Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Touch Detective DS


Developer: Success/Bee Works
Publisher: Atlusre-evaluate
Released: October 2006
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Multiplayer: No
Genre: Adventure

Official Website - pretty good, has a lot of gameplay examples.

Synopsis: You play as a new "Touch Detective" named Mackenzie. Using the stylus you can navigate through areas and have her check out different sections of those areas. These can contain items/clues/people you can talk to that you must use to solve the cases you are given.

Tutorial: Yes, there is a very brief tutorial that you go through to get the basics. The main things you will do is search around tapping in different places on the screen, talking to people you meet, and collecting the items/clues you find. Taking a closer look at the clues will help you figure out what to use it for. You can then use them to solve the case. Yes, it's as easy as it sounds, in theory. But the actual gameplay can get annoying, more in the upcoming sections.

Story/Characters: The main story is Mackenzie must make a name for herself because she recently inherited the detective agency from her father. The characters have a cute but awkwardness to them. As the different characters interact with Mackenzie, you can see her thoughts on the top screen about what she's thinking at the moment (related or not). This feature can get annoying, mainly because you're looking up and down a lot, but you get used to it (or just ignore it). The other characters are also quirky, and tend to say lots of random things. However, they also say the same things over and over, which can get frustrating when you're tapping around and touch them by accident.

Graphics/Cinematics: Has an anime style to it, with chibi 2D illustrated cartoon characters. They are seen as 2D when speaking on the top screen, and 3D when on the bottom touch screen when you're looking around. The environments are great, they blend in well with the characters.

Interface: I was rather happy with the simple and clean interface. The menus were easy to navigate through and made sense but sometimes there were too many option screens which can get tedious. I think a storybook orientation like that of Hotel Dusk and Brain Age would have worked well with this game, especially since you're a detective, and it can mimic you holding a notebook.

Sound/Audio/Voice Acting: No voice acting, but the music is very upbeat, it matches the style of the game.

Gameplay/Controls: Stylus with the option of using the d-pad, I find the d-pad to be better just because sometimes it registers better, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having a touch screen.

Replay value: None, I don't think I'll be trying to play this one again any time soon...

Learning Curve: Easy

+ Easy Interface
+ Great anime visuals (Quirky, interesting characters, nice looking environments)

- Character talking on top screen while they're talking on bottom
- Better to use the D-pad in some cases
- You end up tapping the touch screen blindly in an attempt to move the story along
- Other character dialogue gets irritating after a while

Score: 4.5/10 [edit: I looked over my post again and realized that this game deserves a lot lower]

A screencap of the gameplay from the official website

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