“Ghost Trick”

Make Unforgettable Friends

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Identity crisis. Powers of the dead. Time-warping, mind-hopping fun.

Ghost Trick is a puzzle game developed by CapCom, and available for the Nintendo DS and iOS. With a smooth, touch-screen-oriented interface, challenging yet rewarding puzzles, and an enthralling storyline, it offers hours of rewarding entertainment.

Ghost Trick resembles a platformer in that the player’s movement is basically constrained to a 2-dimensional environment. Intuitive yet challenging, the player moves by sliding from object to object, and by manipulating objects to change circumstances in the environment. Although movement within a room or setting is usually limited to a certain extent, when you shift to a new setting you have the option to travel to any room you’ve previously visited, not necessarily the next one in the linear plot-line. This adds a satisfying sense of freedom to the interface and increases replay value.

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Although a few of the puzzles (one in particular) were difficult for me, most of them are very rewarding, requiring a combination of movement, timing, and thinking. Most of them involve watching the scene as people act, then using their actions to obtain your goal. And if you make a mistake, don’t worry; you can redo the scenario as much as you like, and sometimes failing will teach you something you need to know to move forward.

As Ghost Trick opens, you are just regaining consciousness after your death. As you quickly learn, though, just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you’re out of the picture. There are things for you to do, other lives for you to save, mysteries to solve, using your special “ghost tricks”. Your initial mentor, a desk-lamp (hey, it doesn’t matter in the ghost world), helps you get the hang of how to manipulate objects, and shows you your most important gift: turning time back four minutes before someone’s death in order to save their life. This ability not only lets you help the people you meet tonight, but it’s the key to solving your most pressing mystery: who you are. Unlike all the other dead people wandering around, you have no memories at all of who you were, what you were doing in a junkyard on the edge of town, and why you were killed. And you only have one short night to figure it out.

The puzzles are quick and engaging, and while the tone is mostly light-hearted, Ghost Trick manages to touch on themes as deep as immortality and the morality of revenge. The characters you meet  are wacky and memorable, and almost no one is who they seem to be. Spies, detectives, chefs, generals, little girls, and eccentric lady novelists—you’ll mingle with them all before you discover where you fit in.

Yes, some very strange things are going down in this town tonight. And I wouldn’t miss them for the world.

The top image is courtesy of Wikipedia (here), and used for review purposes under fair use guidelines. The screenshot of gameplay comes courtesy of GameInformer.com, and is a low-resolution image used for review purposes.

Ghost Trick is available on Amazon (here), among other places. The version for iOS (which I recommend; it’s much more fun on the iPad screen) is available from the iTunes store (here).

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