Mystery Case Files: Millionheir

September 21, 2009 by Aaron Green  
Filed under Nintendo DS, Reviews

MysteryCaseFiles

Overview

Title: Mystery Case Files: Millionheir

Release Date: September 8, 2008 (US) February 6, 2009 (US) October 16, 2008 (AU)

Developer/Publisher: Big Fish Games/Nintendo

Genre: Adventure/Puzzle

Platform[s]: Nintendo DS

Storyline

The official plot synopsis attached to the game opens up something like this:

Eccentric millionaire Phil T. Rich has disappeared!  Only one person can find out what happened, and that’s you, Detective.”

Basically, the above mentioned millionaire is missing, is he dead? Has he been kidnapped? Well, that’s up to you to find out. It’s all a little cliché yes, but that doesn’t stop it being a whole heap of fun!

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Gameplay

The MCF games have been around since 2005 now; they all share the same basic principle – the player is presented with a mystery which they must solve by completing multiple hidden object puzzles.  The larger mystery is usually composed of several smaller ones.  Millionheir presents more of the same, but this time the series moves from the PC to the Nintendo DS, which works brilliantly, there are few examples of the NDS being used to its full potential but this is one.  Perhaps this is why Nintendo decided to include the game in their “Touch! Generations” franchise?

Gameplay is a combination of hidden object, jigsaw and slider puzzles accompanied by the obvious mystery theme but what makes Millionheir a step-up from PC counterparts Huntsville, Return to Ravenhearst and Madame Fate is the use of the stylus and microphone.  Having trouble finding a banana in the hidden object scene?  Then use one of your detection tools, such as the X-Ray machine – guide it with the stylus and find the object.  I won’t spoil the experience by saying what other tools there are and how they’re associated with the console’s features but this make the game feel very much interactive.

I would expect the casual and family markets to take a strong interest in MCFM, though fans of the smash hit Professor Layton and the Curious Village will find themselves a little bit disappointed I think, this is a one trick pony which although engaging and fun is more focused on the “Where’s Wally/Waldo” style gameplay… everything else is just an added feature!  Obviously this would mean that the difficulty is not too extreme and that someone with a bit of experience looking for cleverly hidden objects amidst a jumble of similar and random objects would beat the game in a weekend of play.

Oh and guess what?  The game even has a fun competitive multiplayer!  Battle it out against friends.  Same gameplay – more pressure.

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Graphics

Visually there isn’t all that much to say, the graphics are all quite comical, there is subtle humour with almost every image and in regards to the actual puzzles themselves – well – expect an awful lot of pictures and though cluttered (as they’re intended to be) everything is interestingly, solidly designed.

Sound

Acoustically everything fits into place absolutely perfectly. Music can be heard eerily populating the background. Sound effects accompany every scene as they should and all-in-all these things help to pull players into the atmosphere of the game.

Overall Score & Replayability

MCFH will remain fresh even after multiple playthroughs. It always provides something to do and yet where it lacks is by being a little bit too easy and by not having a serious storyline (just a sequence of clichés and puns). This is a game that you should buy; it’s worth owning but not as a serious title of which you pour your effort into, you can buy Professor Layton for that, but rather it’s a pick-up-and-play experience for car journeys, relative visits and rainy weekends.

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