Myst Hands-On

We travel to Myst Island to check out a work-in-progress DS version of this classic PC puzzle adventure game.

Long before the creators of the TV show Lost came up with the idea for an island littered with puzzles and mysteries, there was a puzzle-based adventure game called Myst, and they played it. First released for the Mac in 1993 (and then for the PC in 1995), Myst had a combination of gorgeous environments to explore, challenging puzzles to solve, and a great storyline that made it the best-selling computer game of all time until The Sims came along. It's a little hard to believe that a game like Myst could be ported to the Nintendo DS, much less with all-new features and an additional "age" that never made it into the original. It's been done, though, and last week we had an (all too brief) opportunity to check out a near-finished US version of the game.

Buttons on the touch screen are used to activate new features such as a camera and a notepad.

Controls aside, the DS version of Myst plays exactly as the original game did. The stylus and touch screen are now used to perform the equivalent of mouse clicks, and to move around the island's varied environments you simply tap the screen where you want to go. The DS game is based on the original Myst rather than the subsequent Real Myst (which was played in full 3D), so you'll be moving from static screen to static screen as you explore the island looking for clues. Finding clues is the one thing that's actually a little more difficult on the DS than it was in the original game, because there's no way for you to scroll your cursor around the screen looking for it to change when it hovers over something that you can interact with. These aren't individual pixels we're talking about, though, and we certainly had no problem finding key items and puzzle pieces during our brief demo.

Myst is played almost exclusively on the touch screen where, beneath the view of your current locale, you'll find several "buttons" designed to make your progress through the DS version a little easier. For example, there's a camera with enough memory for one picture that you can use to photograph important clues, and there's a notepad with a couple of pages for you to scrawl clues and reminders to yourself on using the stylus. You can also check out a map of the island that's useful without going so far as to highlight your current location, and there's a magnifying glass that you can use to read pages of the many books you'll find on Myst Island.

You won't remember this puzzle from the Rime Age unless you played Real Myst in 2000.

Even if we'd had an opportunity to spend more time with Myst on this occasion we'd be reluctant to say too much about exactly what we saw and did for fear of spoiling the game for any of you who might be looking to experience the game for the first time. We can report that the DS game promises to do the Mac/PC original justice, though, and that--as far as developer Cyan Worlds is concerned--this is the first time that the whole game has been made available. The original game lacked the Rime Age that now appears at the end of the game, and while that was previously addressed in Real Myst back in 2000, that version's 3D engine proved detrimental to the experience and so it was largely ignored even by fans.

Myst for the DS is currently scheduled for release in North America in March. We'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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Discussion

29 comments
Die-Hard-Hippie
Die-Hard-Hippie

Oh man I loved this game.... Too bad I was never able to finish it because I couldn't figure it out. I love hard puzzle games, and this one even kinda freaks me out a little, kinda like a mystery movie

gideonkain
gideonkain

Come on! There is no excuse not to port Real Myst - this is going to be nothing but a 40 dollar picture book.

starduke
starduke

I've played (and beat) the PC version. I'm hoping that they utilize the DS's capabilities effectively to translate Myst to the dual screen format.

TaterTotsYum
TaterTotsYum

I can't wait! I never played the original because I don't like playing PC games (especially not for 75 hours), but I've always wanted to play Myst - it's a classic... plus it basically started the graphic adventure genre.

greater_bird
greater_bird

Actually, I'm not so sure they're aiming at nostalgia addicts for this. I suspect it's aimed more at people who are familiar with the name and reputation of the original, but never played it, and wouldn't pick up the 'old' version because of concerns about aged graphics or system compatibility (or just because it's not readily available in stores anymore). This version has the appeal of being an updated remake on a popular system that has proven a good match to a number of other point-and-click adventure/puzzle titles.

Eat_the_Meek
Eat_the_Meek

Myst was freaking sweet when i was 15. But in 2008? I just hope they re-vamped the puzzles and story a little. I imagine the market for this game is the nostalgia players, and why would they or I want to re-play a game that hasn't changed in over a decade? (especially one that is puzzle based... i already know the solutions!) I just don't see many new players picking up this game, and unless they rework it al least a little, I won't be picking it up either.

ninjarat
ninjarat

This looks very promising!

zcds
zcds

cool i been wanting to get Myst but did not know what version to get. if all goes well ill be getting this one.

