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iPad App Video Review: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

by Andrew Koziara

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is an absolutely amazing new release from Capcom. It was originally released just over a year ago as a Nintendo DS title, and finally made its way to iOS. The concept is highly original, the puzzle mechanics are clever, the art style is colorful and unique with super smooth character animations, I could go on and on. This title may not appeal to every gamer for various reasons, but I'm sure you, yes you specifically reader and/or viewer, will love this game.

You play as the ghost of a recently deceased man. He wakes up in a junkyard with no memory of his life and witnesses his killer hold an unknown girl at gunpoint. He quickly learns that he isn't just any random dead person. He has special Ghost Trick powers, which allow him to possess and tamper with inanimate objects, talk to other dead spirits, and time travel to four minutes before any persons death in an attempt to alter their unfortunate fate. Of course, this is all explained to you by a possessed desk lamp who knows much more than he's letting on.

The game is extremely text heavy with no voiceovers, and you'll spend more time reading dialogue than anything else. The only games I could think of while playing this was the excellent Phoenix Wright, also based on a DS series. I wasn't surprised to learn then that this game was directed by Shu Takumi, the same man responsible for Ace Attorney and the director of the upcoming Ace Attorney/Professor Layton crossover game due out this year! Sorry for that fan-boy side tangent. Anyway…

Like Ace Attorney, the focus is on the characters above all else. The puzzle gameplay is also very well done, however. You often need to have good timing as you jump between different objects, manipulating them in crazy Rube-Goldbergian ways. Your main goal is simply to find out exactly who you were in life and why you were assassinated. You travel between different parts of the city through phone lines as you protect various different people and gather clues. The game is very linear, but that's to be expected from something so plot focused.

This game just oozes style from every pore. The art is unlike anything else and the film noire inspired music is simply excellent, completely memorable while setting the perfect tone. The iOS Universal game is billed as free, but you only get the first two chapters for free. This is a very different game, so I'm sure Capcom just wanted to let people sample it before charging them. You can purchase the next three chapter packs individually for five dollars apiece, or you can buy them all for only ten dollars. ten to fifteen dollars is still far cheaper than the thirty dollar price tag of the DS, and the game is more than worth it. you might not be into this game if you're a more action oriented gamer, but everyone should try out the initial free chapters just to see how they feel. Who knows? You might be surprised. I'm willing to bet you'll all end up just as hooked as I am.

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