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Which holiday game will you play the most?

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Game Profile
Atlus Software
GENRE: Adventure
October 24, 2006
 Written by Kris Rosado  on March 06, 2008

Review: One girl, her butler, her friends, and a fungus make up this very quirky detective DS title.

The game kicks off inside our hero/detective's room where she has become trapped and must use her sleuthing skills to get out. This is all basically the tutorial level to introduce us to Touch Detective's interesting gameplay. As the title suggests, Touch Detective is all about the DS's touch based interface. Using the stylus, the player will move Mackenzie by pointing on screen where they want her to go, much like PC adventure games such as Monkey Island, and tapping on characters and items enables the Mackenzie to investigate them.

After Mackenzie finally gets out of the room (or when the player finally learns the ropes of the game), we learn that Mackenzie wants to join the ranks of the Great Detective Society and in order to do that she must submit an investigation report on four cases.

To help her along her way to the top are her butler, Cromwell and Funghi. Cromwell is more than your average butler; he is a brilliant inventor and perhaps an immortal zombie. Funghi is no more normal as he is a talking mushroom? weird right?

But how can Mackenzie become a detective without a client? Luckily for her she has Penelope, a very rich, air-headed, accident prone girl who happens to be one of Mackenzie's friends. She is the character in which all four of Mackenzie's cases will evolve around.

What makes a good detective a good detective? How about a good rival? That is where Chloe comes into the mix. Even though Chloe is one of Mackenzie's friends, she is always trying to steal Mackenzie's thunder by solving the case first, even if it means completely disregarding the practice of finding evidence.

Along her way to solving the cases, Mackenzie encounters a handful of NPC's that unfortunately do not share the same brains the main characters do, in fact, after a few exchanges of conversation they become brain dead. This is a recognized flaw in many adventure games, but it would have been nice to see more conversation seeing how the rest of the game is well written.

As if the characters were not strange enough for you, the cases will be. Each case has its own quirkiness, for instance the first case involves dreams; someone is stealing them. Without spoiling too much, Mackenzie will have to somehow gain access into people's dreams to try and capture the thief. However, none of the quirky humor each case has would be worth anything if it wasn't written well and thankfully they are. In addition, if the four main cases are not enough, Touch Detective also features smaller bonus mysterious. The only problem with each case is the fact that the puzzles are way too easy, requiring little effort to piece together what you are supposed to do.

But much more than just bizarre, Touch Detective is also comedic and light hearted. The art style seems to be reminiscent of older anime, using a varying palette of light and dark colors inside rounded drawings. Complementing this is funky, mood matching music by Toshiko Tasaki who is known for his work on Persona 2: Eternal Punishment.

Bottom Line
Touch Detective definitely stacks up in the same category as the Phoenix Wright games, by being a game that is fun for being a well written, quirky title and not for blowing stuff up endlessly. Using such simple gameplay it is hard to become bored with it, especially since the game is made to be played in short bursts as the cases are not that long. In this day it is hard to find time to play a small title with all the bigger titles coming out back-to-back, however if you do have the time, you could do worse than Touch Detective.

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