Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Cover
Platforms Nintend DS, iOS
Genre Deadly point and click
Score 8  Clock score of 8
Buy from Amazon

I've been anticipating Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective for a while now. As a big fan (but totally burned out) of the Ace Attorney series, I was excited for Phoenix Wright's creator's next vision. It's an odd one, that's for sure, but holds on to the humor, great cast of characters, and overwhelming charm that made the Ace Attorney series so great.

In Ghost Trick, you unsurprisingly play as a ghost. The idea is you can manipulate objects from the ghostly dimension to save people's lives and ultimately, find out who you are and why you were killed. The Phoenix Wright-like mystery is present throughout the game and many of the questions aren't answered until the last action is taken, but it's a fun and original ride all the way there.

Phantom Detective shouldn't be a game that can be explained easily, but its first half-hour managed to do a pretty bang-up job. Check that out for an early walkthrough of all the concepts and in-depth gameplay elements the game explains to you quickly and efficiently.


Gameplay: 7

Ghost Trick isn't exactly a fast-paced adventure, but its original gameplay will put this very far out of your mind. Most of the game is spent jumping from object to object in the ghost world, "tricking" them into moving to interact with the scene on-hand or create a longer object path. It's hard to explain, so I'd recommend reading through my half-hour review of the game for more information.

Satisfaction from seeing your series of tricks come to fruition is high, and the second controllable characters throws an awesome wrench into everything. Beyond traveling objects in the ghost world and tricking them in real-time, there's no other gameplay. It's definitely deeper than Phoenix Wright, but actions are still surrounded by a ton of dialog, I wouldn't have minded a bit more fluid gameplay at times.

Fun Factor: 8

Ghost Trick Phantom Detective Hourglass Before DeathI read some reviews that complained the game contained a lot of trial and error and that the checkpoints were placed too far apart; I personally never had problems with this. The solutions could be obscure, but they usually made sense slowly in your mind as pieces came together. There was really only one section in the game where I was stuck, and that wasn't even during one of the timed sequences.

Solving the puzzles is very rewarding, but there can be a bit more unwarranted hand holding than I liked at times. Yes, this is kind of a complicated gameplay structure, but if you keep repeating obvious things we will get annoyed. Most of the time though, the game leaves you to your time-frozen puzzles but you can optionally talk to your friends who will undoubtedly drop a tip.

Things were feeling a bit stale in the middle until they introduced a second time-bending companion; then I started to really see the potential this series has to offer and I'm honestly looking forward to future sequels for them to explore this more.

Graphics and Sound: 9

I absolutely love the graphics and animations in this game. Characters are carefully designed 3D objects in a 2D world, and all their movements are carefully directed. There's an excellent sense of realism in this world, and could only be improved upon if you could directly control the characters. The great design in the animations mean a lot can be said without words, and a particular action late in the game almost had me tearing up.

The music is good, the Ace Attorney soundtrack has always been great so I didn't expect anything less. There isn't any voice acting but there are times where characters use speech bubbles to talk instead of heads-up text that I feel would have been appropriate times to employ some actual actors.

Story: 8

Ghost Trick Phantom Detective art MissileAs complicated as the gameplay is, the story and plot structure is what really enables it. The game takes place in just one night... but yet it doesn't. Time travel is a regular thing and characters are constantly experiencing amnesia for different reasons. It's held together pretty well with a funny cast and tightly scripted plot.

While the story is wholly originally, the characters feel like they were originally a bunch of popular Phoenix Wright icons. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can be slightly distracting at times.

Overall: 8

A much brisker affair than your typical Phoenix Wright adventure, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is one of those memorable, original games that only comes around every so often. There can be quite a bit of exposition at times, but the cast of characters is lovable and ultimately, the conclusion is hugely satisfying.


Ghost Trick Phantom Detective art Lynne Sissel