What you need to know about Touch Detective before making an informed decision: it's a graphic adventure. Its art style is amazing. It has talking walruses, friendly zombies, and little girls fighting crime and solving murder mysteries. It's kinda weird.
The first scene of the game introduces you to Mackenzie, aspiring junior detective, and the odd characters that inhabit her world. While hoping for her first client, she sits in her living room with her butler and her sidekick, a strange walking mushroom thingy, possibly the greatest pet that Paris Hilton never had. Penelope, the adorable village idiot, enters with a case: she claims her dreams are being stolen by a dream thief. Mackenzie's eavesdropping rival, Chloe, barges in, proclaims she'll be the first to catch the culprit, and then zooms out. Chloe’s Ritalin-enhanced theatrics are a perfect and hilarious contrast to Mackenzie’s calm nature. While the top screen shows Mackenzie and her reactions to dialogue and the environment, it also displays thought bubbles that elucidate her mind as it races off on wild tangents.
This is one of the more intriguing plots of the game's five episodes. How does one catch a thief, especially one that seems to exist only in one person's imagination? Using the stylus, you can guide Mackenzie around town and get her acquainted with its bizarre denizens, like a belligerent hot dog vendor and a cake obsessed, bodybuilding lizard.
In typical graphic adventure fashion, Mackenzie has large pockets to stuff knick knacks with, and part of the fun comes from anticipating how these items will come together. It's never how you predict. For example, part of the solution to the dream thief problem involves finding mushrooms, wrapping them in herbal paper, putting it next to an open flame to draw out the mushroom's essence, and taking deep inhalations of it to enter the world of dreams. How very kosher. And this is only the first chapter. Check out our review next month to see just how strange this touching game gets.
Last Update: 8/18/06
The Basics: Following the success of Trauma Center, developers SUCCESS and BeeWorks are back with another puzzle action title that's bound to be another DS hit.
The story is based around a young girl (Mackenzie) who inherits the family buisness (a renowned detective agency) shortly after the passing of her father.
With the aid of cheerful mushroom-man Funghi and robotic servant Cromwell, Mackenzie sets off to prove herself worthy of being called... the Touch Detective! [cue dynamic fanfare].
On paper, Touch Detective has all the necessary elements to make it a hit: challenging puzzles, unique character designs and a great sense of humor. As Mackenzie, your mission is to solve four "bizarre" cases including a missing person and a stolen dream (!) What could be more bizarre than a stolen dream?
What we think: Anyone who was a fan of Trauma Center and Phoenix Wright is bound to fall in love with this game. I dig the art style... but Mackenzie's expressions in the upper screen could use a bit more variety. Based on the screenshots, it seems she doesn't animate much either and always has a somewhat "blank" expression. Just saying... I'm sure that she's an adorable character. Beyond that, there's little else that I can add to this prognosis until more details are offered. If we're lucky, Atlus will bless us with a preview build in order to experience this potential hit for ourselves.
··· Chris Scantleberry