Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 31.08.2011

Review for Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 reviewed the first Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS back in 2009 and struggled to recommend it to fans of the hidden object genre due to its poor transition from PC to Nintendo DS, instead encouraging gamers to stick with the Nintendo-published Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir from Big Fish Games. Now and Avanquest UK are back with Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits, is the outlook better, or might DS' quality hidden object catalogue and Wii’s upcoming Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident scupper its chances yet again?

Ancient Spirits: Columbus’ Legacy was launched on the Nintendo DS in certain territories back in September 2010, a scaled-down port of a PC hidden object adventure. Following a US release as Mystery Quest: Curse of the Ancient Spirits, Avanquest UK has brought the DS version to Europe under the name of Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits in an attempt to cash-in on the massive success that the first DS Mystery Stories had across this continent. Other European countries received it last year under the name Mystery of Columbus. Unfortunately, though, the issues with the translation from PC to DS have not been remedied during the wait.

The tale behind Curse of the Ancient Spirits is in no way related to that of its DS precursor, instead focusing on what the publisher describes as ”A mysterious ghost story, a gripping thriller, a historical adventure.” Basically that is sheer hyperbole, since the tale is neither gripping nor a thriller, and the only mystery is related to who would actually be drawn in by the subpar narrative that accompanies the ‘action‘ of Mystery Stories. The reason for ‘action’ being in inverted commas is due to the near lack of anything substantial. In the role of Virginia MacNara, trying to uncover who killed her father, players are faced with screens full of directional arrows that must be tapped on to reach one of the 42 locations around the region you are currently traversing, delving into a seemingly endless supply of ‘Seek-and-Find’ scenarios (there are in fact over 50 levels, with more than 1,000 hidden objects to find along the way).

Hidden object puzzles come in the standard format, with a list on-screen of what needs to be found, yet the full list is not initially shown due to screen size restrictions, and only those currently on the visible part of the list can be uncovered by tapping on the relevant item around the vicinity. This means that scrolling around a scene numerous times is required as more objects are found and more of the list is revealed. Other than a mere list, players can also be faced with a set of images instead of words, making it even easier to spot the required objects.

There are twelve mini-games that litter the main Seek-and-Find gameplay in an attempt to add a bit more interest to proceedings, although they are not particularly memorable and can all be skipped if they prove to be too difficult, although the majority are simple efforts that should not need too much brain power. There are also scenes where Virginia will be faced with either darkness or a fuzzy snowstorm instead of the usual static scenery image, but even less strain needs to be put on the old gray matter here. In circumstances such as these, all it takes to bypass the problem is to turn on the torch or wear a special pair of goggles, and then it is back to the main meat of Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits. Basically, as with its predecessor, this second DS entry into the Mystery Stories franchise is almost as disappointing as the first. It is not completely without merit, and will be of moderate interest to long-term fans of these style of games, yet with so many better offerings on DS nowadays, it is hard to recommend this.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


The first Mystery Stories was rather disappointing overall, not living up to the standards of previous PC entries. Sadly, this follow-up is only marginally better, yet scores lower due to other developers bringing out far better hidden object games on DS. Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits simply cannot match others on the DS scene nowadays.


Avanquest Software







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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


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