“There is a bomb on board the Titanic II. Prepare to die!” It’s not a particularly welcoming message that abruptly greets you when settling into your cabin, but sets the engines churning in motion behind Titanic Mystery’s riddled events.
In their latest Nintendo DSiWare release, Joindots recount the Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage by casting us in a timeline that belatedly marks the hundredth anniversary from when the luxury ocean liner first set sail from Southampton.
The occasion has been commemorated by launching the Titanic II, a meticulously detailed luxurious replica updated with modern day advancements in shipbuilding technology – poignantly looking to complete the route across the Atlantic Ocean that the Titanic was never able to finish. In doing so, the voyage’s operators have gone to great lengths to track down descendants of those that had been on the Titanic, inviting them aboard as special guests.
But it would appear that someone onboard has other intentions, purposefully warning you about the bomb that they have placed and swearing you to secrecy. Your challenge is to uncover missing pages to a diary with entries penned by a passenger on the Titanic’s tragic voyage, promised that they will slowly explain why you have been specifically targeted and ultimately reveal the bomb’s location.
It’s all rather like Cluedo, the player left second-guessing as to precisely who is behind such a sinister plot. Welcomed on board by characters that repeatedly converse with you as you hunt out the diary pages, that could be anyone between the Captain, doctor, bartender, steward and even the jazz bandleader. Your intrigue will be enough to drive you through Titanic Mystery’s sequential chapters, leading to the culprit’s eventual unmasking.
Titanic Mystery probably sounds passable at this point but it significantly fails as a hidden object game, in that the objects that you seek are never actually hidden. While the Titanic’s rooms and locations have been faithfully converted to pixels, objects are scattered in plain sight and therefore pose a minimal challenge in uncovering them aside from shifting the camera.
The developer evidently knew this, throwing more objects on the screen than required rather than taking the time to actually hide them within the surrounding environments that they’ve created. It soon becomes mindless, tapping on any object that you see without consequence rather than spotting whichever you actually need.
Puzzles are muddled in, but these are similarly dreary. Jigsaws, spot the difference, and logic challenges and more are taken from the puzzle dictionary, and you’ll more than likely recognise them having been used in other games.
Given that Titanic Mystery was previously released on Wii, it comes as a disappointment that the same criticisms aired then haven’t been addressed for this Nintendo DSiWare conversion. It all amounts to a surefire miss, our only concern that most won’t take the time to see the adventure through leaving the Titanic II to meet an equally tragic fate at the bottom of the ocean.