I am a very critical person. Perfection is more than just a word, its a religon. While writing short stories for publication or preparing for term exams, nothing is taken lightly. I see lousy games and passable work as a personal insult.
So when I tell you that 999 is perfection, I want my full meaning understood.
Your playing an interactive novel. I won't try and sell the game as something it isn't. Its a text adventure with a small cache of still images, almost zero character animation, and puzzles that almost solve themselvs.
So why is this a ten? It is excitement like I've never encounterd in a game before. You will tap your screen at lightning speed, desperate for the next line of text to appear, you will ache as you decide which of the choices presented is the right for you. You'll find your 9 cliched characters transforming into beautifully tragic human being with very real problems. You'll ponder the real mystery behind the events. And, if your anything like me, you will literaly pulse with thougts of the game while its closed away as you go about your life.
I have never played a game that stayed with me in such a personal way. i had never felt a stab of guilt at the untimely demise of a fellow character. And I've never, in over 20 years of gaming, restarted a game to pursue alternate endings so fast. Literaly before the screen loaded, I was already pounding start to do it again, but hopefully better.
If your worrited about alternate ending, dont't. the way the final true ending ties it all together with leave you floored, covered in goosebumps, and cheering for just how powerful, brilliant, emotional and timeless a video game can be. Dont just rent it, buy it.
When I decided to play 999, I was looking for something to tide me over during winter break and based the decision off of a single, very positive, review on IGN. Even though I'd heard great things about the game, I hated "escape the room" games and didn't care for visual novels, so I expected very little from it. Now that I have obsessively played the game for a week and reached all of its 6 endings, I can safely say that I have never been so surprised by a game.
As far as the writing is concerned, I could rave for many times the space I have here about it's astounding quality. Suffice to say that the tale is excellently developed and the characters, however cliche their art may appear, are all very deep and extremely convincing.
As a game, 999 consists primarily of two things: escape the room puzzles and the text choices you'd expect to find in a visual novel. Despite being part of a genre I've already admitted to hating, the puzzles manage to be one of the most fun parts of the game. Unlike many other games of the genre, 999 never opts for a fantastic, if totally unrealistic, solution to any of its escapes. Instead, every puzzle is solved in a way that makes practical sense, and better yet, fits perfectly into the rest of the story. Also unlike other games of this type, every puzzle but the first is solved with the help of several other characters. This is also connected to the story, and many of the games most important events and decisions take place in what would otherwise be a regular puzzle. Furthermore, the characters can offer helpful hints if you become stuck on one of the more difficult puzzles.
The choices the game offers are pretty straightforward: you're either choosing what to say in a conversation, or choosing which door to go through. Either way, the choices usually have consequences and help personalize each playthrough.
In short, 999 easily ranks among my favorite games of all time and should not be missed by anyone with a DS.
Let's get this out of the way: If you don't like reading, this game isn't for you. A lot of the time in this game is spent reading, which will turn some people away, but you really don't want to miss out on this fantastic game. You play as Junpei, a college age guy, who wakes up in a room with a door adorned with the number 5. You soon find a way out and discover what's going on. A person who refers to him/herself as 'Zero' has trapped you and 8 other people on what is supposedly a boat stranded in the middle of the ocean. You find out that Zero's having you all play a deadly game called 'The Nonary Game'. And now, you must work together with the 8 other people to find the door with a 9 on it and escape from this madman. That's the basic premise. I can't say much more without spoiling. The gameplay is split into two parts: The narrative of the game, the top screen of the DS showing the pictures, the bottom screen typing out what's going on like a book. The other part of the gameplay is the puzzles. These puzzles are like 'Escape-the-room-games' with more logic involved and less nonsense. The puzzles are difficult, but they all can be figured out with careful thinking. As for the story? This story is one of the absolute best I've ever seen in a videogame. It really left an emotional impact on me, and made me think for at least an hour after figuring out what happened. That being said, there's 6 endings you can get, but only 1 true ending. I suggest getting them all, you find out more that way. To wrap this review up, here's my conclusion: Story: Fantastic story. One of the most gripping I've ever experienced. Gameplay: The interactive novel/puzzle gameplay was great, but it may turn some people away. Music: The music sounds good, and fits the game well. Graphics: Pretty good for a DS. Replay Value: A lot if you're going after all 6 endings. The game took me about 2 and a half weeks to beat. I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for something cool.