999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors was without question my favorite game of 2010. The sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, was pretty great as well, but the original was simply without equal. I recommend it to anyone I can, holding it as an example of videogame storytelling done right.
Today, developer Spike-Chunsoft released an iOS port for Japan. I'm typically not against ports of DS adventure games to iOS -- touch-only controls are quite appropriate for the genre -- but I absolutely cannot recommend this version. Sure, the quality of the art and music were buffed, and there's now a flowchart like in Virtue's Last Reward so you don't have to restart from the beginning every time you clear a story branch. Oh, and the escape-the-room segments have been removed.
That's right. The actual gameplay was completely excised.
The escape sections didn't just offer a break from the text, they were a crucial element in the overall narrative. The impact of the story is lessened without any real interaction. Most of all, the amazing twist climax is completely ruined if you aren't in a certain frame of mind, which is only possible if you've constantly been engaged in puzzle solving across two screens.
There's no word on whether 999 will appear on Western App Stores, but if it does, stay far away. The original was a shining example of using the DS' unique features to craft an unforgettable experience. This neutered version simply doesn't deserve your time or money.
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9:00 PM on 12.05.2014