Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Game Poster Image
Intense, graphic deathmatch; survive by solving puzzles.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This game does not promote violence. It is the goal of the players to avoid all violent contact and survive. However, the idea of murder is glamorized to make the story more interesting and exciting. The story is about an unknown mastermind who has organized a massive game of death, which is a jarring concept to take in. That being said, players are encouraged to work together with other characters to survive. It is a story of survival, but that concept takes a back seat to the more overpowering story of others committing violence for seemingly no reason.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The willpower of the unwitting kidnap victims is the silver lining in this game. These nine characters are the role models, but sometimes it is hard to see their determination and pluck in the midst of dead bodies and a death timeline that is looming large in front of you.

Ease of Play

The game interactions themselves are not overly complex. In fact, this game is more of an interactive movie or novel than it is a standard video game. Much of the game's controls involve simply choosing which action to take whenever there's a crossroads. There may not be a wrong answer, but some decisions will prove to be better than others. In some cases, there will be a wrong answer and it leads to death. If this happens, players return to a spot before the deadly decision. In addition, players will be prompted to solve logic puzzles every now and then. However, there are clues and hints to make most of these puzzles solvable for anyone willing to take the time to figure them out.


In this "choose-your-own-adventure"-type interactive storybook, while players themselves never actively commit any violence, the unsettling storyline revolves around characters who are kidnapped and thrown onto a sinking ship. All nine of them are unwittingly forced to play a "game of life or death," and must solve their way off the ship before it sinks. In addition to graphically violent language that refers to dead bodies, blood, stabbings, and disfiguration, there are also still image depictions of the victims. Bodies and blood splatters are visible to highlight the seriousness of the situation.


There is one busty female character who is the subject of some innuendo in the dialogue. Her breasts also move and sway during the game's cutscenes.


In the game script, characters use the words "f--k" and "s--t" with some frequency. This language is presented in context as a result of the severity of the situation facing the characters, but it is jarring especially since the characters are presented as cartoon, childlike protagonists.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is one line of dialogue about a terrible movie that can only be enjoyed if one has "a little pot."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is an M-rated game in the vein of classic "choose-your-own-adventure" books. In fact, players could very well spend more time reading through dialogue and watching cutscenes than they will actually pushing any buttons or controls. However, the content in these video scenes and text is very graphic in nature. In addition to descriptions and depictions of bloody dead victims, there are multiple uses of the f-word as well as a reference to "pot." Even though the characters in the game appear to be very cartoony and kid-friendly, the content in the game certainly is not.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPinballWitch August 18, 2011

A skillfully woven tale of suspense

This is a truly brilliant visual novel that can be best described as "Saw-meets-Titanic": You are a young man who wakes to find himself on a sinking s... Continue reading
Parent of a 15-year-old Written bysushiman8 February 9, 2011
999 is one of those rare gems you never know about until you play it. The game is best desribed as a 'visual novel' a interactive videogame that makes... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 6, 2015

This contains extreme fear themes and violence.

I played this game when I was 10 years old, and when I got the Knife Ending, I had nightmares. There are endings where you are killed, and endings where you liv... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBakura Kaiba January 15, 2013

Excellent (Review also includes sequel not covered by CSM)

First, I'll detail the age rating. I played this when I was thirteen myself, and I remember thinking, 'Did this have to be rated M?'. The game... Continue reading

What's it about?

In NINE HOURS, NINE PERSONS, NINE DOORS, players awake to find themselves trapped on board a sinking ship. Their character can barely remember how he got there, and suddenly finds himself in the middle of someone's very dangerous game -- a game where losing means death. Stakes are high as players solve logic puzzles and choose from various forks in the road as they figure out the best way to escape from the ship. Eight other characters are trapped and all only have nine hours before the vessel is submerged and drowns everyone. Incorrectly solving a puzzle may lead to death, and players will find other victims through their quest. The story is about survival and avoiding violence, but sometimes it almost appears unavoidable.

Is it any good?

Despite the intense nature of the content in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the story is captivating, creative, and exciting. The concept is a bit unsettling, but it is mitigated by the fact that everything is presented in a cartoon setting, easily divorcing it from real life. The perfectly inserted forks in the road and logic puzzles make the unfolding story an interactive experience, but the focus is always on figuring out what will happen next to the characters. The very nature of the content in this game makes it unsuitable for kids and younger teens, but for those who can get past the heavy language, jarring violent descriptions, and occasional images of blood, there is a very intriguing and riveting experience to be had.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the striking violent content can be used to tell a compelling story, but the non-violent heroes should be considered the stars. What are the effects of violence in the media?

  • How have you used teamwork to get out of a difficult dilemma?

  • What are the first things you should do if you are ever faced with a dangerous situation?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $34.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Aksys Games
  • Release date: November 16, 2010
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
  • Last updated: August 30, 2016

Our editors recommend

For kids who love solving puzzles and mysteries

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