Mystery Detective 2 (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 17.11.2007 9

Last year we saw little wannabe detective Mackenzie tackle various different wacky cases in the hope of becoming a fully-fledged PI and now she is back, badge in-hand and ready to solve even more mysteries. But is this sequel as enjoyable as the first game or is this just a case of 'more of the same'? With high quality titles like Hotel Dusk and Phoenix Wright already showing how adventure games should be done, Mystery Detective definitely has a battle on its hands.

The Beeworks-developed Mystery Detective stands out from the crowd thanks to its dark, Nightmare Before Christmas-style visual theme and its array of quirky characters that bring a wealth of humour to the adventure. There is a pleasing mix of 2D and simplistic 3D throughout and moody visuals that give the game a great sense of atmosphere. Going hand-in-hand with the graphical approach is the soundtrack, which brings back all the tracks from the first game and mixes in several new ones that are both mystifying and strangely upbeat, depending on the particular scenario. The game flits about from dark themes to light-hearted quirkiness quite regularly and it is definitely pleasing that the accompanying music is suitably fitting.

Screenshot for Mystery Detective 2 on Nintendo DS

The basis of the gameplay revolves guiding Mackenzie, and her tiny mushroom pet ‘Funghi’, around numerous locations touching things, with the adventure being fully stylus-driven (although traditional d-pad input is an option for those that really feel like taking a step backwards) and the interface extremely simple to navigate. So straight away you can simply dive right in without any hassle at all, making the game accessible to everyone. Unlike many PC point-and-click games, the second Mystery Detective focuses more on speaking to the various characters found in each chapter, collecting clues and unravelling the mystery at hand, as opposed to gaining about a hundred different items and having to go through every permutation of item-joined-with-item and then said-item-used-with-pieces-of-scenery-or-people.

This leads to the game being more user-friendly throughout, rather than being a very random experience like the first game. There has definitely been more logic applied to the puzzles this time round and you can always get useful pieces of guidance and information from certain characters during a case, if you do get stuck. However, sadly the annoyance of not being able to progress until one particular item has been touched or a small, sometimes meaningless conversation thread has been followed still remains. Luckily this issue does not crop up on a regular basis or else the whole game would be ruined, and instead only occurs on the same frequency as some of the best PC adventure games -- in other words, infrequently.

Screenshot for Mystery Detective 2 on Nintendo DS

Additionally, this Mystery Detective sequel triumphs over its predecessor in the expansion of the world in general, with Mackenzie able to now traverse to extra locations such as a haunted mansion, local forest and even a scenario that takes places solely on a train. And whilst this does bring in a welcome dose of variety, thankfully, though, not all locations are available in each and every case or else it would lead to potential aimless trekking around all over the place, which would drag down the enjoyment factor considerably. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, only a select few places can be visited in most cases. Basically, the majority of the issues people had with the first adventure have practically all been rectified this time round, making it an essential purchase for those who even remotely enjoyed the first game.

Screenshot for Mystery Detective 2 on Nintendo DS

Thankfully, as well, Mystery Detective's successor is significantly longer than the first game and definitely gives more value for money. It probably weighs in at around the 10-15 hour mark when completing all five main cases and then working your way through the various extra fun little cases that are on offer and aiming to collect everything possible to unlock the game 100%. As for the actual difficulty of the game, it is certainly more in-depth than the first game, and is far more logical in the way puzzles are solved. Therefore, veteran adventure gamers may find this easier than MD, but the challenge is still reassuringly high.

Screenshot for Mystery Detective 2 on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Whilst Mystery Detective had its critics, it still proved to be an engaging adventure. Its sequel, though, takes the original formula and tweaks it enough to make this far superior to its predecessor. Whilst it may lack the depth of Phoenix Wright, this light-hearted affair certainly does leave a pleasant taste in your gaming mouth...

Developer

Beeworks

Publisher

Atlus

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date TBA   

Comments

Awesome review! It's very detailed and precise to note the improvements.
I'm about to beat Touch Detective (the first one), and I'm loving the style, the music, and I've been stuck like three times only, everything is very smooth and logical. I'm sure I'm going to like this one.

----
http://blogs.ign.com/charwiimario
Top games:
5-The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
4-Super Mario Galaxy
3-Eternal Darkness
2-Super Mario Bros 3
1-Super Mario Bros

Thanks charwiimario :Smilie This game was meant to be out in Europe last Friday (16th, alongside Mario Galaxy), but it was delayed until early 2008 at the last minute, according to 505 Games.

I'm really hoping Beeworks does a Mystery Detective 33 1/3...(MD

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

The delay makes sense, I guess, with all the hype other games are getting, this title could get lost in the sea of upcoming and newly released games. In the US it has sold around 15,000 in three weeks,approximately, which I imagine isn't very good.
I agree, an MD

----
http://blogs.ign.com/charwiimario
Top games:
5-The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
4-Super Mario Galaxy
3-Eternal Darkness
2-Super Mario Bros 3
1-Super Mario Bros

Definitely, I agree - the first game was crushed here and similarly its sequel would no doubt have been ignored as well pre-Christmas. Hopefully it'll get a bit more attention this time round...

I really like the humour in it and the overall quirky style. It has potential to expand, I'm sure. I wonder if Beeworks is considering something for Wii as well?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Nice review Adam. I never fully played the first (it's still in my 'to play' queue, I got through the tutorial and then never went back for some reason), but this sounds good. :Smilie

Cheers Mike. I think opinion is pretty much split with the first game. I loved it, but could definitely see its flaws. Sadly a lot of other just couldn't get past those flaws...However, some websites reviewed it in such a strange way, almost as if they'd never played a proper adventure game before, bemoaning the fact they had to use items in unusual ways at times :sarcy:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I think this is finally out in Europe now...right? Anyone eventually picked this up? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
super mario (guest) 09.09.2011#8

can I play this one first or I shuold start with its precessor?

You can definitely play it first. Having played both games, it doesn't really matter which order you play them in.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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