DS

North America

Myst

by Zachary Miller - March 12, 2010, 2:25 pm PST
Total comments: 17

4

The grainy, low-resolution version.

Everyone’s played Myst by now, right? It was originally released on the Mac in 1993, but has since appeared on just about every console or handheld since. It’s considered revolutionary for a number of reasons, including its slow pace, various puzzle elements, no threat of death or failure, and the richness of the game's world. Myst, on the DS or anything else, is a point-and-click adventure game—really just a series of images—that challenges players with sequence-based and logic puzzles. Solving certain puzzles allows you to be transported to other locations, and puzzles solved in one location may affect the environment in others.

Unfortunately, traversing the island and solving puzzles requires the ability to utilize high-resolution pictures. On just about every other version of Myst I’ve played (including on the iPhone), the pictures are bright and detailed, and it’s easy to make out every little detail on the screen. This is important, because very often, it’s the little details that you must investigate to proceed. On the DS, however, Myst looks grainy and low-resolution. I was especially surprised to find that a wall panel early in the game looked more like a splotch on the wall or a spot of light than what it was supposed to be. Another puzzle, involving changing the colors of different symbols, becomes a comical farce when the symbol towers blend right into the trees behind them. As you can imagine, this gets very frustrating very quickly. New Myst players most will suffer the most—with such bad resolution on the images and no existing memory of what to do next, I can easily see them turning the game off in frustration after an hour of aimless wandering.

The game introduces a few new tools to aid the player along. The first is a map that displays the current location on the top screen. Unfortunately, the view is from quite far away, and its resolution is such that you can’t really tell what it’s showing. I found it to be a useless tool. The second, more helpful tool is a screenshot button. When you’re looking at something important, tap the screenshot button to project that image to the top screen. This is handy for solving puzzles, though you can only keep one screenshot at a time. Back in what I like to call “the day,” of course, we used a pen and paper to solve Myst's puzzles. This DS version also includes “Zip Mode,” which was integrated into Myst’s immediate successors. Zip Mode allows the player to skip around the island, though they may miss out on clues. The menu, displayed as a bar on the bottom of the touch screen, is intrusive. I would have preferred an icon that brought up the menu so that the view could be larger.

The real crime is that Myst simply hasn’t aged well. It moves at a very slow pace, and the interface feels a bit clunky at times, especially when negotiating tight spaces (no, I wanted to look back, not to the side!). Myst’s descendants ultimately one-upped it at every turn. Riven (the sequel to Myst) improved almost every aspect of the game design, though the puzzles were harder.. The genre has since gone out of style due to its archaic trappings. But if you’re chomping at the bit to experience the granddaddy of first-person adventure games (and some would say, first person shooters), then I recommend finding Myst on any other system. The iPhone version is great. Just avoid this DS port, which makes Myst frustrating and ugly.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
4 5 3 7 4 4
Graphics
4

In a game where the small details play a big role in the gameplay, Myst on DS doesn’t just drop the ball—it hurls the ball far, far away. Is that a switch pedestal, or a brown block?

Sound
5

Myst wasn’t known for its soundtrack, but what tunes and ambient noise effects are retained on the DS fail to impress. There will be strange instances where, say, rippling water sounds will be present on one area of the dock, but not another.

Control
3

Without the visuals to back it up, Myst on the DS is very frustrating. Additionally, the core gameplay has not aged well, so you may find yourself getting bored without a FAQ by your side.

Gameplay
7

It’s all touch-screen based. Navigating certain areas can be frustrating, though I can’t tell if it’s a sensitivity issue or poor mapping.

Lastability
4

Compared to every other version of Myst out there, and its descendants, there's very little reason to keep coming back.

Final
4

There is no reason to buy this version of Myst while so many superior versions, and their sequels, are available for a cheap price.

Summary

Pros
  • Screenshot tool
Cons
  • Low-res, grainy presentation
  • Slow-moving, archaic structure
  • Some of the puzzles are frustrating
  • The new tools (including the screenshot tool) don't make the game any more playable
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

MorariMarch 12, 2010

Once you have Real Myst, there's no reason to ever buy another version again. ;)

StratosMarch 12, 2010

I almost picked this up last year but read some reviews on Amazon and decided to just dig out my old PC version. Rather disappointing though because I liked the idea of a portable Myst.

I'm surprised there hasn't been a Wii version.