Bowser05
Bowser05

That's cool...I wonder why people have been so quiet about this. I'll definately pick this up when it comes out.

theKSMM
theKSMM

I find it somewhat ironic that a game whose hallmark was beautiful graphics is now being recreated on the least graphically capable console currently available. Granted, I know we've come along way since 1993. (The DS resolution is probably comparable to PC resolutions back then.) But it's still an irony for a game where the graphics are such a big part of the experience.

eilsoe
eilsoe

I don't get it... my local GameStop already has this on the shelf... is this *another* remake...? Seriously... I can trot down and buy Myst for the DS... what's it doing here?

wildnine00
wildnine00

Oh yeah, can't wait for this. I read all the books too. Thought I was the only one.

erkh78
erkh78

Very cool! Read the books if you get a chance, its a great story.

xTHAWx
xTHAWx

Never played myst before, other than on my fathers collegues computer for about 15mins. I was impressed then, and nows my chance to really get to grips with this game!

rave_n2
rave_n2

Always wanted to play this, heres my chance.

HamsterOfFury
HamsterOfFury

Yeah, in answer to earlier, this IS already out in the UK and has been for some time. We stock it at Gamestation and I'd imagine most major chains'll stock it (though we only have it preowned generally). I enjoyed Myst as a kid but not tried it on DS.

mjbcfc
mjbcfc

Just got my new ds lite through the post today from ebay WOOHOO so I'll be definately purchasing this game wheneer I can.

taddia
taddia

W00T! This is sooo gonna be mine... Always loved myst, and all point & click adventures (Tunguska

tastzlikchicken
tastzlikchicken

I guess Cyan Worlds is trying to squeeze every last drop from this game.

apboyer
apboyer

Seeing as how I probably haven't touched the game in years, I might consider this one.

Pazy160
Pazy160

@buzzard31581 Those sound like terrible faults, I might get the Pc version instead then. The portability sounds great but if I have to do a whole lot of plodding and look at pixelised pictures for pictures id trade it off for a better gameplay experience. Though the psp version could in theory be patched.

weisguy119
weisguy119

I'll take beating a dead horse for $500, Alex! Seriously, if you've played Myst before, there's no reason to play it again. 0% replay value. Don't get me wrong. It's a great game for one play-through.

buzzard31581
buzzard31581

I've played the UK version of the game and it was very difficult at times to tell what I was doing. Using the magnifying glass on certain items only yielded an extremely pixellated image that was worse off than what I was trying to magnify. Also, I could only use a horrid typewritter for notes as there was no ability to draw any sort of images. I suppose that's what the camera was for. The only problem was that if a clue was in a book and you wanted to take an image of that clue all you'd get was the first couple pages of the book, not the page you wanted a picture of. Oh, and you can only store one picture at a time. There's no way to store multiple pictures for later use on puzzles. Also, as players of the original Myst know, you had to pick up red and blue pages. Either I'm a moron or you could only pick up a single page at a time. Which means that in order to get all the pages for each of the books, you have to travel to each age twice and then try and get back to Myst. This just isn't helpful at all. I seriously hope that the US version of the game fixes these errors in the game. If it does, then maybe they'll sell more copies of this game and it will recieve a much better rating from myself and other gamers.

Pazy160
Pazy160

Im pretty sure this is already out in the UK (PSP and DS I saw in gamestation last weekend). I plan to pick it up, its a fantastic game which I never got a chance to complete and it was only £20 for either version.

705H1R0
705H1R0

I remember when this came out, it was all I played for like 3 months. I hope they tweaked a few things, like that loooooooooong railway puzzle under the Selenetic Age.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

This looks great and since I missed the PC version, i'll be sure to keep my eye on it.

jjr10
jjr10

I never played the original, so i'll keep an eye out for this version.