MystdislikePEGI3 Developer Midway Publisher Midway Genre Adventure Platform Nintendo DS Release Out Now Myst is probably a game you've heard of, if not played. It's a game charged with keeping the point and click adventure series on the PC alive and it's numerous sequels have kept point and click adventure games in-line. As a big fan of point and click games, I try my best to play all I can find. However, havin played Myst on PC, I was walking into this review with all happiness, sunshine and cute puppy dogs singing a wonderful song of love and friendship. However, by the time I had stopped playing Myst on the DS, the happiness, sunshine and puppies had all vanished and were replaced a big storm cloud lingering over head.


If I squint hard enough I can make out where I am
I'm not entirely sure what happened here, some may say it was a "myst opportunity" however, I wouldn't sink as low, instead I would say the game was a cheap port, is very rough around the edges and feels like it was made on a shoe-string budget and time wasn't on the developer's side. Alas, the porters did the best they could it seems, keeping the game's original movies, music and visuals in-tact. The smaller screen resolution makes the still-taken CG images in the game look rather fetching, considering it's a game which started it's life out in 256 colours.

Myst's story is confusing and long, the game starts you off without really knowing where you are, what you're doing or what's happened to you. Reading the manual will tell you a slight bit of back story, you find this book which details an island and the people on it, at the end of the book there is a blank page and for some unknown reason you touch it and the world around you fades into darkness and you're thrown into the island which you were reading about. It's barren of all life and has some interesting landmarks, an observatory, library and a sunken ship. All the makings of a good story then. The story isn't simply told to you through cutscenes and cinematics, instead the story is very fragmented and will take a lot of thought to fathom. It's a very rewarding process as well as a very interesting story.

Controls are handled on the touch screen, you tap the screen in front of you to attempt to go forward, press it to the left or right to turn in that direction, tap objects around the place to inspect them or pick them up. Unfortunately navigation has been made a lot harder on the DS version, as on the PC version you could easily rely on the mouse pointer to change into a hand icon when there was something you could inspect, here you're randomly tapping the screen in the hope of finding something. Having not played this game in a while, I felt I was playing this game for the first time, not knowing where a lot of things were and not really recalling how to solve a lot of puzzles. The woes don't end there, because the DS screens meant everything had to be shrunk down to fit. This isn't cool as in Myst there are some very tricky things to press which you can easily miss with your big clunking stylus. It also means that books with text are un-readable without using the new Magnifying tool at the bottom of the screen.


It only gets worse, I assure you
Music, it's good and atmospheric and sounds just as I remember it being. There are a few problems while playing this game though, movie audio isn't very good and you'll find your DS on max volume all the time with your ear to the speakers to try and listen to the speech. I feel a lot of cartridge space was wasted on the opening titles (just cooperate logos in movie form (animated)) and the rest of the game suffers from poor compression and down grading of other movies.

New tools made for Myst DS seem to be somewhere near pointless. There's a 'note' feature in the game, but revolves around a typewriter like system where you punch keys on-screen rather than taking after other prime examples of note-taking used in Point and Click adventure game; Hotel Dusk: Room 215 where you actually scribbled notes in a note book rather than typing them with a keyboard. It saved time and you could easily make diagrams, where as this system in Myst was poorly thought through and isn't really fit for purpose in a game like Myst. There's also a map feature, which is sometimes too small for you to read, and because it appears on the top screen, you cannot actually use the magnifier on the screen to view the small text.


Even reading is a challenge
The game also looks and feels highly unpolished. When using the magnifier, the top screen will show in an obvious manner that graphics are just flushed from the RAM and it looks ugly as visuals flash on screen before disappearing. The small hit-areas of the game are a huge draw back and take away a lot of the fun of the game as you'll probably miss something small in size but huge in importance because it's worth a pixel or two on-screen and is hard to hit with the stylus. I think Midway would have been better off upgrading the visuals of Myst so it looked a lot better, put a bit of money behind the port and made a new-age version of Myst, rather than rehashing the old Myst and making a real hash of it.

Overall then, Myst itself is a fun, fun game. However, you're probably better off getting the game on PSP or PC, as this version of Myst is not really worth it. If you can put up with it's ugly exterior and irritating hit-area sizes, then this game is probably for you, however I think it wouldn't have killed them to put a cursor back in the game to aid you and also the hint system which a PC version of Myst had. Get or not to get? Well, it's a budget title weighing in at £19.99, however you can probably get the PC version for less than £5 now and the PSP version is probably approaching £14.99 in price... So it's up to you if you see this port as worthy of that £20.