I missed out on playing Ghost Trick for the Nintendo DS. Thankfully Capcom decided to release an HD version for the iPad.
Ghost Trick is an amazing point-and-click style masterpiece that defies the genre's boundaries with fast touch screen transportation.
Ghost Trick isn't exactly the type of point-and-click game that uses a computer mouse to control everything. The iPad is a touch-based system, after all. This Japanese title still pulls off many things that a Western company wouldn't dare to try out.
For starters, the main character, Sissel, is a dead amnesiac. Technically, this is one of the most stereotypical plot devices in Japanese pop culture. Ghost Trick tries something different–it uses the dead protagonist's ghostly abilities as the main mode of transportation.
Rather than walking around after every click, Ghost Trick decides to let the player use his or her finger to drag Sissel's soul around the inanimate objects in the surrounding area. This is a quick and easy way to pull off actions in some unconventional places. The very first puzzles in the game require Sissel to drop a wrecking ball from the top of a tall crane arm.
Although Sissel's actions are limited for each action, this actually makes the entire adventure much more streamlined. Rather than hunting around for items to complete every single puzzle, Sissel simply moves around the objects to perform everything the game requires. The puzzles are almost too easy to solve, but they are much more reasonable than many of the stumpers in the Monkey Island series.
The story is also much more sophisticated. Rather than spinning a simple comedy piece, Ghost Trick's script involves a wide range of people in a scientific mystery. At first, it plays out like a typical Phoenix Wright mystery. However, the bizarre revelations in the second half of the game are strangely fascinating. This is a unique tale that includes everything, from meteorites to mind-control theories.
One of my favorite moments takes place when Sissel finally discovers his killer. The morbid dialogue between the two main characters in chapter seven sets the scene for a powerful, emotional journey to discover the truth behind it all. Sissel discovers that sometimes people can lose control of themselves in the most cryptic way possible.
Some gamers are bound to criticize the ending, which reveals that the narrator is not the person he imagines himself to be. The game is not just about an identity crisis, though. It is about the complex tale of a ghost who can travel back in time to save people's lives. The fantasy may seem far-fetched, but the clever mind tricks at the end will definitely fool everyone's expectations.
Although this game isn't the type of title to draw attention amongst iPad and iPhone owners, Capcom is offering the first two chapters for free. The remaining episodes cost $10 to $15, depending on which payment option people choose. This is a brilliant way to lure new fans into Capcom's new puzzle adventure franchises. This game is also available for the iPhone.
The concept of Ghost Trick might seem strange, but the occult storyline is brilliant. The colorful cast of characters is just as eclectic as the control system and the game's script. Ghost Trick may only have a cult following, but the recent port to the iPad will definitely receive the attention it deserves. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a masterpiece.
What other recent puzzle adventures have set a new benchmark for other game designers? Why have puzzle adventures such as Phoenix Wright and Ghost Trick gained such a devoted following? Feel free to write about them in the comments below.