Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Game Poster Image
Clever, challenging murder mystery for teens.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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).


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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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 storyt... Continue reading
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'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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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
  • Last updated: August 30, 2016

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