Creepy factor: 0 (not meant to be creepy)
Fun factor: 9
Puzzle Difficulty: 5.5
First off, this game is by Atlus, so of course it’s going to offer something fresh. This game is so cutesy and fun, and it’s available portably for the Nintendo DS. The DS seems like a perfect platform for more point-and-click titles and I was really excited when I was first reading about this one, despite its mixed reviews. I was definitely not disappointed because this game is a genuinely fun experience that’s easy-going, but still retains a level of difficulty with certain puzzles.
The main character to this game is a young girl named Detective Mackenzie who has a sidekick blobby pet named Funghi and a butler named Cromwell. Her kooky friends, Penelope and Chloe, give her “cases” to solve. Each of the cases is titled, and even though there are only four cases in the game, they’re fun and really unique.
This game is an item-puzzle type of point-and-click. You’ll be questioning people and trying to find the right items to solve predicaments that Mackenzie gets into. Some of the items combine to make new ones and it’s interesting because since the game is on the DS, you have the ability to click on certain areas of objects to examine that particular spot. So, you have to really think about some items and look at them in the right way to figure out what their significance is.
Touch Detective gets its title from the fact that Mackenzie goes around touching things and she is declared a "touch detective" in the game. Well, that and the fact that the game is on the DS and utilizes the touchpad. The touchpad is used to navigate screens, menus, and touch things. When you find something new to touch, the game records it in a journal that you can read later with funny little icons and descriptions. Mackenzie records touching anything from floors, to railings, to curtains, and more. It makes the environments more interactive and gives you something extra to look for while you’re playing. Not only that, but the touchpad isn’t even technically required for this game; the D-pad and buttons are also sufficient for moving around and investigating. It makes it quicker to go through conversations and also saves from having to risk scratching the pad (so you can let other people play it on your DS without being over-protective).
The cases in the game unlock new areas to explore, and even though the game is 2D, it’s still detailed and there are lots of things to look at. Different places in the town that you explore include an ice skating rink, planetarium, and the circus (which turns out to be the flea circus!).
There are also new people to talk to in each case, which is actually one of the best parts of the game. The characters you meet in this game are really “characters”. They say some of the goofiest things that the game actually made me laugh out loud. Also, while Mackenzie is talking to other characters, the top screen of the DS features what she’s really thinking about. It’s funny when Mackenzie is talking to someone strange and her thoughts mock them. Sometimes it seems like Mackenzie’s the only normal person in the game, but then you remember she is a young girl detective who lives alone with a butler and a little brown blobby pet.
One thing that’s noticeable in this game is that while talking to people they are really strange-looking (aside from the kids). The lesser important adult characters look almost ghostly. The game features an abstract cell-shaded art-styling and the odd-looking adults only add an interesting dimension to the handheld graphical experience. It really makes it seem as though the adults are living in this world that is actually Mackenzie’s (and the other young characters’) world, not theirs. Not only are the adults strangely ghost-like, but some of the other characters are animals. There’s a walrus, a bird, and other weird “people” in the game.
The music in this game is also great. Even though the game is on the DS, the music is still fun and you can even listen to the tunes while you’re not working on a case. Simply turn on the radio in Mackenzie’s room and all the songs thus far are available to jam out to. A couple of the songs are really good, a couple of them are slightly repetitive though depending on how long you spend wandering unsuccessfully for clues. None of the characters actually have voices, though; the dialogue is text-based. However, they do have fun theme songs!
Which brings me to my next point; this game has difficulty to it. Even though it’s really fun, cutesy, and kid-looking, the game still features involvedness enjoyable to an older player. A couple of times, I had no clue what to do next. The game keeps you guessing what to look for or who to talk to next. It’s not too hard, but it’s not extremely easy either. It has a pleasant difficulty level, that’s for sure. Then, there are also additional mini-cases where you help people around town after the main cases. This helps to make an otherwise seemingly short game last longer.
The main point is that this game is fun! It’s really, genuinely, addictively fun! If you pick up this game, you’ll be laughing at the characters while bopping to the fun music and searching for clues with your blobby sidekick. Not only that, but you also get to touch random things and mock other people in your thoughts! What more could a point-and-clicker ask for? This game is definitely win-win.