Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Big Fish Games returns to the Mystery Case Files series by bringing the find-the-hidden-objects formula to Nintendo's DS, letting you tap your way to uncovering secret clues in interactive touch-screen scenes.

The formula throughout the six existing games has been ported over in its entirety - you're given a painted picture with a whole bunch of objects dotted about throughout the scene and you're given a number of items to point out to progress through the main story. Think "Where's Wally" (Waldo), but instead of finding the cheerful lad and his friends you'll be looking for essential, and sometimes totally random, objects - from a lizard to a slice of celery, glasses to a set of dentures.

It isn't quite as simple as it sounds as the later objects are carefully hidden, camouflaged and even subtly outlined in other bits and pieces. Initially it'd be looking for a ball, a toy, something along those lines and it'd just be there - pretty obvious - but in the later levels you'd have some ridiculously difficult tasks like finding a train. An hour later and voila, it's taken the shape of a cloud, or a crack in a wooden plane. Often looking for a "car" or something that'd you'd naturally expect to be huge and clear will be shrunk as tiny as possible and hidden away in the least likely place. It can be that tough. Simply tap on an item and it's stripped off an on-screen list of 7 or 8 things to hunt out. Find the minimum amount and you'll progress to a tougher stage and continue through the loosely woven-together plot.

Much like the more recent MCF titles there's a loose story to follow, this time helping find a nutty millionaire who goes by the name Phil T. Rich, and as you wander around his estate there'll be various suspects to unravel and each in turn open up new scenes to investigate. Every area contains around about 30 items or so to tap out, and a minimum amount to find to proceed to the next suspect. Scroll about using the d-pad or the stylus, the top screen will contain your inventory and you're running through the list to find as many as possible. Fortunately for those excruciatingly tricky ones the included hint system can help you unravel 4 or 5 items that are near impossible to find.

Screenshot for Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

With the DS version Big Fish Games have explored a few new innovations related to specific items you'll pick up - a flash light and X-ray for example - open up new mechanics for later areas, such as searching in the dark with your stylus. Some environmental puzzles offer some variation, for example using a straw to blow out a fireplace, or goggles to hunt for items in a tank of water. In some you'll need to poke and prod a little more to find what you're looking for, and although it's not groundbreaking in design it's a more inventive approach to randomly eating away the DS touch screen with a stylus. Between the story mode levels are some very basic, but different, touch games to complete - such as solving a jigsaw puzzle, spot the difference and a series of neat drawing-based problem solving exercises. Although these make a neat distraction between the puzzle levels, they're not particularly interesting for the most part, feeling more like touch-screen experiments and "plot devices" than significant mini-games.

To compliment the single player story there are also randomly-generated quick puzzles to generate and play through on the bog, or on a trip - a useful addition for the game's portable nature. Up to four players can also go at it wirelessly - and this is one of those times where human competition is by far more exciting, and challenging.

Screenshot for Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The gameplay has seen the most variation in the DS version, whilst keeping the core Mystery Case formula well intact. It may not win gameplay award of the year, but it's serves a good few hours in the story mode and random challenges when you're in need of a quick slice of puzzle action. It's a shame the touch puzzles seem more like quick experiments than anything significant, but do offer a welcome alternative to a string of non-stop searching.

Graphics

Visually, like the gameplay, it's not groundbreaking, but it doesn't need to be. The environments are well presented - a series of simple and clean artwork that fits in well with the DS's screens and the story's themes/style. Extra marks for clever design in hiding objects in some completely bizarre and mind numbing ways.

Sound

Very difficult to comment on the sound, it's appropriate for the sense of mystery and exploration and tied together with a few jingles and sound effects. Not too bad, just what you'd expect from Mystery Case Files.

Value

A very subjective one - how long MillionHeir will last depends on your lust for search puzzles, and if you'll be playing with other Mystery Case-nuts. There's enough content in solo, and quick play to offer a lot of challenge and a harder mode for the super-keen. We'd say as much as a regular puzzler can offer.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

A good effort on Nintendo's DS - especially with the inclusion of wireless multiplayer and quick puzzles. If a virtual game of finding objects in a 2D scene floats your boat, then Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir is by far the most suitable game for you, but if you're looking for something a little bit more exciting then perhaps look elsewhere.

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13.04.2009

4

3421

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Developer

Big Fish

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (2 Votes)

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

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Definitely a fair score for a really fun little game! It's not majorly in-depth or anything, but my wife and I enjoyed playing through this together, challenging each other to see who could find items the fastest Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Loving the amount of detective games appearing on DS, this looks like another winner

It sounds quite fun actually, though different than I expected. Great stuff J. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm pleased it's done so well in the US and Europe. I wonder if Nintendo will eventually give it a whirl in Japan as well?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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