The Mystery Case Files series has met with some success on the PC. The adventure genre has found new life on the Nintendo DS, however, and the platform seems like a particularly good fit for pixel-hunting, puzzle-solving exploration. At E3 2008, we played the newest iteration of the series, MillionHeir, on the show floor. Not only has the item-searching gameplay found its way intact, but the stylus solidly approximates the standard mouse controls experienced adventurers are accustomed to.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much to the demo we played. The story starts off simply: a few static scenes inform you that the monocled millionaire Phil T. Rich has disappeared, and it's up to you to locate him. To do so, you have to investigate various environments and search for clues. This means scrolling about a static artistic rendering of an area that's littered with the oddest objects, and tapping the items you need to continue the investigation. The first scene we explored required us to find a necktie, a trumpet, a soccer ball, a hammer, and a cookie. Don't ask what these items have to do with each other, or what makes them more important than the other odd objects strewn about the screen. The game asks you to find them, and that's all that's important.
We completed two of these "Where's Waldo"-esque scenes. The second one had even weirder items to find, like a celery stalk, a dog collar, and a stalk of broccoli (perhaps the victim is a vegetarian pet owner?), and once we'd found them, they were fed into the Crime Computer, which analyzed the "data." Perhaps it's also best not to ask how this supercomputer can reach conclusions after you feed it a soccer ball and a parking meter.
The final puzzle involved sliding nine tiles around until we completed a picture, and that was the end of the demo. While the gameplay wasn't very involving, the art was beautifully drawn and featured a colorful and vibrant style. If you like simple picture-based puzzle games and the idea of solving them on the go, Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir may be worth keeping an eye on. The game is due to be released on September 8, 2008.