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‘Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective’ Mobile Game Review

TechnologyTell

The fact that a game is great on a DS doesn’t mean its iOS port will be as impressive, or even playable. Some people yearn for Nintendo-sanctioned Mario Kart or Metroid to come to mobile, but that prospect sickens us. Some games just require buttons. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, though, is on the opposite end of the spectrum. It plays as though it was built from the ground up for iStuff.

You play as someone who has just been murdered and finds he’s got the power to shift his spirit among inanimate objects and rewind time. You use these powers to investigate your own past, preventing people from suffering awful fates while freaking out and stopping bad guys.

Shifting between the ghost dimension and reality, you figure out what stuff to manipulate, and in which order, to change fate and inch the story along. Clever, smarmy writing plays out in text bubbles, giving the game qualities of a visual novel.

The pricing model is high-end but fair. The first two chapters of the game are free, and the remaining three segments are available in $4.99 chunks. You can also buy the whole thing for $9.99. The full price places it on the pricey side of mobile game buys, but it justifies the price by delivering a quality experience. It’s at least as solid, if not better, than the DS version, which is going for $26 used.

That probably speaks more to how DS and Vita games are overpriced than it does that this game is a great deal. There’s not a heck of a lot of replayability to the proceedings, because the game can be dull once you’ve worked out its mysteries and are just going through the motions. Then again, there are worse ways to spend time with your iPhone than getting a second or third helping of one of the better handheld games on any device.

RATING: 8.5/10

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (Free to play, $10 for full game), available on iOS platforms, was published by Capcom. For this review, we played the game on an iPod Touch for two hours.

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