Myst is a classic point and click puzzle, adventure that holds the record for being the best-selling PC game throughout the 90s. If you had a PC during that time, there’s a good chance you’ve played it. What made Myst unique was it’s hands-off approach to gameplay, allowing players to explore a peculiar island at their own pace, giving a great sense of immersion and mystery. I have great memories of myself playing the game back then, with a pen and paper on my desk taking notes, trying to unravel the puzzles and meticulously scouring the environment for secrets. These fond memories had me excited to revisit Myst on 3DS but what I found was an upsetting, messy port that doesn’t do the classic justice.
Alarm bells rang immediately when the opening cinematic stops halfway, cutting the narrator off. I thought I had accidentally pressed a button that might have triggered the game to skip the introduction but this wasn’t the case. After firing up the game a second time I was surprised to find that it did this again and I’m still confused as to why. This would serve as a bad omen for the rest of my time playing the game.
My initial concern was whether the game would hold up after all these years. The point and click formula should still be very accessible but the problem here is in the implementation.
Controls are the first obstacle encountered, when playing Myst on 3DS you navigate the environments with a cursor that has been mapped to the analogue stick. What makes this a problem is the cursor snaps back to the centre of the screen once the stick is released. Navigating is made a chore because of this and you feel like you’re tethered to an elastic band at all times and is especially frustrating when any accurate clicks of the cursor are required. This design choice is an unusual move when you consider that stylus support would’ve been ideal here, being the closest thing to the game’s original mouse controls, it feels like a missed opportunity.
An ounce of leeway can be given to a game from 1993 on it’s original platform but it’s clear no effort was made to capitalize on the modern 3DS hardware in the transition. It would have been nice to see the developers experiment by chopping up the pre-rendered environments and playing with depth of field but unfortunately there is no 3D functionality to speak of.
Overall the visuals are the games lowest point and look like poorly up-scaled versions of the original DS port. Certain books are made illegible when using the magnifying glass because of the low resolution textures and unless you wish to strain your eyes you might miss out on valuable flavour text. Some events and animations are strangely absent from the 3DS port whereas others simply don’t work sometimes because of glitches. For a game to be as cryptic as Myst is, it is essential that players get the necessary feedback to solve the various puzzles and a lack of quality control during development has made this port almost unplayable at times.
Playing Myst on a handheld console just doesn’t feel right, from an immersion standpoint a small screen and a first-person perspective don’t gel well. If there is one positive that has come from replaying the game it’s that I’m interested to return to the original Myst on it’s native PC platform where it is far better suited. As for the 3DS port, it is a hamfisted, compromised version of a classic computer game that I simply cannot recommend.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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