hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Review: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

2:00 PM on 01.11.2011 // Nick Chester

Murder mysterious 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 every day 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. Its a completely fresh experience on Nitnendo’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 moderators, 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.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Being an asshole, watching this Star Citizen debacle unfold and seeing Cloud Imperium's meltdown about the whole ordeal is incredibly entertaining. Even if the allegations ARE false, CI's official statement comes off as wonderfully bitter and petty.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Alright. Playing off of the Avatar question, why did you choose your username?
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I tried playing Deadly Premonition on Steam from my backlog today and it's a GODAWFUL pc port. I bought it forever ago but I requested a refund. If anything I don't want it in my library....
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
If you ever dipped a cookie in your coffee, I promise you're doing it right.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Why did you pick your avatar? What about you does it represent?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Wanna eat some meat ? [youtube][/youtube]
KyWii avatarKyWii
Why is it that Sundays always feel so lazy? I always tell myself I'm going to get things done and then...well....
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
So, I plan on using my GameStop Power-Up Rewards points (yes) to buy all the eventual P4DAN DLC. Even though the practices are very suspect. I am so not made of stone. Moreso blubber and Dr. Pepper.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Having a puppy and trying to play legend of grimrock 2 somewhere the puppy normally doesn't get to hang out is a futile effort.
gajknight avatargajknight
Shafts of light emanated from Robo Panda Z's eyes, illuminating the intricately engraved obelisks looming impossibly above him. A whispered voice spoke from the obelisk. Do you pay too much for your Internet? Comcast. Like you have a choice.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I miss Kill la Kill - I think mostly because it was so damn entertaining to have a bunch of people drawling, "Nuuuuuuuuudiiiiiiiist Beeeeeeeeeeeaaaach" at each other.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I took a homeopathic shower this morning. I used extra water.
Shinta avatarShinta
Shinta avatarShinta
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
It's 2am and I'm watching this emulator whiz play Xenia (360 emilator) on PC albeit glitchy This video is hilarious
Shinta avatarShinta
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The Undertale review section on its Steam page is hilarious! [img][/img]
n0signal avatarn0signal
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
A Nintendo rep gave this to me today because she likes talking to me. I do have lots of the Old AC eReader cards I guess I could put in it... [img][/img]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I'm still trying to figure out how to do it, but for the most part I like what I've seen of the new blog editor. My first blog post using it should go up tomorrow.
more quickposts


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!


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 -