super crate box?
    Well I guess It's just a matter of opinion , Linearity in this game is what make the game so focused on the complex story/interaction mechanics, and it's a standard in all good adventure game..

    I never had more fun with time travel game since Day of the tentacle anyway, I hope to see more quality game like this !!

    • http://twitter.com/CaponeTalks CaponeTalks

      Okay, Day of the Tentacle is one of my favourite games since I first played it on my Macintosh Performa in the middle of the nineties. :-)
      An iOS port would be a dream, because then you could play Bernard, Laverne and Hoagie while sitting on a "Chron-O-John" - wouldn't that be cool? ;-)

      • http://twitter.com/AhiruDuck Ahiru Nakamura

        o boy, I have actually played DoTT on my 1st gen iPod, back in the days of jailbreaking (no App store back then)... it was so good!! still own the original CD-ROM from '95 I think...

        and for the matter, I DID play on my Chron-o-John lol...

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frédéric-Lormois/100000030609443 Frédéric Lormois

      Same, this is just non sense that this game has only 4 stars....so The Hacker is better, so, Smash Cops is better ?
      Totally foolish. One of the top ten best iOs game...4 stars, as billions of other games on this site ?
      Very bad review.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Yes both The Hacker and Smash Cops are better iPhone games. That's the important distinction to be made here.

      • http://twitter.com/AhiruDuck Ahiru Nakamura

        the difference here is that Ghost Trick has a bigger fanboyism base than other indie releases... that's what makes they think it deserves a higher rating, I think

      • http://twitter.com/Aghartastudio Alex

        If you are the type of audience aimed by thoses two games. personaly I wasn't at all^^
        damn , it must be hard to rate games and be fair with all!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/DF24Z4ZLRK4S5VDEIORPJHZZIA pho3nix

        Well, with a perspective like that it's hard to see iOS gaming grow beyond its current state. Furthermore, keep in mind that these are iOS games, not just iPhone games. A large number of people who own an iPod Touch or an iPad are in it for the gaming alone, not for playing games on the go on their phones.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        OK, The Hacker and Smash Cops are both better iOS games. This is a port of a DS title. If iOS is going to "grow beyond its current state" it's not going to be with DS ports.

      • Anonymous

        So you are actually implying, that minigames "on the go" should be the way to go on ios, rather that a fully realized game with actual production values and length? Who says, that IOS games are only playable on the road. You can also play them at home on the sofa or during a long train ride. 

        It's people like you that keep IOS gaming from being taken serious by the majority of the gaming community.

        The DS has many brilliant titles with touch controls, that would fit well on IOS. You can't tell me you'd rather see another 1000 variations of more or less the same minigames time and again, rather than a "complete" game for a fraction of it's original price?

        4 stars imply, that this is just some other game. looking at the recent reviews on this site it's almost offensive not to give this game the reception it deserves. Compared to the competition on IOS this is almost the holy grail.

        But obviously there are double standards applied to certain reviews on this site. Should this games sales fail on IOS it'd be a failure for IOS gaming itself. Every true gamer would know why.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        4/5 is an 8/10, which is a very good score last time I checked, no?

      • Anonymous

        Not in relation to other reviews on this site, sorry.
        2 stars are rarity on here, 3 stars (in my opinion) equal a kind of bad game, and 4 stars imply "good" but nothing special.
        Hell, even "The Lost City" got 4 1/2. Talking of double standards.
        Might be personal taste, but considering production values, art style, story, characters, overall writing, innovation and overall level of polish this game is way better. Linearity can't be an issue in a Japanese "Visual Novel" take on a game.

        It is, just as I said above, not what this game deserves, due to a mere lack of comparable competition on the IOS devices. Sure, there are some drawbacks, but they are so minor that even with them present this game is still miles ahead of it's competition.
        And 4 stars (by this sites review standards, by all means not generally speaking) just don't do this game justice.
        I have further tried to explain why a few posts below this one, you might want to read it and understand (or deny) it.

      • http://twitter.com/CaponeTalks CaponeTalks

        Agreed. 

