Myst has not aged well. Most titles that have sold 13 million copies
since 1993 are stone-cold classics, games that don't need fancy
graphics to charm a current-day player because of stellar, world-
changing gameplay. This is not one of them. The archaic puzzler's
reliance on first-person point-and-clicking on static images now seems
so disorienting that we're sure it's a fairly competent simulator for
upsettingly advanced dementia. You won't even get a nice story to tell
your notional grandkids about the end, because it doesn't have one.
As a quick recap, Myst is the story of an unnamed player-character
being sucked into a book about mysterious island and then being
sucked through a further series of books into further island worlds as
they try to solve the mysteries of the first island and escape. It's as if
Inception had been directed by a 12-year-old Werner Herzog. The
most incredible thing about this new port, however, is that developer
'Hoplite Research', which is apparently dedicated not only to creating
but also 'researching' games, has made this version of Myst
functionally worse than the original. I can assume it's an experiment
in seeing how long it is before reviewers retreat into their own minds
and, furthermore, precisely when said minds will eject themselves
slowly and noisily out of their ears.
Let's go through some of the problems. First and foremost, the 3D
doesn't work. I don't mean it won't turn on; I mean something has
gone terribly wrong in the conversion process and it feels as though
your top screen is pushing into your eyesockets. Luckily, this can be
turned off. The pointer system unfortunately cannot.
Hey look! ...A chair! Chairs are fun, right?
You'd think a touchscreen would be a perfect conduit for a point-
and-click game. You'd be right. Hoplite just didn't realise this though.
Instead, we're left with a Circle Pad-controlled cursor that, for no
reason at all, snaps back to the centre of the screen if you let go. This
makes pressing the (often tiny) context-sensitive areas a chore,
frequently transforming a simple push of a button into a titanic
struggle with your own physiology (and psychology, arguably). Add to
this a hideously ugly user interface, the fact that many of the original
animations have been removed and low-resolution images that make
important written clues illegible, and what you're left with is a game
that is at best conspicuously aged and at worst unforgivable broken.
Even the addition of a new section to play through, the Rime of Age,
falls pretty much flat because anyone who's looked into the game's
history will recognise that it actually comes from realMyst, a real-time
rendered, 3D remake of this game... that came out on PC over a
decade ago. The Nintendo 3DS could surely have handled that, but
what we've been handed is a crippled rehash of the DS port we
already ignored in 2008. Myst, much like its eponymous island, has
had a history that started beautifully, but this is surely its ignorable
end. The King (Prince, maybe? Duke?) is dead.
Long live anything else but this.