Touch Detective Reader Review
I had high hopes for this rather pervertedly named DS game. Not in that it's not a game for perverts - we're not quite sunk to UK Resistance's level - but that it's actually quite, quite crap. The -nnnggghh- art direction; is good, so too much of the animation, and there is some humour in there that I wish in hindsight I didn't snigger at, solely because I don't want to be encouraging myself that this is a game worth playing.
Touch Detective sees you in charge of MacKensie, a young girl of a detective, living in a rather larger looking house with her butler and no-one else (what has happened to her parents, we don't know). Four cases are there to be solved, along with a number of other small bonus puzzles (which I haven't looked into), but all of which are inexplicably obscure and quite fantasy-driven. A graphic puzzle-solving game, it could be seen as similar to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, except substantially lacking in connective cases (and overall story), decent humour and decent puzzles. The puzzles are quite obscure leading to the dreaded last resort of systematically combining items together and/or throwing items at all the NPCs until something happens (GamesFAQ, I thank you for your help in making the game slightly less painful to play - in no way am I ashamed of this with Touch Detective). And there's just nothing to connect with the protagonist to make you care. There's no back story to yourself, and you learn more about the detective's girlfriends more so that MacKensie. That's just not right in my eyes - you're made to play someone for the entire length of the game and you don't learn much more about yourself than when you started. Oh well, tell a lie, the top screen can be viewed to read MacKensie's thoughts. But they are so pointless and worthless that, when you find out that you're skipping through much of the dialogue without noticing the thought bubbles, you really don't give a shit.
When you solve puzzles, there's not much to hint as to what you should be looking to do next (poor execution of the puzzle-dialogue system), and so whilst you're left to randomly tap at the screen to see if it provokes anything, say an object to pick up or an interactive bit of scenery, you'll find that the pathfinding is shocking. For a start, the mentioning of pathfinding in this genre is probably quite unique but Touch Detective shows that it's there and when it's not done properly, it leads to frustration. You tap on something on the other side of the room, expecting the detective to make her way over there, negotiating objects in the way. Nope, not at all. If an A-to-B path is blocked by background scenery, the game might as well play a 'fuck you' audio for all its worth. Really, it doesn't even try to convince you that it's attempting to negotiate the objects in the room - MacKensie moves, hits something, and stops. Oh yay!
It got bad during the second case, where all its faults appeared and made me not care. But for the sake of reviewing, I knew I had to complete the main game for my view to be valid. Touch Detective is just shit in all the ways that make an adventure-puzzler (like the aforementioned Phoenix Wright, or Monkey Island, or Grim Fandango, or etc.) worth its salt. Go spend your £20 on Cluedo, because at least then you're controlling the pathfinding.