The dead have some unique, innovative tricks up their sleeves.
You're name is Sissle and you find yourself in a junkyard. A guy in black aims his shotgun at a red-headed girl. You're not the type of guy who lets someone in danger die but there's one problem: You're already dead so there's nothing you can do. That is until this "ray of light" person shows up in disguise of a table lamp. He tells you about using a talent that very few dead people receive called "ghost tricks".
The power varies from person to person but your ability is to manipulate small objects if these things have cores. You can go from item to item but it is limited and when I say "limited" I don't mean limited because of the cores but because of your reach. You manage to distract the killer a few times but she eventually gets shot. So is the game over? Nope, besides manipulating objects, you even rewind time four minutes before someone's death!
So after crushing the killer with a giant ball, the red-head girl is safe, but another problem emerges. You have no memories, no idea who you are and what you were doing. Having no clue what happened, you decide to follow the girl, but ray warns you that when the light of dawn comes, your soul will disappear forever.
This mystery brings you in the life of many odd, but incredibly memorable characters. There's a big-nosed guy with a pigeon on his head, a guy who sort of looks like aquaman from Brave and the Bold and an energetic little dogie. The character design might be a little strange but the expressions and animation are awesome. Their dialogue is snappy and always entertaining. Wait, where have I heard this before? Oh right, Ace Attorney...
Bottom line, the story is great, the characters are interesting and has one of the most epic endings since Professor Layton and the Unwound Future.
So you probably already know what to do. During your investigation of "solving the mystery of me" you will encounter many murders which you need to prevent. When you find a body, you have a talk with their soul and you're able to rewind time four minutes before their death. After witnessing their murder for clues, gameplay begins. Like I said before you manipulate objects in order to prevent it. Posses a guitar and you can distract someone with music. Posses a bicycle and you can move. Posses a hatch and it will open. Most of the situations are pretty simple at start. You can even notice from the intro's the obvious. Gradually, situations become more elaborate and challenging. Time doesn't pass while you are in the ghost world, moving from object to object, but you must return to the real world, where time does pass, to manipulate any object, and often you must be observant and wait for just the right moment to act.
You can also rewind time whenever you want so you can experiment until you know what to do. Sometimes, you're just in the present looking for clues and doing the same thing in the past, manipulate objects...
The gameplay is unique and satisfying but there's very little change in it until the last third of the game. I think it was the twelfth chapter where another character dies and receives a different kind of power. I won't say who or I'll spoil a lot but I will talk about his abilities. His reach is a lot bigger then Sissles and he can swap objects as long as they are the same shape and face the same direction. It's a pretty cool change of pace, certainly a welcome one, but it is very underused and that's kind of a shame.
The music is superb. Made by the composer of the Ace Attorney series, the songs are funny, catchy atmospheric and there's much more. I don't know what it is, but he can capture characters or moments through songs so perfectly, it's almost uncanny. Most people don't even realize the importance of a great soundtrack. Nowadays, modern composers make their games sound like a Christopher Nolan movie, but I say nay to that crap. Ghost Tricks soundtrack is amazing and should be put in your iPod right at this moment.
The graphics are awesome. This game probably has the best 2D animation I've ever seen in a video game. Characters are well designed and I think there are even some references of the Ace Attorney series. For example: Gumshoe's and Wrights uniform is present. Coincidence? It think not!
This game is lengthy which is even made more lengthier thanks to trial-and-error gameplay but you really won't come back for more. Just like Ace Attorney, there just isn't much replayability.
To make a short review even shorter, this game is made of awesome. It's clever, original and unique. If you like story driven games like Professor Layton or Phoenix Wright then you really need to play this game. It's one of the many adventures on the Nintendo DS you don't want to miss.