As opposed to our last Throwback Thursday, God Hand, this one is a lot more recent; a DS game. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective follows in the footsteps of other great detective games such as the Ace Attorney series and Hotel Dusk: Room 215 while still managing to create a fanbase exclusive to the title. You play as Sissel, the ghost of a detective that was murdered who has the power of ‘Ghost Trick’, meaning that he can rewind time to four minutes before a person’s death. Using this power, he can take control of objects in the room to prevents the person from dying. Sissel’s spirit will disappear at dawn so he must use his time wisely in order to find our who he was when he was alive and who it was that killed him.
The whole purpose of the game is to switch between the Land of the Living, in which Sissel can move objects to alter the situation or solve puzzles, and the Ghost World, where he is able to pass between different objects. Any items highlighted in blue are able to be possessed and are most likely clues to solving puzzles, (eg. moving a chair to avoid someone sitting there, etc.). Before doing this, however, Sissel must take control of the corpse that he is trying to prevent from being killed in the first place, that’s when he can kick in his Ghost Trick powers four minutes before their death.
The interesting part about the game is that the development was handled by the creator of the Ace Attorney series, Shu Takumi. He was in the process of working on the third installment of the previously mentioned series and thought to create something new, birthing a new kind of detective games. It was originally going to be named ‘Ghost Spy’ but the name didn’t stick, leaving us with a new taste of a franchise that never saw more than this single game. Takumi has previously spoken about wanting to create a crossover between Ghost Trick and Ace Attorney but in the six year’s since the former’s release, it doesn’t look very likely anymore. But that’s okay, as the game is still very well respected and praised for its story, gameplay, and for being among the very few games that had visibly smooth animation, (they’re dancing on a DS, the animations HAD to be smooth).
The reception for the game was off the charts, being the second best-selling video game in Japan the week it came out and even being nominated for an Annie Award in the ‘Best Animated Video Game’ category. Other websites have also praised the game in different aspects with GameSpot giving it an an award for ‘Best Handheld Game’ and ‘Best Game No One Played’. Game Trailers also awarded it with ‘Best DS Game of 2011’, among other awards.
Check out the trailer for it below: