Myst (Nintendo DS) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 19.12.2007

The original PC version of Myst, which was a port from the Macintosh, launched way back in 1993, and went on to become the best selling PC game of the decade until the Sims was released in 2000. The game has since gone on to spawn a massive franchise consisting of a slew of sequels, spin-offs, remakes, comic books, novels and even an MMO in the form of Myst Online: Uru Live. The latest installment in the series is a remake of the original title for the Nintendo DS, which promises “all new source code” a new Age to play through, and more. But is it worth your time and/or money? Read on to find out.

Despite being more than fourteen years old, Myst still retains an extensive cult following thanks to its unique gameplay and evocative atmosphere. There is little doubt that the game inspired a whole genre of first-person adventure titles for years to come. But despite all that, it remains very much a love-hate affair, particularly now that it has been ported to the Nintendo DS. This is ultimately due to the fact that the game’s biggest draw also serves to be its biggest drawback. You see, Myst is so unique, that many people just don’t know how to approach it, and as a result a lot of people never will. Indeed, many of those who do manage to start the game will never finish it, at least not without resorting to the use of a walkthrough.

Anyway, let’s take a step back and start at the beginning. Myst begins with a brief prologue which explains that an unnamed stranger (you) has come across a book titled ‘Myst’. After reading the book and laying his hand on the final page, the stranger is whisked away to a world that seems eerily reminiscent of the descriptions in the book itself. It is here, with no instructions and very little back-story, that the player is set loose to explore the mysterious world of Myst. After a while you will discover a vague letter, which provides your first hint about what has happened and what you should do next. Thus a complex chain of events begins which will gradually unveil the game’s mysteries as well as provide insight into the intricate universe that Cyan Worlds has created.

Screenshot for Myst on Nintendo DS

The game itself is interesting because it is technically just a series of (mostly) static images, rather than a fully functional 2D or 2D world. Interaction is handled exclusively via the touch screen and stylus, but, whilst this should have been a perfect way to move a point-and-click adventure to the system, there are some problems. Firstly, when exploring new areas it is crucial to examine every on-screen object for clues. In the original game this was a lot easier thanks to a dynamic cursor, which would change according to the objects it was hovering over. Obviously this is not possible on the DS, which results in a fair amount of random, trial-and-error clicking. Furthermore, certain elements of the game seem to have a problem with detecting touch-screen input on the first attempt, making for a rather disjointed experience.

Screenshot for Myst on Nintendo DS

It is worth noting that Myst is really more of an ‘experience’ than it is a traditional video game. Players are expected to constantly be on the lookout for clues that not only appear on the screen, but that also pop out of the speakers. The game is full of visual hints as well as audio-based clues; unfortunately both of these are harder to make use of in the DS version than its counterparts. Despite featuring new-and-improved sound effects and video clips, the overall audio and graphical quality of the title can leave much to be desired at times. For example, whilst the game’s environments are extremely varied and often intriguing, they do little to make you forget that you’re ultimately looking at fourteen year old images squished onto a smaller screen then they were originally designed for. The game does attempt to rectify this by offering a magnifying option that zooms in the current image and displays it on the top screen, but the result is generally a blurry mess that really isn’t of much use to anyone.

Similarly, whilst most of the audio is a great source of atmosphere, some of it just sounds harsh and unrefined, even when using headphones. This wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the fact that certain puzzles rely entirely on audio-based cues and clues. A particularly irritating example is an early encounter with two of the few other 'inhabitants' of the Myst universe who ask you to help them during a brief video clip. That is to say, they would ask you to help them, if you could understand what the heck they were saying. Of course, this particular example has been designed with a lack of clarity in mind, but surely it has been taken too far if the result is a player that has no idea what they’re supposed to be doing? When you combine these issues with the resounding emphasis that Myst places on mind-bendingly difficult puzzles, you end up with an already difficult game being made unnecessarily less accessible.

Screenshot for Myst on Nintendo DS

All in all, even with the additional Age to play through – Rime from realMyst – the Nintendo DS version of Myst is arguably one of the worst ways to introduce yourself to the franchise. Whilst the DS is a better home for the game than the Playstation Portable (thanks in no small part to the non-wide touch screen), Myst just doesn’t feel right on a handheld. Note-taking is an essential part of solving puzzles, but the inbuilt functionality for keeping notes is fundamentally flawed. It deletes data after you turn the power off, and there are no Phantom Hourglass-esque scrawling opportunities, only a difficult to use mini-keyboard. As such, you’re almost certain to need a pen and paper at your disposal whilst playing, which is probably going to result in the game’s portability being limited, and so you might as well stick with the original PC version or even one of its remakes such as the Masterpiece Edition or realMyst.

Screenshot for Myst on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


At its core, Myst is a wonderful chance to enter a world of mystery and intrigue, which has been meticulously filled out with an extensive history by its creators. The large amount of in-game text, challenging puzzles, and a requirement for note-taking makes the overall experience feel more like reading an interactive novel than playing a video game. For these reasons alone it is extremely difficult to recommend Myst to a particular group of people. You’ll either love it or you’ll find it mind-numbingly boring. Unfortunately, playing the DS version is more likely to result in you falling into the second category thanks to a series of problems and oversights that make the game even less accessible then it was back in the nineties.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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