iPhone App Video Review: Touch Detective 2 1/2

by Andrew Koziara

Touch Detective 2 1/2 is the port of a Nintendo DS game which was a sequel to the original Touch Detective, which was ported in August of last year, all from developer BeeWorks Games. This title was originally released in 2007. This series follows the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective style of adventure puzzle solving.

It focuses on charming, witty, and humorous characters and writing, lots of dialogue and reading, and very abstract or nonsensical puzzles. Okay, that last one only really applies to Touch Detective, but regardless, this is a great, albeit frustrating, game.

You play as Mackenzie, a quirky young detective. The world she occupies is one of the strange and bizarre. She's surrounded by her pet mushroom Funghi, her possibly undead butler Cromwell, as well as her two ridiculous friends and all the random townsfolk, including zombies, anthropomorphic animals, and all other kinds of eccentrics. The kind of cases you'll be solving include finding stolen dreams or getting back stolen pink noodles just in time for the super serious big deal annual noodle festival. The writing is by far the best aspect of the game, and hearing Mackenzie's inner thoughts and reactions to her surroundings makes for some good laughs. Unfortunately, the game is not quite as sharp when it comes to gameplay.

Gameplay involves exploring various areas of the town, tapping on just about everything and talking to everyone in order to get the items that will allow you to progress. Often times, items must be combined or given to certain people, and it can be hard to figure out just what to do, which often devolves into a massive trial and error sessions where you try every item with everyone. It's easy to miss something here or there, which can be very confusing and frustrating. It's not quite as bad as I'm making it sound, but still. It generally seems to be an improvement on the previous game though. There are less random things to tap on, making the game a bit less tedious, and it didn't seem quite as clunky or buggy.

The bold lined, cartoon art style is very pleasing to the eye, and the town and its inhabitants are very colorful, both literally and metaphorically. The music is top notch as well, as it always seems to be in this kind of game. As I said, if you like charming and witty dialogue heavy puzzle adventures like Phoenix Wright and Ghost Trick, you'll love this title as well. It isn't quite as good as those due to the random and confusing puzzles, but it offers the same general experience. The pricing for the game is set up just like the previous version, and just like Ghost Trick, offering the first entire chapter and a half completely for free, which is at least a couple hours of gameplay alone. The next three chapter packs are available for four dollars apiece, or for the discounted bundle of nine dollars. It's still cheaper than the DS version, offers several hours of gameplay, and you get a nice long demo period to decide if the game is for you. This is why I recommend that everyone check this one out. Free is free, after all.

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