        Of course, ratings aren't worth a cent without reading the review itself, and a review is mostly the opinion of one person. I think this review is rather good. But indeed it seems strange that a site like Touch Arcade rates Ghost Trick "4 out of 5", like almost 400 other games before. This is, as Eli posted, not a bad rating at all. But according to TA review standards I think this rating doesn't do this brilliant game justice, as it's surely one of the best iOS games in general (even though it's a port).
        So yeah, "4 out of 5" may be a good rating for other games, but it almost seems like a raw deal here. But maybe there will be a "Trick Time" and the fifth star will appear magically in four minutes... ;-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Buckingham/518019273 Will Buckingham

         I would say that this isn't really a DS port in this particular case.  The iOS version appears to have been designed if not directly alongside the DS version, at least very closely timed, because I remember hearing complaints about how Capcom was already advertising a cheaper iOS release alongside the DS retail release.  It's been in the Japanese store for a long time now, and people wondered if knowing it was coming out very quickly after on a mobile platform at a lower price didn't gut the DS sales.  The only thing that doesn't appear to have been designed around the higher resolution iOS devices are the very brief phone line transition "FMVs" which look a little grainy in comparison to the rest of the game's smoothly scaled character models and backgrounds.  I equate this closer to the XBox 360 version coming out two weeks after Playstation 3 version, and you'd never see anyone but console warring fanboys calling one a port of the other, even when it's blatant that one is clearly the lead designed SKU from performance or graphics.

        Because of that, I think calling this particular one a port is really doing it injustice, and it almost sounds like it's being used as a justification for scoring it lower than I believe it deserves as well.  It's a truly incredible game with only a few frustrating spots, and it should be based on its merits as a game in its genre rather than any absurd comparison to app store "5-minute experience" arcade games.  It would be absolutely criminal if someone passed it up because they saw 4 stars and walked away without trying it.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Well, presumably someone would read the review before instantly dismissing a four star (which is a great rating by every metric I know of) game because it didn't get a flawless numerical score.

        But, to be fair, if this type of person can't handle reading a ~1,000 word review, Ghost Trick most certainly is not the game for them.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Buckingham/518019273 Will Buckingham

        I would agree that in a perfect world, people would read the reviews, but reality is a different beast.  A lot of people, and I'm guilty of it myself at times, look at the title, the pictures, and the score to see if it's worth investing their time to examine it closer.  I know it's not "fair" but it does happen, and in a sea of highly rated titles it's bound to happen more frequently. Also, consider it this way.  As a 4-star game, Ghost Trick won't end up in your Best of February 2012 list.  Obviously, you and your staff are entitled to your opinions, but I find that to be a massive disservice to what is in practically every way a triple A title in its genre.  That says that while 4/5 (or 80%) is a great review score for a game, half a star is in fact the difference between the showcase and the ever flowing stream of the app store floor.  I can only hope that it manages to get onto some of the app store charts and get some recognition, because otherwise it will be dead by next week's release list.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frédéric-Lormois/100000030609443 Frédéric Lormois

        "Yes both The Hacker and Smash Cops are better iPhone games."
        C'mon,. you are REAALY thinking that ?

        so bye TA......

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Bye!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        Remember that if you're going to provide more, you still have to do it right. Games like The Hacker had simple gameplay, and simple presentation. Done right at a "4.5 star" level. You can provide so much more and thus successfully earn a higher price point per download, but you still have to do it right. Ultimately the end-user experience (minus fanboi bias) is closer to "4 stars".

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DF24Z4ZLRK4S5VDEIORPJHZZIA pho3nix

    Regardless of how objective you're trying to be this game merits at least 4.5 stars if not the whole 5. It has gorgeous graphics and animation, memorable characters, incredible music and a greater than average playtime for a handheld game. On those alone it easily matches up to and surpasses the greatly lauded Sword & Sworcery. The rating is hugely disappointing since your reviews and ratings help a great chunk of iOS gamers decide what's worth spending their money on.

    It would have been commendable for you to introduce iOS gamers to such an incredible game in the best way possible, by giving it your highest rating.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell

      If people read Cass's review instead of just the rating, they'd see whether or not it was a game to their tastes.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/DF24Z4ZLRK4S5VDEIORPJHZZIA pho3nix

        If the rating is of such low consequence then maybe TA should remove ratings and just keep the review texts.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Believe me, I'd love to, but people demand them.

  • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

    Is anyone else unimpressed at how this looks on the iPad? There's a lot of blocky stair-stepping, and it sure distracts from the gorgeousness that is on the iPhone :(

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Huh.  I played through the free parts last week and I'm on the fence as to whether to buy the rest or not. 

    On the one hand, I'd like to find out the rest of the story, and I do find the basic concept of a ghost interacting with the world by manipulating inanimate objects intriguing.

    On the other hand, I'm not really a big fan of the "trial-and-error until you figure out in what seemingly random way the developers want to you solve the problem" adventure-game genre.  I also had one issue already in the free part where the game didn't save my progress properly and kicked me pack to the very beginning of the previous scene... I don't mind reading the dialog the first time, but repeating the entire scene, unable to skip anything, was very tedious and I'm worried about how often it will be an issue in the full game.

