Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Imagine: you wake up and see your body lying underneath you. Slowly the realisation sets in that you’ve been murdered, but you don’t know by who and why. Even worse: you don’t know at all who you are anymore. That’s the start of Ghost Trick: Phantom detective, an adventure-puzzle game by Capcom. The ghost tricks in question are freezing time, manipulating objects and, even more important, going back in time until four minutes before someone else’s death.
In the course of your nightly adventure it seems that even more people are on Death’s list and that that they are the only ones who can tell you more about your own mysterious death. It’s a story that manages to be more than just a background, it keeps you wanting to know what’s next. The game’s addictive effect is thus mainly thanks to the story.
Ghost Trick is in essence an ingenious puzzle game, in which puzzles are like the so-called “Rube Goldberg machines”. To save someone from a certain death, you need to halt the domino effect that leads a fatal end, or start your own chain reaction. Timing is of course an essential factor in this game. Luckily the main character’s thoughts and comments by other characters hint at possible solutions.
It’s also easy to experiment with possible solutions. When your actions seem to lead nowhere, you can go back in time and start over. That does not always mean that you have to start from scratch again, once you manage to “change fate” (a little bit) you can also return to that moment. Even the not so fanatic puzzle lovers can enjoy themselves, without being discouraged by the harder puzzles.
In the course of the game, it of course gets harder to change the complex chain reactions. Eventually you’ll also get a friend with the power to exchange objects with the same shape. From then on combining both your forces becomes an extra key to success. In other words: the game keeps on challenging you.
Saving others from death is not your only occupation, collection new information in the present is also crucial to find out the truth. Those who like to think along with the questions and riddles that come up during the story, will not be disappointed. Even though Ghost Trick has a serious side, there’s also room for jokes, thanks to the over the top characters and ditto scenes.
The main idea behind Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is simple, but the developers managed create a very nice game that manages to offer some challenge and some leisure. The combination adventure-puzzle is interesting for those who like to play mentally challenging games, but not so much that too complex puzzles can spoil the fun. And for others this is an interesting game to get to know another genre.