If you purchased a computer with a CD-ROM drive back in the early 90’s, chances are, you probably played Myst. Taking a backseat in the gameplay department, Myst was created to demonstrate the power of the CD-ROM. Now ported to the DS, this best selling PC title has not only aged poorly, it is actually worse now that it is on the DS’ small screen.
Gameplay wise, Myst is pretty simple. You point and you click. This form of gameplay wasn’t really fun back then, and it definitely is not fun now. And now that this game is on the DS, the point and click nature – the heart of the gameplay – has been completed hindered by the use of the stylus. Acting like a poor mouse substitute, the player must randomly tap at objects on the screen whereas the PC mouse gave the player a visual clue that it was ok to click something by changing from a pointer icon to a hand icon. Randomly clicking the screen like an idiot is not fun.
Making matters worse, due to the lack of guidance, the player will randomly tap the screen until something happens. This random tapping can also lead to disorientation because if the right, left, or top of the screen is tapped, the perspective moves one up one tile. This causes the player to advance when they do not want to. Frustrating.
Myst is one of those games that I think anyone has ever finished. If you ask your friends, I guarantee that they all will know what Myst is, but no one will have any idea how the game actually ends. Not only is this caused by the lacking, sometimes buggy, and slow gameplay, it is also caused by the lack of direction. By just randomly clicking on things, the player is supposed to figure out what to do and where to go next. Unfortunately, reading through books worth of material isn’t exactly the most entertaining way to excite the gamer. In fact, there is so much worthless text to read through, the game gives you an option to take notes. So can I draw my own maps and scribble notes with my stylus? Absolutely not. That would make too much sense, something that Myst tries to eliminate. Instead, the player must tap tiny typewriter keys using the stylus. Good luck trying to map out mineshaft tunnels using ASCII art.
On the positive side, you can now take Myst with you wherever you. But a major downside to this is that everything on screen has been scrunched to fit the DS’s screen ratio. To help the player navigate the screen, a magnifying glass can be used at anytime. But instead of zooming in on parts of the screen, it just makes everything look pixilated. In fact, everything looks pixilated at all times, especially the text on pages.
The audio side of things suffer as well. You will need headphones if you plan on hearing anything at all, especially if you are playing on a train or outside. But I really can’t see playing this game indoors when there are several versions of Myst available for free on the PC. While these PC versions may be free, they really are not worth playing anyway. So charging $30 to play a dumbed-down version of this already uneventful game seems like a bit much. It is good to run down a nostalgia path from time to time, but I think it is time to let Myst run its course.