TJ SpykeMarch 12, 2010

Hal, what made you decide to review Myst for the DS? It's been out in North America for almost 2 years, ad in Europe for 2 1/2.

StratosMarch 12, 2010

Probably because it was in his back log.

ThePermMarch 12, 2010

no squid monsters or William Saddler? :p

Quote from: TJ

Hal, what made you decide to review Myst for the DS? It's been out in North America for almost 2 years, ad in Europe for 2 1/2.

It was re-reased with the "new tools" recently under a different publisher. I want to say Sunsoft. Developed by Storm City. I should probably update the game info, although it honestly won't matter too much because the game blows. Anyway, it went to Mike, and he sent it to me.

LuigiHannMarch 13, 2010

"The real crime is that Myst simply hasn’t aged well."

No, the real crime is that the DS version is a thoughtless and inherently broken port. The iPhone port showed that with a little love, the game still looks and plays great.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the "note-taking feature," that hideous and worthless typewriter thing. And I'm surprised you listed the screenshot capture as a plus when it only stores one picture and is rather inconsistent about doing so.

The note-taking feature is worthless; I never used it. The screenshot tool is useful in concept, and besides, I had to think of SOMETHING for the positive list. LOL

I can't imagine why anyone would even want to play (or publish...) Myst on a handheld. And you're right that it hasn't aged well, especially since the game was heavily leveraged on the newest graphic technology of that time.

I've only played a demo of Real Myst 3D, but I concur with Morari's admiration of that version. It's surprising that no company has tried to port it to consoles, since it controls like a first-person adventure, and its graphics technology should be a lot more scalable than the CG stills of the original Myst. It's also sad that Cyan or whoever didn't release "Real 3D" versions of Riven and Myst 3-4. The main series went real-time 3D after that.

Mop it upMarch 14, 2010

Is there some NWR policy which doesn't allow reviewers to give out scores of less than 4? Based on the review text it sounds like this game is practically unplayable and worthless, so if this is only so bad as to get a 4, how bad does it need to be to get a worse score? Have there ever been any reviews that gave a score of 2 or 1?

It's not as bad as Homie Rollerz.

Mop it upMarch 14, 2010

Did you review Homie Rollerz?

Quote from: Mop

Is there some NWR policy which doesn't allow reviewers to give out scores of less than 4? Based on the review text it sounds like this game is practically unplayable and worthless, so if this is only so bad as to get a 4, how bad does it need to be to get a worse score? Have there ever been any reviews that gave a score of 2 or 1?

There's been a lot of games to get lower than 4. I can think of a few 3 and 3.5 from the past six months, and I know I gave Six Flag Unfun Park for DS a 2.

This is probably why you don't see so many 1's:

Quote from: NWR

1.0 - Games that score this low are terrible for many more reasons than just a bad gameplay experience. They would have enough technical issues to render a game virtually unplayable. Thankfully, games this horrible are rare, but it can happen. Although we can technically hand out a "0" score, any game functional enough to get past Nintendo's certification process is probably enough to warrant a point.

TJ SpykeMarch 14, 2010

I know I could probably look it up, but what is the lowest score NWR/PGC has ever given to a game? It's always interesting to see stuff like this, like how EGM's first 0 score was to Mortal Kombat Advance.

GoldenPhoenixMarch 14, 2010

Charlie's Angels for GC got a 1 from NWR.

Mop it upMarch 14, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Quote from: NWR

1.0 - Games that score this low are terrible for many more reasons than just a bad gameplay experience. They would have enough technical issues to render a game virtually unplayable. Thankfully, games this horrible are rare, but it can happen. Although we can technically hand out a "0" score, any game functional enough to get past Nintendo's certification process is probably enough to warrant a point.

Interesting, thanks.
It would seem to me that if the low resolution makes certain puzzles practically impossible to figure out if you didn't already know the game, that's a game-breaking fault and would render it unplayable. Then again, I've never played Myst, and I most certainly wouldn't want this version.

vuduMarch 16, 2010

Quote from: Mop

Have there ever been any reviews that gave a score of 2 or 1?

List of all NWR reviews, sorted from lowest score to highest

Looks like Charlie's Angels is the sole 1.0 score, but there have been a couple 1.5s and quite a few 2.0s and 2.5s.

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Myst Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Myst
Release May 13, 2008
PublisherEmpire Interactive
RatingEveryone
eu: Myst
Release Dec 07, 2007
PublisherMidway
Rating3+

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