Metareview: Touch Detective

Alisha Karabinus
A. Karabinus|10.24.06

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Metareview: Touch Detective
Color us disappointed. Touch Detective looks so fascinating, from the unusual art style to the story to the eyebrow-raisingly strange sidekick Funghi. We were looking forward to it, and still are ... just with less fervor. It's interesting to note that while the game is often compared in reviews to Trace Memory (and, of course, our beloved Phoenix Wright), due to the gameplay and style, the way reviewers refer to Trace Memory is quite varied (it's terrible! it's great! it's so-so!), so it's probably not surprising that some love Touch Detective and others think the developers should probably be beaten. Most of the reviews have one thing in common, however -- the gameplay aspect of Touch Detective, well, it isn't so good.

GameSpy - 40%: Touch Detective may have the weirdest, driest sense of humor I've ever encountered in a game. It's rarely if ever laugh-out-loud funny, but it did make me smile a bunch, particularly when reading Mackenzie's secret thoughts on the top screen. The localized script is very capably written. Despite all this, the storylines are just not very intriguing. Worse, the game isn't very engaging to play. The puzzles are a weird combination of simple yet obtuse; there's generally not a lot of items you can get at any one time, yet the way you use them is often weird enough that the solution's not very obvious. Sometimes I'd seem to run out of options, which led to much frustrated back-tracking through the game's decidedly small number of environments. The problem often turned out to be that I simply hadn't clicked in the right place on a certain screen; for example, in a store, it transpired that only one of the items was purchasable, and it took me several trips there (and a lucky tap) to figure out I could get the item I knew I wanted. That's the epitome of very annoying game design.

GameZone - 75%: The sound is pretty low-key, with the score sounding like something out of an equally quirky Super Nintendo game. Touch Detective is a creative game with a great look and a certain quirk about it that gives it a lot of character and appeal. The slow-paced gameplay may not be for everyone, but anyone looking for a good story with a unique feel should give it a look.

Games Radar - 50%:
But like many adventure games, Touch Detective has moments where you'll get completely stuck. This is where the game's absurd humor actually hurts - some of the things Mackenzie needs to do to proceed are completely off the wall and not obvious in the slightest. It's extremely frustrating to learn that a solution to a puzzle is something you never would have thought of and that the game never even hinted at. ... Touch Detective is very brief, lasting only 4 cases (with short, optional bonus quests in-between). Once you're done, there's no reason to go back, unless you're completely obsessed with filling out the log of things Mackenzie's touched. But there's not really a very good reason to go through the game in the first place, either.

Definitely one of the more unusual review sets we've seen. The story is great! ... except it works to limit the gameplay. The game is funny and well-written! ... but not engaging. All in all, sounds like a rental or something you pick up super cheap a few months down the road. Phoenix Wright, where are you?
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