We need Mystery Case Files on 3DS!
After a slow start with the genre, the Nintendo DS was eventually inundated with Hidden Object and Match-3 puzzle titles, with some real classics and other rather disappointing efforts appearing over the years. Now it is the turn of the Nintendo 3DS, with a few examples already cropping up. The first 3D effort that Cubed3 has had the pleasure of exploring is a PC-to-3DS release, Murder on the Titanic (dropping the Inspector Magnusson part that accompanied the PC release).
Rewind to 1912, long before everyone owned a Nintendo 3DS and many a year prior to the craze of Hidden Object puzzle titles. Yes, just a few years back then, obviously! To mark the 100th anniversary of the infamous Titanic journey, Inspector Magnusson's Murder on the Titanic has been ported across to both Nintendo DS and its 3D-enabled sibling; except without Inspector Magnusson featuring in the title and a whole host of elements that made the PC game supremely enjoyable sadly missing from this portable edition.
Players take on the role of an assistant to globetrotter Professor Jacob Larsson, boarding what is meant to be a memorable voyage upon the venerable cruiser to New York. However, despite it indeed turning out to be one for the books, it is for all the wrong reasons. A gruesome murder has taken place deep in the bowels of the mighty vessel and at Captain Smith's behest Larsson is enlisted to solve the conundrum of who could possibly commit such a heinous crime. Thus begins the latest Hidden Object title to arrive on the Nintendo scene, this time complete with…well, no real 3D at all, to be honest, other than the main title and two small icons on the upper screen. In fact, most of the time the actual 3D light turns off completely, even during cut-scenes, making this basically the Nintendo DS game in disguise, merely playing at the correct ratio on the 3DS screens and costing an extra £5 for the privilege.
Sounds like a disaster, right? Well, not exactly as the content of the story is moderately interesting and ties together the fifty or so scenes depicting the luxurious liner, both inside and out, quite nicely. Unfortunately, there is no freedom of movement, with everything merely flowing from scene-to-scene and puzzle-to-puzzle automatically after completion of whatever task is currently at hand. There are sections filled with a plethora of carefully placed items to uncover and a long list to help with finding the missing pieces, plus a few interesting sliding tiles and block challenges, word jumbles, and even switch / trigger trials to keep the old grey matter working hard. With the PC version's 'Skip a Puzzle' function removed, for unknown reasons, it means getting stuck can cause major headaches as there is no way to progress until they are deciphered. Thankfully, the sense of satisfaction once a tough nut has been cracked is marvellous enough to keep frustration from taking over and spoiling proceedings completely.
Whilst Murder on the Titanic may not be the longest of titles (cynically thinking, perhaps this is why puzzles cannot be skipped in this iteration…), and sadly it features too many regurgitated Hidden Object layouts, the short ride is certainly fun (to a degree). With the core team from City Interactive departing to form its own group, chances of seeing superb puzzle adventures found on DS (Vampire Moon: Mystery of the Hidden Sun, Chronicles of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life, Crime Lab: Body of Evidence, Murder in Venice) head over to the 3DS for the moment are slim, so anyone hoping to get their fill of Hidden Object puzzlers will have to settle for this, but should not be too disappointed with Murder on the Titanic. However, the differences between the DS and 3DS versions are negligible, other than the higher cost of the latter. Developer Joindots may have the playing field to itself for a while, but hopefully that does not lead to complacency and its next effort is closer to its PC source material, taking advantage of the increased power of the 3DS.
This is standard fare at best, which works well enough on the 3DS, just as it did on DS, with simple touch-screen controls, plus a decent selection of hidden object scenes and conundrums to solve.
Visually stripped back considerably from the PC original, there is nothing here that could not be pulled off on the regular DS, yet the scenes are clean enough and serve their purpose.
The lack of voice acting is a missed opportunity, but the music included is sufficiently good to complement the story's mood.
The range of puzzles can be rather obtuse at times, thus extending the game in a somewhat false manner. Do not expect more than a few hours from this overall, but do expect to enjoy what there is of this experience.
Those hoping for the great heights of similar puzzle adventure games on the Nintendo DS will be disappointed, but although Murder on the Titanic falls short of DS classics such as Crime Lab: Body of Evidence and Chronicles of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life, it does prove to be one of the best in the genre to grace 3DS so far. The major downfall comes if comparing it to the PC original, since too many elements have been removed. Certainly one to approach with an open mind!
We need Mystery Case Files on 3DS!
Also, the core team from City Interactive now has formed another company, so could well be making 3DS games at some point
um Hate to be a hater but this game sounds kind of corny But I did enjoy the movie
um this game sounds kind of corny
Sounds like a watered-down Agatha Christie plot, to be honest. Slightly interested, but only as a rental after hearing how short this is!