One thing I’ve noticed throughout my life of gaming is that every so often a game is released that totally changes the way we think about and play video games. Be it incredible graphical achievements, an engrossing story line, or genre defining gameplay, when developers break the mold, it’s always the gamers that benefit. A true classic can engross players from all walks of life. From casual gamers, to hard core fanatics, a great game knows no niche.
So take a walk with me for a moment back to 1993, when an unassuming bomb detonated itself in the heart of the industry. When Myst for the PC was released, it was almost immediately acclaimed and praised as one of the most compelling games of its time. Immersing the player in a surreal and intriguing environment, Myst quickly found a place as one of the best selling PC games of the nineties. A testament to it’s achievement, Myst helped bolster the sales of CD-ROM drives, and set the standard for graphic adventure games.
Fast forward to the present, and the game Myst is long but forgotten. A musty and weathered tome, once well-read, but now cast aside along so many others. In the age of high-end graphic gaming, online multiplayer, and portable devices, games like Myst are nothing more than an afterthought. And so it has remained until developer Cyan released its version of Myst for the iPhone OS . At a hearty 700+MB, the Myst application for iPhone/iPod touch is no lightweight, and the time and effort that went in to port the successful PC game to the mobile device truly shows. Cyan went the extra mile to please fans with enhanced graphics and near-flawless touch controls, but how does the new iPhone OS version hold up to the test of time?
Priced at $5.99, the game comes at a price that is lower than many professionally made games available on iTunes (i.e. Super Monkey Ball, Metal Gear Solid, etc.). While it can be a lengthy download, the game is well worth the wait. Upon starting the application, the player is treated to an opening cinematic, which transfers directly into the game.
Graphically, the game is just as good as the original Myst. Every little nuance, detail, and video sequence are rendered perfectly and fluidly on the iPhone’s screen. Even today, there are some scenes in Myst that still induce mysticism and charm. Each shot is crisp and vivid, and Cyan seems to have gone to great lengths to ensure that the game runs smoothly on the mobile devices with only minimal load times at certain points. The small video encounters that you experience in the game’s books are crystal clear, even on the small screen. The sound is also spot on, although it can be drowned out a bit from the tiny speakers. Using a set of headphones will treat you to all the subtle sounds and noises from the game, like the lapping water against the hull of a sunken ship.
Controlling the game is very intuitive, and this style of play translates well to the iPhone. Players can simply tap where they want to go to manipulate the game, and by touching the various items and objects in the game will allow the player to interact. There’s even a little inspector button in the lower right hand corner that brings up the game’s option menu. The game automatically saves when the player exits or receives a phone call, and the player can also save at any time, with slots available for multiple saves.
Aside from scaling the game down to fit the iPhone OS, there have been no further additions to the game. Players will visit all the ages and puzzles they did before, and be faced with the same choices and endings they faced in the first iteration. However, with a well implemented touch system coupled with the iPhone’s capable graphics capabilities, Myst for the iPhone rejuvenates itself quite successfully as a mobile application. While Myst might be slower paced for today’s generation of gamers, the game serves as a great reminder of the innovation and advancements we’ve seen over the years. A must have for any fan, and well worth a look for those who’ve never had a chance to play this masterpiece.