Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective reveiw: A remake that reawakens a game long dead

Capcom /

Game: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Consoles: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on), PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: June 30, 2023

Back in 2011, when Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective launched I was stunned at how little attention it got. Although it received a Game of the Year nomination and got a lot of positive reviews, it genuinely felt like people just stopped talking about it after two or three years.

So when it turned out that there was going to be a remaster on the Nintendo Switch, I was floored. Now that I have had the chance to play it, I’ve got some thoughts.

As I said, this game originally dropped in 2011 for the Nintendo DS and was made via Capcom by the team that brings us the Phoenix Wright games (so you have the idea of what sort of mood and writing you’re in for). You play as the titular “Phantom Detective”. And when you first find him, he’s not the most impressive hero as you encounter him like the current NFT market. Dead, face down, ass up.

Via a mysterious voice that understands both the world of the departed as well as video game controls your character finds out that he is, in fact, dead but, as luck would have it, is a SPECIAL kind of dead. He’s able to do things called a “Ghost Trick”.

A “Ghost Trick” is where he yeets his soul into a nearby object which he can then, sometimes, manipulate. By moving random objects and using them to hop from item to item, knocking over things, and revealing others, he’s able to do things like stop a murder from happening, eavesdrop on conversations, and investigate his own murder.

A lot of this is done through a puzzle in which you have to figure out how to get across a large distance even though you can only transfer your soul about three feet. And this is completed via some Rube Goldberg-esque designs. For example, if you need to get up somewhere how about activating a blender in a junkyard, hopping into a fan and activating it so it blows the string of a fan into that blender, then hopping into the flag as the blender spins and coils up the rope causing the flag to rise.

It’s silly and there’s no reason for many of these items to be in these positions and placed like that and it’s absolutely fine because this makes things very silly.

And while the game deals with a lot of murders it does so with a strangely light-hearted affair, even during a moment in which you’re investigating a dead Pomeranian it makes the whole event silly.

Ghost-Trick-Dead-Pomeranian /

One thing I like about this port is that you can tell there was some love put into it. It’s not really easy to port over a DS game as you’re taking the events and utility of a dual screen set up and converting it into something that works on a solo screen. I’ve seen DS and 3DS games ported over to systems that just end up having a second small window on your screen somewhere, it sucks. Ghost Trick, however, has completely reworked its layout so that it works well on a single screen without needing a second window.

There are also a lot of quality-of-life features for brightness and for filling the blank spaces on the sides of the screen that I liked as well. There’s also an art gallery and music gallery for those into that sort of thing that has a lot of cute details thrown in.

All in all it’s a fantastic way to bring back this clever and unique game to a new audience while also being a load of fun for people who never got to play the original. Now, hopefully, this game goes well enough that we can FINALLY get the crossover the creator wanted to do in 2013 where Ghost Trick crosses over with Phoenix Wright and gives us a game in which Phoenix Wright dies and the main character of Ghost Trick has to solve what happened, hopefully saving Phoenix in the process.

I do wish the game would have added a bit more, maybe another chapter as the game is a bit short, but as far as its intended purpose of bringing Ghost Trick to the Switch they accomplished it far better than I would have expected.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (Nintendo Switch) Score: 9/10

This is a fantastic remaster of a quirky game. Ghost Trick is one of the more unique puzzle experiences you’re likely to encounter and if you’re down for a murder mystery that’s focused more on the mystery and less on the murder, while also giving you a touch of fun supernatural tomfoolery, you’re in luck.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.