(3DS)

Myst (3DS)

Game Review

Myst Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

Mystifyingly bad

Porting games has always been common practice for most third-party companies. It goes without saying, but it makes good business sense for a game publisher to enable its software to reach as wide an audience as possible. And it's something that most of us don't have a problem with; if a company makes it easier for us to play its games then that can only be a good thing, right?

In most instances, the answer is yes. However, there is a worrying trend as of late, one in which many publishers are porting old titles to newer systems and devices and making a dog's dinner of it in the process. As a consumer, what you see is the return of a classic game and one which you think you're going to love playing through all over again, albeit on newer, much shinier hardware.

But then you play it, and you're taken aback: this isn't as good as you remember! Nostalgia has a habit of masking certain imperfections, but it's fine because you expect the developer to optimise the game for the hardware on which it's now running. However, when you take a look at the screen and notice that the developer didn't bother to improve the visuals — making it a horrible blurry mess when experienced on today's advanced systems — you start to think that something is up. You then try using the new control system, but it's just so poorly implemented and doesn't offer anywhere near the same level of accuracy as the original version did all those years ago. After encountering an increasing number of issues, you gradually come to the realisation that the publisher wasn't looking to pay tribute when porting across this classic title you once cherished so much, but rather it was simply trying to play on your nostalgia and make a quick buck in the process.

Sadly, Myst for the 3DS sits all too neatly within this horrid, seemingly ever expanding sub-category of ported games. Revered by game critics across the world in 1993 - not to mention the best-selling PC game for the nine years that followed - Myst's impressive legacy has now been desecrated with this absolute abomination of a port. Muddy, low-resolution graphics, crackly audio and absurdly poor controls all mar what was once a truly superb game. It's frustrating because underneath all the sloppy visuals and mechanics there's still a great gameplay experience — the problem is that all the bad stuff prevents you from ever enjoying it.

Myst follows the journey of the Stranger, an anonymous person who uses a magical book to travel to a mysterious island. The player must explore the island from a first-person perspective, searching for clues and working out what to do next. It's a game that would appeal to you if you appreciate a good challenge; there isn't a hint system that tells you what to do next, and the puzzles can be deviously hard at times. However, this is practically irrelevant when you factor in how poorly made this port is, and the biggest offender here is the presentation. When porting it across, it's clear that the developer made absolutely no effort to optimise the game for the 3DS screen. It's a pixelated mess that ruins its once vibrant and mysterious locations, and it's most certainly not representative of what the 3DS can do. In fact, it doesn't even use the 3D feature, again proving how little has been done with this port.

Myst is quite a text-heavy game, and you have to read a lot of the written material you come during your adventure if you want to learn more about the plot. However, the text is practically illegible in this version as a result of the terrible screen resolution — even when using the zoom feature it's incredibly difficult to make out most words. It's laborious and begs the question whether anyone bothered to quality check the game before release. Audio logs are another feature you need to rely on to source your clues and back-story information, but these are similarly incomprehensible and noticeably poor in quality.

To make matters worse, the control setup is just plain awful. Being the graphic adventure game that it is, Myst requires lots of pointing and clicking; a task perfectly suited to the 3DS' touchscreen. However, all of this input actually takes place on the top screen, meaning that you must use the circle pad to move a cursor round. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that the cursor is permanently set to auto-centre. Precision is rarely required when travelling around, but trying to hit a specific button or switch (most of which are very small) is unnecessarily awkward. Choosing to use the top screen would've made more sense if the 3D effect was in use, but it isn't. Regardless, sacrificing the most ideal control setup in favour of the top screen is nothing but a poor design decision.

All of these issues act as severe obstacles to your overall enjoyment. The premise — as we already know from the original game — is conceptually brilliant. However, it's just incredibly hard to immerse yourself in the game's world when it looks, sounds and plays as badly as this. The fact that the original 1993 game — which just to give you a contemporary perspective was partly responsible for boosting sales of the now-archaic CD-ROM format — plays better than this port says it all really.

Conclusion

Myst is quite simply an unplayable mess. It was a great game in its day and there's no denying that it is still highly entertaining. However, this 3DS port is diabolically poor in terms of quality, and absolutely no effort has gone into optimising it for the system. The dreadful visuals, bafflingly low screen resolution and awful control setup ruin what could have quite easily been an enjoyable handheld gameplay experience. If there's just one thing at which this particular version of Myst succeeds, it's serving as a prime example of what not to do when porting a classic game to a modern system.

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User Comments (50)

ajcismo

#2

ajcismo said:

This version of Myst plays like it was designed by a room of monkeys.

daveh30

#3

daveh30 said:

such a shame... It's a fantastic game that could have been perfectly suited to the 3DSs touch screen with a little effort. Just plain lazy...

CrimsonSkidmark

#4

CrimsonSkidmark said:

The reviews for the DS version from 2008 are just as bad... you figure with a nice piece of hardware like the DS and 3DS it would be a cinch to port such an old title that would pay and handle superbly in comparison to it's PC counterpart... TWENTY YEARS IT'S SENIOR.....

element187

#6

element187 said:

"Muddy, low-resolution graphics"

Kind of a limitation of the 3ds, though... Its only 240p. I have noticed games that go for a realistic art style look terrible on the 3ds(metal gear/resident evil), while Nintendo's whimsical art style looks fantastic on the device.

IsawYoshi

#7

IsawYoshi said:

@element187 I can't say I agree that Resident Evil on 3ds look terrible. At least it's no excuse that makes the graphics of this game ok. They can do a lot better.

