Since the double-whammy success of the Wii and DS, Nintendo has been both lauded and derided for its love of casual games. Casual games, like Fridays, wear khaki pants, flip-flops and don’t require the same kind or amount of attention as their hardcore cousins. Enter Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir for the DS, the most unapologetically casual game Nintendo has ever made.
At its heart, Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir is a seek-and-find game. You look over a vast playing field and try to find a series of hidden objects. This is a popular mechanic with games online and in PC hits such as “Dream Day Honeymoon.” Oh yeah, it’s also reminiscent of that disappearing Waldo guy (who turns 21 next week, by the way). The hook of Mystery Case Files is, well, there is no real hook. It’s about as straightforward as you can imagine. It does have that Nintendo brand spit-shine polish, though.
The game handles well, using a combination of stylus and D-pad control. The play areas are also downright devious, and you’re likely to develop a migraine looking for that last hidden spoon or tank. The game is addictive, too. You’ll start to see hidden sailboats and baseballs all over your dreams.
Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir tries to spice things up with some other play modes — a jigsaw puzzle or performing touch-screen actions on certain objects, for instance. These modes are fairly forgettable in comparison with the meat of the real game. The storyline is also mediocre and utterly forgettable. It’s doubtful that anyone plays these types of games for the narrative, however.
Mystery Case Files is a fun, albeit slightly repetitive, experience. It is only $20, though. Buy it if you are about to go on a long plane ride, or if you are training to be mindful of your surroundings like that guy on “Psych.” It could help with both.
- Score: 7.5
— Lawrence Bonk