If there’s one thing that the Nintendo DS has excelled at, it’s that it managed to expand the remit of the video gaming industry. Prior to the release of the Nintendo DS, Nintendo wasn’t doing too well in Japan. With great software failing to sell well, Nintendo had to try to find a solution to their problems. The answer was innovative technology in the form of the Nintendo DS and Wii. However, great hardware needs great software to accompany it, so Nintendo introduced a brand new line of titles that were part of the ‘Touch! Generations’ series, a line that polluted the video game industry with casual games.
What started with Brain Age/Brain Training in 2006 has now evolved into one Nintendo’s biggest cash cows. The innovative technology that Nintendo used with the Nintendo DS and Wii has managed to attract thousands of new people into the gaming industry, but with that comes the need to ensure these newcomers remain interested in gaming. Their answer is to release 'pick-up-and-play' software that anyone can enjoy. Their newest game in the Touch! Generations series, Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir may be a decent pick-up-and-play type game for casual gamers, but for practically everything else, you’ll be disappointed in the long run.
In a nutshell, MillionHeir plays just like a normal game of 'I Spy'. Hidden within an elaborate image are items that a player must find in order to progress. On the upper screen is an overview of image as well as a list of items that need to be located in that particular location. The bottom screen is used to provide players with a zoomed-in perspective of the area. By tapping on an item once you’ve found it, the item will disappear and be removed from the list. If one is having trouble with finding an object, they can use a hint feature. Each scene has a set number of hints that can be used and once they’re used, they’re gone for good - although you can always reset the scene. Be warned, though, some new objects will take the place of already existing items. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many items in each scene. Once everything is found, no new items will be implemented, taking away from the game’s replay value.
The core of MillionHeir focuses on a mode in which players put on their thinking-caps to get to the bottom of a case about the whereabouts of millionaire Phil T. Rich. As a detective, players will survey scenes to try to find clues about his whereabouts. Eventually it gets to a point where players will have to search for the heir of his wealth instead of him. In total, there are twelve potential heirs but, in truth, only one of them is the rightful heir.
Like with many other games, MillionHeir has its pros and cons, but in the long run the pros only barely come out on the top. For starters, the controls need some polish. Without a doubt, they're way too loose for most players, casual gamers included, and when the timer is ticking in higher difficulty levels, it may cause some penalties. Bundle this with the easy-as-pie difficulty and you’ve got a pushover of a game. Oh, did I forgot that there really isn’t even mystery to solve? All you do is find the objects while the crime computer analyses the data - hardly likely to challenge CSI in the excitment stakes.
As a seek-and-solve game, one would expect the game to be presented in a cluttered way: stuff thrown about everywhere and out-of-place objects thrown in the mix. Unfortunately though, MillionHeir is a little too clean, which makes it even easer. Things are organized for the most part and the objects that need to be located are quite evidently in view. From the sounds perspective, there really isn’t much too talk about. While searching for objects, there’s occasionally a few little noises, but in the long run, there really isn’t a whole lot to listen to.
At the end of the day, MillionHeir doesn’t do a very good of taking a well-established PC franchise and bringing it to a hand-held system. With so many flaws, it’s pretty hard to actually recommend MillionHeir to anyone. Unless you’re a fan of the genre, gamers should stay away from this game. That is, unless you want to show your support to Nintendo’s casual products.