WaxxyOne

#9

WaxxyOne said:

Wow, this is disappointing. I have always been a fan of the Myst series and seeing it treated this way disgusts me. There is literally no excuse for not taking new stills in 3D since if nothing else the 3D data from RealMYST could have been used. And not using the touchscreen to point and click with? What were they thinking?!

TG1

#10

TG1 said:

I appreciate the review. One question ... is this basically a pot of the DS original from 2007? Or is it a port of the updated DS version published by Storm City Games in 2010?

TooManyToasters

#12

TooManyToasters said:

I don't see why you need all those unnecessary Myst ports when there's a very reasonably priced and above average adaptation of RealMyst on the App Store.

ueI

#15

ueI said:

Does myst have any good ports? People keep saying it's a great game but I'm never going to get around to playing it when there's versions like this one.

Technosphile

#16

Technosphile said:

Lets be real, people: Myst sucks. It always sucked.

The only bad thing about this port is that it is a port of Myst.

RaylaxStaff

#17

Raylax said:

Welp. I'll make a note to avoid anything published by Maximum Games in future, then.

Morpheel

#19

Morpheel said:

Great score!

Wait, you guys mean you hadn't reviewed this yet? Guess it was just too horrible, you have my respect.

Edit: for the people saying the low res graphics are a fault of the 3DS, you obviously know nothing. This port is just bad, the 3DS may be limited but that's not excuse for a mess like this.

One of the game's main areas is completely inaccessible because of the horrible controls.

Sequences are missing, text is unreadable and gameplay is completely broken.

This port is bad. It is not a port of a bad game or a port in a bad console. It's just a plain bad, lazy, horribly crafted, insulting port.

TheLohoped

#23

TheLohoped said:

Why do they always try to port old slideshow based original Myst when there is a much more modern realMyst with normal realtime 3D graphics?

mystman12

#27

mystman12 said:

@uel There are steam and GOG versions of Myst and realMyst, as well as an iPod version of the original and an iPad version of realMyst.

This is sad. I've always really liked Myst, and a 3DS version could have been great, weather it was a port of the original or realMyst, but obviously, these developers obviously don't care about anything but money. It would have been nice if Cyan could have made this.

bro2dragons

#28

bro2dragons said:

I'm just curious why this is just now being reviewed.

I've almost dropped money on this more than once on the merit of its source's reputation. I'm very glad I didn't, but NintendoLife was nowhere to be found as the guiding light I needed. :/

Morpheel

#30

Morpheel said:

@bro2dragons I commented about my hatred for this port in the forums several times in various threads... Guess you never saw these comments?

chiefeagle02

#31

chiefeagle02 said:

realMyst is available on iPad for $6.99 & Steam for $5.99. Even the DS version of Myst is better than the 3DS version (at least you CAN use the touchscreen for navigation on the former).

Tornado

#32

Tornado said:

I always thought Myst was rather overrated anyway--at the time, a lot of style and a lack of substance (regarding gameplay--certainly the backstory and world have substance).

LN3000

#33

LN3000 said:

Unfortunately, I agree that the DS / 3DS ports are really disappointing.
PLEASE, if you're reading this, don't let this versions score of a 1 to detract you from giving Myst a chance. The version on Steam, or on iPhone/iPad are well deserving of your gaming attention, and are ported directly by the original developers.
This is a game that has stood the test of time. (The whole series, in fact)
Just... not so much in terms of porting.

MAB

#34

MAB said:

Maybe NL should start doing more reviews where you wait 1 year after a game releases... I challenge you to a Super Mario 3D World ultra mega late review ;)

Kaze_Memaryu

#35

Kaze_Memaryu said:

Ports like these make me wonder what the team behind the port is actually thinking...
Are they going to work like: "Let's see which popular game we can milk with the least possible effort!" or what?
I never liked Myst, but I could hardly deny it being an outstandingly well-made game. So this crime of a port was completely uncalled for!

Pachterkid

#36

Pachterkid said:

"Nostalgia has a habit of masking certain imperfections" Those are exactly my thoughts as I am playing through Wind Waker HD.

ueI

#37

ueI said:

I noticed the Steam and GOG versions of Myst are ironically unavailable for Mac.

hcfwesker

#39

hcfwesker said:

The D-pad controls combined with that ridiculous auto center crap alone made this game deserve a negative score. Luckily I got the game for $10 ... I am a Myst fan and was looking for a reason to play through it again after all these years. ABSOLUTELY no effort went into this 3DS port. NONE.

WinterWarm

#40

WinterWarm said:

@element187 Except for the fact Metal Gear is graphically amazing. Hey, like the review, nostalgia hided imperfections. MGS3's my favorite MGS title.

RantingThespian

#41

RantingThespian said:

When I first heard about this game, I was hoping it was going to be a realMYST port with the 3D effect.

Instead we get stills pulled from realMYST in 2D, with horrible resolution, and a just sub-par . . . no sub-poor control scheme.

Cyan Worlds needs to start making MYST ports by themselves. This is just a travesty to the one of the greatest games ever.

Please, do not judge this game by this port. Go to GOG.com, and judge it by MYST: Masterpiece Edition, or realMYST (MYST in beautiful real time 3D).

KnightRider666

#46

KnightRider666 said:

This port was horrible. Thank god I bought it used at Gmaestop and returned it a few days later. A true shame.

KolbStomp

#49

KolbStomp said:

Wow, is it really THAT bad? How do you screw up a port of a point and click adventure?

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