Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Game Poster Image

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

(i)

 

Clever, challenging murder mystery for teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While you're not the one doing the killing -- in fact, you're trying to stop them -- the game shows many instances of murders being committed. One might deduce the game is trying to make cheating death an entertaining proposition. 

Positive role models

Though a ghost, Sissel seems like an affable person as he moves about the physical world, comes across all kinds of amusing characters, and solves puzzles to discover the cause of his death. He can't physically interact with people but instead uses objects to affect their actions. He is very pleased when he can save someone's life -- even pets!

Ease of play

The player can control Sissel's actions using the stylus or the d-pad. It takes a bit of getting used to, but a handy tutorial does a good job at the start of the game.

Violence

While over-the-top and cartoon-like in nature, this game does show violence that leads to death. This includes shooting someone at close range, impalement, being crushed, and so on. In fact, players will likely see each of these acts multiple times as they rewind from the moment of death and attempt to circumvent it. In one scene, a hit man also kills a dog.

Sex

The anime characters look somewhat sexy, including young-looking girls in short skirts and high boots. A voluptuous neighbor in an apartment has an hourglass frame, sort of like Jessica Rabbit (and she lights a match on her tush).

Language

There is some mild language in the game, including words like "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one early level, a woman is drinking a big glass of red wine and the bottle is nearby, too.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is not recommended for players under 13 because it shows people murdered in many different ways. It frames the player as the spirit of a deceased murder victim who can rewind time and prevent these murders from happening. The game shows people being shot, pushed off a ledge, exploded, impaled, and crushed -- though it's not graphic (think Saturday morning cartoons). As an example of humor, a hit man is crushed by a wrecking ball but you can see the man flattened and stuck to the ball as it rolls away. The game also has some potentially offensive text dialogue.

Parents say

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What's it about?

In Capcom's GHOST TRICK: PHANTOM DETECTIVE you’re the ghost of a murder victim named Sissel who must possess bodies and manipulate items in the real world in order to solve the mystery surrounding your untimely death. But there are a few challenges that stand in your way: you can't directly touch anything in the physical world; you've got amnesia, so you don't recall anything from your previous life; and you've only got until dawn before you have to leave the supernatural world for good. How will you succeed?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a great Nintendo DS title. The clever concept, thought-provoking puzzles (which require some trial and error), and huge cast of characters you'll interact with makes for a refreshingly entertaining mobile adventure. Particularly fun is when your disembodied soul possesses other victim's bodies and rewinds to four minutes before their deaths, so you can try and prevent them from happening (this helps gather clues related to your own demise). While the theme sounds morose, the game is quite light-hearted because of the zany characters, silly dialogue, and often-humorous death scenes (such as possessing a guitar so that the strumming noise distracts a hit man from killing his target). Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective offers a lot of enjoyable head-scratching gameplay for discerning Nintendo DS players.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about game designers like Shu Takumi (the original creator of Capcom's Ace Attorney series) and how they take a chance on delivering a more unique game concept. Do you want to try daring and original interactive experiences? What did you think of playing as a character who is already dead? 

  • Talk about the difference between watching violence in a game and committing it while acting as a character within a game. How is the player's gaming experience changed when he or she is an aggressor as opposed to an audience?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Capcom
Release date:January 25, 2011
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:T for Mild Language, Mild Violence

This review of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old December 13, 2011

One of my favorite games!

I haven't finished the game yet, but let me tell you, it is addictingly fun!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written bySalsander August 17, 2015

An engaging detective story!

Ghost Trick is unique hybrid of a detective novel and interactive cartoon. Be aware that like a novel, this game has A LOT of written dialogue and linear storytelling, so it does require a bit of patience. The game is cartoonish, but does involve a lot of violent deaths. The player has the ability to travel back in time a few minutes before a person's death and to interact with objects in the environment to save the victim. Many deaths are murders by a shooting. Some are accidental (such as being hit by a car). While players view the death, the screen flashes a few seconds before the victim is impacted. Once the flash is gone, the victim generally lies on the ground, but there is no blood or graphic disfigurement. There is some creepy instances where characters bodies are possessed. Otherwise, it's a pretty safe game with an interesting story. The protagonist motives are generally good and he intends to save others while figuring out how to save himself.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bybdd458 March 30, 2011

AMAZING GAME!

You do realize that in Japan that elementary age school girls are required to wear a uniform, which is a short skirt? They are so much more comfortable with their bodies than sexophobic Americans are. It's a good game BTW. He saves the good people, and defeats the bad guys. The ending was also shocking. Didn't see it coming.
What other families should know
Great role models

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