Ghost Trick review
Screenshot by Siliconera

Review: Ghost Trick on Switch’s a Spiritual Experience

When Capcom first announced the Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective port earlier in 2023, my timeline exploded with people insisting that everyone should experience this game without looking up anything about it. So outside of previewing it, I kept myself in the dark about this classic Shu Takumi title. Now that I finished it, I understand and I am also here to say: You should definitely play Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, but read nothing about the story going in. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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That being said, I’m still going to quickly describe the plot. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective follows the story of Sissel, a recently deceased ghost who discovers that he can manipulate the objects around him through the powers of the dead. “Ghost Tricks,” they’re called. He can also turn back time to four minutes before a person’s death and change their fate. Using these powers, he plans to uncover the mystery of his lost memories, as well as figure out what’s behind the odd happenings around town. Unfortunately, he’s on borrowed time. Sissel only has until dawn to do all this before he fades away for good.

Ghost Trick review 1

Screenshot by Siliconera

What I really liked about Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is its super tight plot. All of the characters, even the seemingly one-off ones, had some connection to the story. Due to the more episodic nature of Ace Attorney, some characters existed only to give clues to Phoenix. But in Ghost Trick, practically everyone has something to do with the plot and feels necessary to its development. Because Sissel only has a limited amount of time, there aren’t a lot of detours or scenes that feel unnecessary. But there are still plenty of opportunities for him and his kooky cast of companions to chat for some levity.

If you’ve played Ace Attorney before, then you’re probably familiar with Shu Takumi’s brand of humor. It’s fast-paced and full of running jokes. Though there are some brief quips here and there, even during serious scenes, the emotional ones are played straight so touching moments land perfectly. All of the characters are really fun, and no one’s idiosyncrasy borders on the irritating. Missile in particular is amazing, and I always loved his scenes. “Play this game for Missile” was something I heard a lot, and I get it. He’s really one of the best parts of Ghost Trick.

ghost trick missile

Screenshot by Siliconera

Like Ace Attorney, it’s a puzzle game. But Ghost Trick focuses more on manipulating the objects around you. For example, some of the stages involve moving things from Point A to Point B by creating makeshift tools. A lot of the times, you have to wait around for a bit for the right moment, or else it won’t work. I have to admit that this kind of thinking is not my strongest suit; I’m much better at the Ace Attorney type of word puzzles. So I felt super dumb a lot of times, and the hints aren’t that helpful. But the feeling of seeing everything come together like a Rube Goldberg machine is really satisfying. It’s a really unique puzzle mechanic that never really gets old.

Now, some readers may have already played Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective before and wish to know how this plays as a port. It feels like it was always a one-screen game! I really can’t tell that this was native to the DS. The animations for the characters (especially Bailey and Inspector Cabanela) are super smooth; the extra work in 3D animating them during the original release really paid off here. All of the information you need to see fits really well on the side borders of the screen. It was a smart way to combine both screens into one (the timer was originally on the top) and to occupy space that would have been empty (since the resolution of the game would have looked weird otherwise).

Ghost Trick review trick screen

Screenshot by Siliconera

If I had to raise one negative about Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, it’s that it can get frustrating waiting and watching for the right moment. This is definitely a personal preference though. You can’t fast forward the scenes to the exact moment you want. So if what you need to do to avert a fate is a bit later in a conversation, you might be waiting around for a while. Mind, it’s not a very long wait, though! It’s just a bit unfortunate when you can’t figure something out and have to do things again and again.

Though there was an iOS port in 2010 (2012 for the rest of the world), not everyone could have access to it. With this release, I hope that the game will get a bit of a revival and more recognition. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is rather niche, though with a hardcore cult following. But with its updated looks and wider availability, hopefully it will emerge into the spotlight and dance its way into people’s hearts.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective will come out for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC on June 30, 2023.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, the classic puzzle-solving mystery adventure directed by Ace Attorney creator Shu Takumi, is back! This long-awaited HD remaster features upgraded visuals and sound and new gallery content. Nintendo Switch version reviewed.

A fresh breath of life for an old classic, Ghost Trick remains a quirky and strong narrative with lots of creative puzzles.

Food for Thought:
  • Playing this game will make you want to eat chicken. I ate chicken three days in a row while playing this.
  • The game is really not kind to animals.
  • Upon finishing the game, I understand why fans of Ghost Trick never want a second one. After all you go through and the way that the narration goes about it, it feels like continuing the series even with another character would just feel wrong. Of course, if they DO release one one day, I'd play it.

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Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.