    Like I said, on the fence.  We'll see.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

      Totally agree. Reminds me of the old King's Quest and Space Quest games, which were mainstays in my childhood and would never speak ill of their countless hours of entertainment provided. However, game design has evolved much since then and unless you're latching onto the nostalgia hook (which frankly has been played out so much I almost miss modern themes) just isn't very engaging anymore. Especially when you run into those "Guide Dang It" moments.*

      *Look up "Guide Dang It" on Tvtropes

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

         No, not TV Tropes!  I still have things to do this evening!

        But, yeah, that's one of the things that makes me reluctant to drop the $10.  I already had to hit the walkthru once or twice in the free bits.  (Note to developers: blenders do not work that way.)

      • Anonymous

         If you feel that point-and-click adventures are not engaging anymore because game design has evolved, sorry, but that's just you. The old Sierra games do tend to be slightly crude compared to some newer point-and-click adventures, but the basic premise has never never my heart nor that of countless others. I do not want the point-and-click genre to evolve. It is fine as it is.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

        Really? It's not doing very well compared to how it used to. So yeah...catering to the niche crowd (just you) that still loves it as it was won't pay the bills.

      • Anonymous

         I think you're wrong. Adventure games made a big-time comeback a few years ago and there are new adventure games coming out regularly now, with Germany playing a big role. I'm thinking about The Whispered World, The Book of Unwritten Tales, Lost Horizon, The Next BIG Thing, even Telltale keeps putting out quality titles. Not to mention all the re-releases of classics that seem to be doing very well (Monkey Island, Broken Sword, etc.) On the iPhone they are alive and well, with the Hector series breaking away from iOS and getting picked up by Telltale, and regular releases from companies dedicated to the genre.

        I might have been bigger once, but the genre is far from dead and flowering even.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

         At least for me, it's not a question of point-and-click -- I loved Myst and Riven the just as much the second time around on my iPod as I did back in the day.  It's a question of whether the logic used to figure out the solution to the puzzles makes sense to me, or whether it feels like I'm trying to guess by trial-and-error what Random Object X I'm supposed to use in Random Way Y. 

        The free-playthrough part of Ghost Trick played too much like the latter to me for me to be totally decisive about whether I want to buy the rest.  :shrug:

        It's not just point-and-click games I have that problem with: once I got over the novelty of being able to type "create large pink flying nuclear reactor" and having it appear, I disliked Scribblenauts for exactly the same reason -- far too many of the levels had "guess the exact 4 items the developer wanted you to create to solve the puzzle" solutions.

      • Anonymous

         Well, yeah. But then that's the difference between a quality adventure game and one that's one. :) For many, you did have to crawl into the skin of the characters and/or designers, because they had their own quirks. But take for example The Book of Unwritten Tales: it gets accused for being to easy and I would say purely because all of the puzzles fit the environment and are logical!

        It's a preference. Some people do like extreme challenges. Some adventure games are not supposed to be easy and the solution sometimes does make sense in the context of the game world. Sometimes, it does not and that sucks. :)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

         It's not a question of wanting a game that "easy" or "not a challenge."  It's a question of wanting a game where I feel like I can solve the puzzles by thinking through the solution, rather than by randomly throwing things at the problem to see what sticks.

      • Anonymous

         See, I guess that's a pretty subjective thing, because some people will "get" it. If everyone "gets" it, generally this means it's too easy. No two people think exactly alike, so good puzzle design is extremely difficult. I guess it needs a level of familiarity with the game and it's quirks.

        But I get what you mean. I like The Book of Unwritten Tales a lot for this reason, because I have little trouble finding the solution quickly by simply thinking about the environment and the items that I have to interact with it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Buckingham/518019273 Will Buckingham

      Except the solutions in Ghost Trick aren't random at all, unlike some of the previous Sierra and LucasArts adventure games.  You have a task to accomplish, and you have items in the environment you use to perform that task.  Every item's function is labeled, and it's your challenge to get them to interact to reach the final goal.  There are even thought boxes that help you work through what your next step might be, or letting you know if you might have screwed things up to the point that you need to rewind back to the last fate change mark.  There are exactly two points in the entire game that I was stumped by for more than a single time reset.  To not spoil anything as best as possible, one of them was at a jail, and another is at a park.  Everything else just required critical thinking rather than the blind inventory trial and error that many adventure games used to require.

