‘Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective’ Remaster Mobile Review – Capcom’s Masterpiece Returns Again

Yesterday, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (the remaster) (Free) hit iOS and Android worldwide following its release on PC and consoles last year. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective isn’t the first time the game has been on iOS. In fact, aside from the original Nintendo DS release, the only way to play Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective officially was on iOS. Read our review from back in the day here. That iOS version was delisted this month to make room for a remaster simply titled Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. I’ve loved this game for a long time and I never pass up a chance to recommend it, but there’s a lot to cover in this mobile version. How has Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective aged? Does it play nice on modern iOS devices? Is it worth buying if you already own the original? I’m going to answer all of that in my review and also compare the mobile version with Switch (read Shaun’s review of that here) and Steam Deck as usual.

If you’ve not played Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective before, just go download the iOS version or demo on any platform. Stop reading this and do it. I promise it will be worth it. If you’re still here, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a puzzle adventure game from Capcom directed and designed by Shu Takumi who is most known for the Ace Attorney franchise. As the name suggests, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective has you playing as a ghost (Sissel) with special powers. As Sissel, you can swap between the real world and the ghost world as you “trick" and interact with certain objects to change specific outcomes and try to get to the bottom of your murder. After a short introduction that not only lays the foundation for the story and also gives you a tutorial, the real game begins. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is so good with its narrative that you most certainly will revisit the story after beating it with your new perspective.

I mentioned interacting with objects and the environment, and this is basically the gameplay in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. You solve puzzles with your ghost tricks, go through telephone lines to find more victims who you want to save, and more. The cast in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is more legendary than even the Ace Attorney ones, but I want to make a special mention for Missile and Lynne. More than a decade after it debuted on DS and iOS, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective remains timeless and is essential if you like adventure games.

When it comes to this specific remaster, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective has higher resolution visuals, a smoother frame rate across the board, and a gallery. The gallery includes both artwork and music that are unlocked as you progress through the main game. On consoles and PC, there was a pre-order or early purchase bonus, and that seems to be included on mobile and available once you buy the full game unlock. This specific early purchase bonus is available on PC and consoles for $1.99 for those who missed the early purchase or pre-order period. It includes a few songs and borders. Speaking of borders, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on mobile has the same 16:9 aspect ratio with the game running within that at its older aspect ratio. This results in a mobile-specific border that has a subtle animated design and the various borders included.

One more highlight of the Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective remaster is the new 2023 arrangement option for the soundtrack. If you are a fan of the original and want that music, it is available as a toggle in-game. Said original soundtrack Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was always amazing, but I can’t get over how good the new version ended up being. For this remaster, everything sounds better. In fact, if you haven’t heard the original music since the DS days or since the original iOS version released, the new remaster soundtrack will probably sound like the good memories you have of the original. Yasumasa Kitagawa handled this remaster of Masakazu Sugimori’s original score, and it is incredible.

When it comes to platform differences, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on iOS and Android is based on the PC and console version from last year. In fact, it basically feels like that running in a new wrapper to take into account the different aspect ratios on mobile. It feels basically the same as playing on Switch or Steam Deck outside the aspect ratio/border differences and load times. Load times are great on iOS and faster than on Switch. Back when I played Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on Steam Deck, Xbox, and Switch last year, the Switch version on the OLED model was my favorite way to experience the game using touch controls. Now, I’d say the iOS version is better with the caveat about the borders.

While it isn’t needed given the superb touch controls, controller support on iOS is not present at all right now. I tested this with my Xbox, PS5, and 8BitDo controllers and none of them worked in-game. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective has the same touch controls as the Switch version with no changes to button sizes or anything. The touch controls worked as they should, but some of the buttons could’ve been bigger or have better touch targets on smaller screens.

The biggest issue is the lack of cloud saves. Capcom’s description even mentions save data will be deleted if you delete the app. I found no way to sync my saves across devices and had to basically play the game again on my iPad after the time I put into it on iPhone. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve played the opening hours of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective by now across all platforms. If you do plan on getting the game on mobile, I would recommend sticking to one platform for your main playthrough.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is priced at $29.99 on PC and consoles. A lot of people scoffed at this price considering the first Ace Attorney Trilogy with three full games costs as much, but I’d say Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is more worth it. On iOS, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective lets you sample the first two chapters for free. You can then use the single in app purchase to basically buy the rest of the game. That purchase is discounted to $19.99 right now. I assume it will go up to $24.99 once the April 3rd early purchase period ends. This try before buying is a great system specifically for Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective not only because all consoles and PC have a demo, but also because this lets existing owners of the old (now delisted) version download this and see if the visual upgrade and extra content offered is worth the asking price for an upgrade. Check out the image below to see how the game looks on my iPhone 15 Pro compared to the older version on the same device.

I hope Capcom adds better border options that actually use the full display on modern iOS devices, cloud save support, and controller support in potential future updates. Those are my only complaints with this release. Controller support isn’t really needed but since Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective has controller and touch support on Switch, why remove a feature for iOS? iCloud save support would really be good since I usually like playing these games across both my iPhone and iPad. The borders are probably the most disappointing thing about this release. While the 16:9 display on consoles already had to deal with borders, Capcom adding extra borders on mobile instead of opting to use larger versions of the existing borders is confusing.

If you already own the prior game and finished it, I don’t think this release is worth buying just for the extra content. If you want to play Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective for the first time on mobile, this one is definitely worth your time and money. If you already own Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on another platform, there isn’t anything new here. If you, like me, love Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and want to just buy it to support the game on another platform, you probably already did that and didn’t need to read this review.

I love Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective far too much. I’ve bought every single version of it over the years including multiple copies of the DS game. It was always a 5/5 game with its superb story, characters, puzzles, and music, so it is unfortunate that this new version from Capcom is a bit lacking when it comes to how it handles modern mobile screen sizes and its lack of cloud saves. I’m glad we have a version of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on mobile that supports modern devices and operating systems, but Capcom should’ve done a bit better in some areas.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Remaster iOS review score: 4.5/5

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