Is there such a thing as a perfect game? Yes, and it's this one. Listen, you are going to get to the end of this review and think to yourself, "Isn't a 10/10 score, like, Zelda: Breath of the Wild? How can this 12-15 hour game that doesn't even have Hestu in it possibly match up?" You are thinking that because you have not played Ghost Trick. Your life is about to change.

First up, a bit of background. Ghost Trick is a one-off, standalone game from the man behind Ace Attorney, Shu Takumi. Originally released on the DS in 2010, it received a fair amount of praise from critics, but never went on to become a bestseller. Instead, it lodged deep in the hearts of everyone who did play it, becoming a cult favourite amongst those in the know, alongside other, similar(ly underappreciated) games from the same era like Hotel Dusk, The World Ends With You, and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Ghost Trick works best the less you know about it, so here are the bare-bones facts: it's a puzzle-y story game about a ghost who wakes up dead, but can't remember who he is or how he died. He discovers that he has the power to perform "ghost tricks", which allow him to explore the world even after death, and potentially get some answers to all of his questions. It also has some of the best art direction we've ever seen.

Here's a little more info: Ghost Trick is short-ish, but sweet, refusing to overstay its welcome in favour of a story that takes you on more twists and turns than a bag of fusilli, before wrapping up in a neat and satisfying way. All of its characters are surprisingly fleshed out for how briefly you spend time with each of them, their personalities told through incredibly vivid, funny dialogue and animation.

But more on that last word: animation. Ghost Trick's animation style is something else. There is, quite genuinely, no other game that looks like this. Characters move with verve and vigour, punctuating their sentences with ludicrously dynamic movements that are custom to each of them.

A particularly funky detective pirouettes into the room before high-kicking and Elvis-dancing his way into conversation; a rose-haired woman wiggles her voluptuous behind, bangs on the wall with a bottle of red, and clinks her wine glass in imaginary salute to whatever is happening that she approves of before stomping back to her typewriter to bang out pulpy romance novels; and just wait till you see how people eat chicken. These movements have to be seen to be believed, but they leave an indelible stamp of admiration and awe on your soul.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

The puzzles range from the simple to the complex, teaching you the ropes before asking you to figure out how to tie knots. Admittedly, there's at least one tricky level that relies perhaps a little too much on stealth, but other than that, the solutions are clever, satisfying, and – considering this is a game that deals with death – always manage to land the right emotion, whether it's shock, sadness, or hilarity. Sometimes, death is funny.

There will be some repetition as you trial-and-error your way towards a solution — we've played the game multiple times before and we still had to repeat some sections, including looking up a guide for that stealth level — but the game has generous checkpointing and the ability to fast-forward through text to speed you along. You may balk at the fact that each level has a timer, because doing puzzles under a time limit seems like a terrible idea, but don't worry too much! The timer is more of a narrative conceit than anything else, and the four minutes you have to complete each level is plenty when you consider that time pauses when you're in Ghost Mode, anyway.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

The story itself, without giving too much away, is one of the best we've experienced in a game. Genuinely! Shu Takumi is a master of plot twists, as anyone who's played Ace Attorney (especially Trials and Tribulations) will know, and each one in Ghost Trick is parcelled out marvellously, exactly when you need it, without feeling too trite or contrived. You'll question motives, you'll wonder who to trust, but you'll also fall in love with almost every member of the cast in the meantime, either through their words or their actions, by which we of course mean their animation.

Hopefully that's sold Ghost Trick to you enough already, because now it's time to talk about the port itself. Ace Attorney fans may recall that the Ace Attorney remakes did some pretty ugly things to the art in order to make it "HD", and are probably worried about the same thing happening to Ghost Trick. And how well have the team adapted the dual-screen, 4:3 nature of the game to the Switch's single 16:9 widescreen?

Good news and (potentially) bad news: The game looks as fantastic as ever. We were worried that the animation looked a bit awkward at first, but it translates beautifully to hi-def and is still as gorgeous as it was when our minds were first blown back on the DS. If anything, you can appreciate much more of the detail that was lost on the tiny DS.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

However, the 4:3 resolution this remaster retains necessitates the addition of two chunky bars either side of the 'main' game screen, so if you're not a fan of how the Nintendo Switch Online games look, you may be a little disappointed. It's worth noting that you can change the look of the bars using cute art from the game. Honestly, we stopped noticing the bars pretty quickly, and it's a small price to pay for Ghost Trick in our hands and hearts again.

As for the second screen, it's just gone, which is no great loss. The upper screen usually showed info about the in-game items that you could [SPOILER], and that's just been incorporated into the one screen, with the amount of time remaining for each puzzle displayed on the bars either side. Easy peasy!

What about extra content? Sure, it's there, though we might not have missed it. There are four main additions, unlocked as you play through the game's chapters.

The first is illustrations and concept art from the game, which are extremely cool to see once you've finished the game. We liked this a lot. The second is music from the game, which is composed by Masakazu Sugimori, the original composer for Ace Attorney and ABSOLUTELY SLAPS, although listening to the soundtrack on a Switch is not the ideal way to bop along. The third is achievements, which are largely split into two types: completing chapters and being good at the game, i.e. completing levels with no mistakes. This bit is just for fun, since the Switch doesn't really reward achievements anyway. The last one is, uh, "Ghost Puzzles", which feels like a weird afterthought. It's just sliding puzzles, representing some of the game's scenes, and maybe we're stupid (very likely), but we couldn't even get it to work. We do not care for the Ghost Puzzles.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

But Ghost Puzzles aside, this is a supremely good port of a supremely good game. We were kinda hoping you'd be won over by the first paragraph of this review, but now you're here, and we really, really hope you're won over now. This is one of the best, most underrated games that we've ever played, and there's a good reason why we will never shut up about Ghost Trick. Now, we implore you to find out for yourself what that reason is.


Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was one of the best games on Nintendo DS. Now it is one of the best games on Nintendo Switch. If you're a fan of Ace Attorney, Danganronpa, AI: The Somnium Files, any of the games we've mentioned, or just of having a good dang time with a brilliant story and stunning art, then why are you still here? Go and get the game. Now. Go!!!!