|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hoplite Research||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Empire Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 13, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
My first encounter with Myst was Sophomore year in college, in the Fall of '97. I was running a stellar gaming rig that boasted Windows 95 and an over-clocked 133 MHz processor. After suffering the eternal install, I explored the island of Myst by clicking my way through the levels, putting together the clues, and often fiddling around with the junk on my desk looking for the Urdu-like scribbles that passed as reminders.
Myst was a solid game, but I never could finish it. In fact, I never knew anyone who did. The puzzles became so difficult and tiresome, I preferred going to class.
For those of you who didn't play Myst or weren't born when it originally released to critical acclaim, it is a heady, point-and-click adventure. The game is set on a strange island and employs a series of clues and interdependent puzzles. By collecting the clues and solving the puzzles, you will hop around Myst Island as The Stranger throughout various Ages of time via a magic book. The puzzles found throughout the island vary from being quite cerebral to simple lever-pulling affairs. However, the sum of the puzzle experience is that of being quite challenging and very slow.
Much to my surprise, Myst has come to the DS some eleven years after my first introduction. I was excited about delving back into the game I never finished, and I expected the stylus-based controls and note-taking tool would help keep me organized. Moreover, Myst DS includes additions to the Rime Age (which wasn't available with the original edition) and was going to provide me with even more content to plow through. Needless to say, I was optimistic.
Unfortunately, "plod" and "slog" through are more appropriate adjectives to describe gameplay. You see, Myst for the DS hasn't changed for the better. Actually, Myst DS is a lot worse than the original. Not only will you have to play through the exact same puzzles and scenarios you did when you were a pup, but chances are you'll never reach the enhanced, arctic Rime Age. Why not? Because you will either be bored to tears, or you'll be blinded by the ridiculously pixelated visuals long before you leave prints in the freshly fallen snow.
One of the biggest reasons why Myst completely misses the mark on the DS is because the point-and-click, puzzle adventure gameplay is dated and simply doesn't translate particularly well to consoles, including handhelds. I thought the DS might be an exception, but after a couple hours with the game I can't see anyone wanting this kind of experience. Truly, Myst is a classic title from a bygone era. As such, publisher Empire Interactive should've let bygones be bygones.