Mystery Stories (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 10.08.2009 1

Review for Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS

When the Nintendo DS launched, showing off just how well its touch-screen technology worked, one of the first genres people were crying out for was that of the PC point-and-click adventure, since the tactile lower screen of the DS accurately replicated the movement of a computer mouse. What people did not realise is that another popular style of game from home computers would work wonders as well - the 'seek and find' genre. Nintendo helped to make these types of games popular with its support for Big Fish Games' Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir and now the floodgates have opened. How does cerasus.media's Mystery Stories hold up against other decent DS releases, though?

As with its genre stablemates, Mystery Stories already has an established fanbase from various PC releases such as last year's release Mystery Stories: Berlin Nights and its predecessor Island of Hope. As far as titles of the 'hidden object' ilk go, this series has attempted to develop the basic core concept further with each release, whilst also adding more to pad out the experience in general. Developer cerasus.media has attempted to transfer this onto the dual-screen format - however, Mystery Stories DS somehow lacks the charm of its PC brethren and falls short of Mystery Case Files due to an average storyline, constant revisiting of the same levels and a poor choice of items that are almost unrecognisable at times.

The story follows a young female journalist who stumbles across a Mayan artifact whilst on holiday. Upon taking it to an expert in the field of ancient treasures, they promptly disappear. Throw in some rudimentary romance and you are set up for a long, tiresome ride that is illustrated by poor, almost cardboard cut-out-like, portraits and accompanied by very eclectic music indeed that proves to be rather offensive on the ears after a short time. Thankfully, though, with these types of game you can overlook a weak storyline if the gameplay is up to scratch and Mystery Stories does offer the same enjoyable style of trying to find everyday objects that have been cleverly merged into various different locations. There is even an array of alternative styles included, such as having to identify objects based solely on sounds, or scanning a dark room with a torch to uncover the required items. This certainly makes a nice change from merely being given a list of item names and then scouring a site for them all within the allotted time.

Screenshot for Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS

Unfortunately the visuals appear to have not been tweaked to suit the small screen of the DS, leading to areas being too cluttered. Additionally the actual graphics themselves are below par, with too many dark colours leading to certain objects being almost impossible to identify without randomly tapping on the screen (which incurs a time penalty if done too much). There are even times where you definitely think you have spotted the hidden object, but it actually takes a few taps to get the game to acknowledge your action. On top of this, gamers must regularly head back to the same areas to look for many of the same items they have already searched for (particular objects appear far more often than others, for some unusual reason) and they are generally not even items related to the story itself.

If you can get past the disappointing drawbacks, Mystery Stories is somewhat fun in places and the whole 'seek and find' mechanic continues to be as enjoyable as always. With several other choices in this genre that serve up a far better experience on the whole, though, it proves to be quite difficult to really recommend this above something like Mystery Case Files or the impending release of Cate West: The Vanishing Files.

Screenshot for Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

The PC versions of Mystery Stories may have improved with time, but this DS edition is definitely a step backwards, with some issues cropping up that simply should not be arising on the platform four years into its existence. Patient gamers may find its core gameplay enjoyable, but Mystery Case Files is a far better option.

Developer

Avanquest Software

Publisher

Avanquest

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

Comments

It's a shame as I quite like these sort of games. Hopefully the strong UK sales of this, though, will give cerasus.media the chance to make an improved sequel...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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