Myst Review
Myst box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Hoplite Research 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Empire Interactive 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 13, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

So, why did I think the DS treatment would be solid? I'm not sure. I suppose it's because the stylus-based controls seemed to be perfect for the point-and-click mechanic. Unfortunately, they're not used well at all. Sure, tapping from screen to screen is easy enough, but knowing where and how to activate the various interactive elements is a nightmare (a lot of this has to do with the graphical issues). This will leave you longing for the old mouse-over prompts of the original.

Myst screenshot

Furthermore, the notebook tool I was so excited about turns out to be a typewriter-looking keyboard. Not only is tapping out words with the stylus slow and imprecise, but it only lets you jot down word and number-based reminders. I thought for sure the developers would implement a freehand note-taking system like that of The Phantom Hourglass. That way, it would've allowed players to take more comprehensive notes, including drawings.

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I probably could have lived with the disappointing controls if the presentation had been better. Sadly, the graphics are so bad the game is nearly broken. I'm not joking! I literally could only stare at the screen for about half an hour before my eyes began to hurt. The reason for this is you will constantly be scanning every screen while looking for clues, and the images are so rough and pixelated it becomes difficult to know where to click. This isn't such a problem on the first few screens, but after a while you'll be wishing for a larger monitor.

Disastrously, the graphics have simply been ported from previous versions on to the DS. They worked well for the PC in the mid 90s, but they look dreadful on Nintendo's handheld. In theory, the static environments of the title should allow for highly detailed graphics. In practice, they're just plain crap! Alas, the enigma surrounding the island of Myst remains elusive, as the putrid visuals thwarted my advance. I simply could not bear staring at the screen due to eye strain. As far as the sounds go, supposedly the audio has been tweaked and re-mastered. Of course, you won't notice it. In fact, it sounds like the same old Myst that came out of the back of my computer from the internal speaker so many years ago.

Finally, the developer's probably wished the DS didn't have dual screens, and the multiple tools they created for the player are only mildly effective. The magnifying glass allows you to more closely inspect both clues and items, but it's really only handy for reading the scrolls and scraps of paper you'll find. Then there's the camera. The camera allows you to take pictures for future reference, but it isn't sufficient for proper note-taking. In fact, I could only take one photo at a time. There's a retrieve option, but I could never archive anything. There's also the notebook for jotting down reminders, but as I mentioned previously, it too is highly flawed. Lastly, the map tool serves as an overarching guidepost for players, but I think the developers just included it to take up the gaping space left by the pesky top screen. After all, you can't even make out text that identifies each landmark.

In conclusion, Myst was a pre-millennium sensation that, for some unknown reason, keeps getting republished. Consequently, Myst DS is a game you have to avoid like eating Fritos before a first date. If you are intrigued by the concept of Myst, I implore you to pick it up for the PC. First of all, the PC version will only cost you about $10 rather than $30. Second, the world of Myst is actually nice to look at on a full-sized monitor. Third, with all the money you'll save you can pick up a point-and-click adventure that's actually cool, like Escape from Monkey Island, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, or Dracula Origin.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
1.0
Graphics
The graphics are so poor the game is nearly unplayable.
1.3
Control
The stylus and touch screen could have been the perfect combination, but it was not implemented well at all.
2.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The audio has been tweaked, but it sounds like the same old Myst that came out of the back of my computer so many years ago.
2.0

Play Value
The puzzles are still challenging, but the terrible graphics and rough controls won't even let you get to the new content.

1.7
Overall Rating - Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Immerse yourself in six worlds (Ages) including the totally new Rime Age; a new arctic world for DS players to explore, as they endeavor to uncover clues and solve the mysteries of Myst.
  • Solve a multitude of puzzles which will challenge your skills of perception and thought, and unravel hidden mysteries revealing the dramatic events of the island's past.
  • New interface: The game uses the stylus as the key method of interaction and takes advantage of the dual screens to enhance game play. The upper screen provides information and allows players to view magnified images while the bottom screen is used to access mini-tools and navigate throughout Myst.
  • New mini-tools: Players have a new arsenal of tools at their disposal including a magnifying glass, camera, notebook, and map.
  • Original soundtrack: The players experience is enhanced by new music and sound effects add to the realism of the game.


  • Screenshots / Images
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