Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Review: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

2:00 PM on 01.11.2011 // Nick Chester

Published on 1/11/11

Murder mysteries are a dime a dozen, but it’s not every day the gumshoe is investigating his own death from beyond the grave. Then again, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective -- the latest game by Ace Attorney creator Shu Takumi -- isn’t your everyday game.

For a game about death, Ghost Trick is full of life, with a unique cast of characters, genuinely sharp writing, and fresh gameplay. It’s a great way for Capcom to kick off the new year, and an instant classic that’s bound to be a cult favorite.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (Nintendo DS)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: January 11, 2011
Price: $29.99

Start up Ghost Trick and you’re immediately dead. Shot. Game over, right? Not quite. You’ll come to, but surprise (!), you’re dead, and along with your life went your memory. With no recollection of who you are or who planted a slug in you, you’re compelled to solve your own mystery.

In your death, you’re faced with a good news/bad news situation. “Good,” it turns out you’re blessed with paranormal powers which give you the ability to possess and manipulate objects in the real world. The bad? Well, you’ve got a short amount of time to solve your mystery, because when the sun rises, you’ll disappear completely. Ghost Trick is broken up into chapters, different scenarios in which Sissel (that’s you, the dead guy with the funky hairdo and fancy red suit) must use his ghostly powers to not only piece together puzzles, but even change fates.

In the game’s ghost mode, time stops, and you’re able to move your spirit -- a glowing, blue flame -- into different objects scattered about the environment. Sometimes you’ll have to activate an object, like turning on a light or moving a cart, to catch the attention of folks in the real world or manipulate their actions. Other times you’ll just use them as vessels, moving from one object to another in an attempt to reach a destination or get closer to conversations that may provide clues.

The bulk of the game’s challenge and puzzles, however, come from using your ghost tricks on the newly deceased. By doing so, you’ll not only be able to communicate with the recently passed, but you’ll be able to rewind time to four minutes prior to their death. This gives you the chance to change their fate by using your ghost tricks, sort of a reverse Final Destination situation, if you will. With only four minutes to change the course of history and save a life, you’ll have to quickly hop around and manipulate objects to influence the outcome of a scenario. It’s a mixture of clever thinking, trial and error, and timing the manipulation of multiple objects concurrently that leads to success.

It’s a game of environmental puzzles, sort of like the board game "Mouse Trap," with a clear end goal in every situation. The way the objects and the characters in the game world react to your ghost tricks is relentlessly clever, full of “ah-ha!” moments and satisfying outcomes. Entering the ghost world, you’ll be presented with a handful of haunt-able objects, clearly marked in the game world; there’s very little excess here, so it never gets overly complicated. That said, the game’s chapters and scenarios can feel a bit linear -- there’s basically one path to you goal in every situation, with not much wiggle room for creativity on the player’s part.

As direct as some of the puzzles can be, that doesn’t mean they’re not a joy to suss out, and I still wanted to work them through in order to access the next chain of events and move the story forward. Ghost Trick is not a game that can easily be put down, thanks in part to its smart writing, witty dialogue, and a cast of characters that you’re sure not to forget. It’s a world full of style, color, and personality, one that (for better or for worse) will inspire cosplayers for years to come.

Despite its linearity, Ghost Trick still is going to provide you with anywhere between eight and ten hours of gameplay and story, each hour more compelling than the last as the mysteries unfold. It's a completely fresh experience on Nintendo’s handheld, or anywhere else for that matter, and certainly not one you’ll want to skip. 

Photo Gallery: (5 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective - Reviewed by Nick Chester
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Nick Chester, Former Editor-in-Chief (2011)
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Editor-in-Chief @ nick at  more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 1

Thankful it's Over: Bioshock Infinite

Is Toei using Kamen Rider Ghost to address suicide in Japan?

Let's talk about Xenoblade Chronicles

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -