Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (2012)

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a cute little trick of a game with a fast pace and a charming story. I call it a “trick” because it stylishly disguises its actually fundamentally traditional point-and-click gameplay by way of its attractive visual style, which gives the impression of being a classic 2D action game, and a few features such as freezing time.

This game gets by on the strength of its plot and characters, both of which are first rate. It truly feels like a story someone wanted to tell, and a labour of love. Every character has life and feels unique and real. There is a central mystery at the heart of the story that continues to grow in scope and complexity, and continues to develop in satisfying ways. It keeps one hooked like an old fashioned serial.

The story begins with your character’s death. You quickly learn that the dead have special powers with which they can go back in time and save others recently departed. In the one night that your character will have in this world before he moves on to the next, he will hop from death to death, undoing them in the hope of learning his own identity and how and why he died this night. His story becomes tied in with the stories of others, and a bigger picture slowly emerges through many many twists and turns. The story rushes at breakneck speed, and is a lot of fun all the way through. It ends at just about the right time to keep us enchanted all the while, such that we did not even notice that the gameplay was not actually as innovative as it seemed (maybe just a little bit shorter would have helped with this).

Strongly recommended to adventure game fans. A gem.

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