Atlus gave me a chance to get some early playtime with Touch Detective (Osawari Tantei Ozawa Rina). The game begins with a quick and simple tutorial where you help young Mackenzie unlock the door to her room. Tapping the touch screen makes Mackenzie move to your spot you tap. You can also tap objects to investigate. For instance tapping the rug on the floor makes Mackenzie lift it up and search underneath it. The gameplay in Touch Detective is similar to the classic SCUMM games like Maniac Mansion or Sam & Max except that you use the touch screen instead of a mouse for investigations. While most of the action takes place on the bottom screen, the top screen is used for Mackenzie’s thoughts. Through a thought bubble you can see what Mackenzie is thinking and look at her facial expressions.
The first mission of the game is entitled “robbery”, but you’re actually chasing down a dream thief. Mackenzie’s happy go lucky friend Penelope hasn’t been able to have a good night sleep because her dreams are being stolen. She comes to Mackenzie to solve the case and offers to do her homework if she solves it. Who could the culprit be? Is it Daisy, Penelope’s new neighbor who works in the Naked Bones clothing store? Beatrice, Penelope’s bird landlord? Or could it be the talking shark in the food store who says he steals dreams for a living? I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but Touch Detective has a few surprises in the first episode. Solving the case isn’t as easy as it sounds, Mackenzie needs to talk to everyone and track down as many items as she can find. However, the solutions to the puzzles aren’t exactly obvious. Early on you find a broken butterfly net and the only way you can fix it is by tapping on a barely noticeable spider’s web. On the plus side it’s good to know that Touch Detective has a higher level of difficulty than the graphics would lead you to believe. However, Touch Detective can get confusing fast and you’ll be forced to go through random trial and error instead of using logical solutions. Look for more on Touch Detective this Tuesday when we post our playtest.