      On a side note, I'm not sure where all the complaints about replaying large sections of text are coming from.  Every time I've closed out Ghost Trick on my iPad, it went into save state mode and when I came back it was at a special pause screen asking me to tap to return to exactly where I left off.  You don't even need to use the game's built in save function with the iOS version, although it is nice that it's there to use with the iCloud syncing.  The only thing I can think of is people are resetting their devices between playing and maybe that kills the save state?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

        The complaints about replaying large section of text are coming from the fact that, for some people, the game doesn't restart where you left off and therefore you have to replay large sections of text and animations.  I'm glad to hear you didn't have that problem, but a number of other people have, including me.  And no, I wasn't resetting my device between game sessions.

        As far as being random: like I said, YMMV.  How random a solution seems to you is going to depend on how much your logic matches up with the game designer's logic.  To take the example I used above:  There's a solution early in the game involving a blender that I never would have guessed except through trial-and-error or through a walkthrough (which is how I did solve it) not because I lack critical thinking skills, but because I know how blenders work... and that's not how. :-)

        Obviously others' opinions differ.  I agree it's not nearly as bad as the old-style adventure games but to me it falls far enough on the "random solutions" side of the spectrum that I'm not sure I if I want to play it $10 worth of want.  YMMV.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GOWZM2JBBOUU6IM2CN4DPMQI7A Chad

    Sounds like we had a similar weekend. This game is the most fun I've had on iOS yet. Although the game mechanics are completely different, it reminds me of the Phoenix Wright series in terms of its exposition. 

  • Anonymous

    I'm kind of speechless. This game is essentially a visual novel, and it is packed with brilliant writing. Since when did lots of words become a flaw? Sure, some people might not like it, but no game can cater to everyone. That's like taking off a star from a violent game because some people are turned off by excessive gore.

  • http://twitter.com/Mauricio_Magus Mauricio_Magus

    It may be unreasonable... but I can't keep believing in this websites reviews when the best game of iOS ever released may be this one and it gets a 4/5.
    I've played the game 3 times and I was scared of the port being shitty and to my surprise, Capcom actually did a great freaking job... this game should get a 6/5

    • Anonymous

      I actually played for about 30 minutes and uninstalled. While the art and presentation were beautiful... it just lacked something for me. I am FINE with lots of reading - there is no issue there. But I just felt so bored after 30 minutes... and not captivated. (I was the same with Scribblenauts - the "puzzle" game of that was all common sense and really boring (I played almost the whole thing - waiting for something amazing to happen...))

      Anyway - for art and style - certainly gets it 4 stars... but the overall experience for me was stale and boring... just not sure what I was missing in it.

      • http://twitter.com/CaponeTalks CaponeTalks

        Well, that's only natural. Visual novels don't appeal to anyone. 
        I was blown away by this game from the first minute, and I still love it after several chapters.
        But I don't like other games that seem to be very popular. Tastes differ.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4CZCDI4UUGGECG5FSOO67JQKSA Hansy

    oops! Capcom's Ghost Trick game has added to your daily ablutions!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pinky-Franco/100001788005674 Pinky Franco

    While i think this deserves 5 stars, these kinds of games in the west are a bit of a hit and miss. It caters to a niche genre no matter how other people would convince you how popular phoenix wright has become. So yea, it's expected to see a lot of people having issues with walls of unskippable text, which is true. I used to doze off sometimes, fast-forwarding thru stuff i've read in phoenix wright games back in the DS, but i got used to it, since that's the only gripe I have with it. For this game tho, since I haven't played the DS version, I don't know if saving really works that way, or the ios version is really messed up. I hope they can fix this in a future patch since I expect to return to my exact place in time when I saved instead of having to start every chapter/fate averted part. But nonetheless, great game and I hope Capcom can make more of this in the future (along with better ports of PW since the current ones in ios are crap).

  • http://flavors.me/kioshi kioshi

    5/5 for me, although I can see why it won't appeal to some people. The DS version wasn't a huge sales success but it had a loyal fanbase.

    The animations and style in this game makes me wanna see another stylish Capcom game ported for my iPad... Killer7 (I know, different style but also a niche game that was loved and hated by many).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fokion-Harokopos/1533190553 Fokion Harokopos

    As long as DS ports keep offering deeper and more interesting experiences, I don't mind them in the least.

  • http://twitter.com/Aghartastudio Alex

    Finally finished the game. The story was awesome and really moving in the end :) 
    I really hope to see another game (or why not a sequel) with a concept like this !
    I hope they will sell a lot more on app store than on DS!
    great job guys!

GHOST TRICK: Phantom Detective Reviewed by Cassandra Khaw on . Rating: 4