Myst in Review – The legendary island comes to Jesus

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Myst is a legend in its own right. When it originally appeared on the Mac back in 1993 (one of the few games which originated on this platform), it was an instant hit and the main spark behind CD-ROM drive sales. The game had the unique ability to immerse the players in the empty, beautiful and mysterious world of the game. And now you can experience the legend on the king of handheld gaming platforms, the iPhone!

You, the unnamed Stranger, stumble upon a book entitled, “Myst” which describes in minute detail an island world. Upon reaching the final page, you’re whisked away to find yourself stranded and disoriented on the dock of the very island you just read about. There must explore the unfamiliar surroundings and discover the true secret of Myst.

Myst is unique and gave birth to whole new genre of games. With very little back story and no obvious goals at the beginning, and a series of obscure, devious, but interrelated puzzles weaved throughout, it revolutionised how many people perceived adventure gaming. But the most notable feature of the game is the ability to completely trap the player in the atmosphere of the game, a feat, not many games can boast.

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The reincarnation of the game on the iPhone is a logical choice, though challenging choice. On one hand, Myst’s interface doesn’t constrain the user with time limits or ways to die and there are no dead ends, making it perfect for iDevice gaming. On the other, however, the screen is much smaller and hint hotspots are in no way marked, leading to a frustrating game of tap-and-seek, especially when the game lacks a zoom function. Some kind of notification (like in the beautifully remade Beneath a Steel Sky Remastered) for hotspots on the iPhone would certainly come in handy.

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The graphics have been ported beautifully to the iDevice and so has the complete, original soundtrack which was released separately on CD. Herein lies the problem, however. In the attempt to draw people to fully experience the game and play with sound, Cyan Worlds forgot about those who haven’t the privilege of playing with sound. There are NO subtitles in Myst, a fact which complicates gaming in so many ways.

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Myst isn’t easy, especially at the beginning where, the player is stuck wandering without any clue to what’s going on. While this may have been fine for the desktop version, the iPhone is much more oriented to the casual player, which may lead to a lot of frustration from unprepared gamers. And while the built in browser can open online hints, some semblance of a tutorial would be even better.

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Another gripe of mine deals with the recommendation of taking screenshots of any useful info in the game. While this is certainly a very useful idea with no way to view the shots from inside the game it really turns out not be so useful. And while a lot of info would be logically jotted down on handy pieces of paper while playing the desktop, the iPhone IS a portable device and there usually is nowhere to note the info.

Despite some of the noted flaws, this IS Myst on the iPhone, and the game succeeds in delivering the experience. Once you get things rolling, it’s really hard to set the game down. And remember, this game is HUGE, with 5 worlds of interrelated puzzles to explore and solve and the intricate story to unravel. And, if you’re still not sure if the game is for you, there is a free version available, containing the complete first world for you to explore and decide whether you’re up to the challenge.

With this I declare Myst officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:Myst (v.1.1.5)Developer:Cyan Worlds
Price:$4.99App Size:533 MB
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Immersive music and ambient sounds
  • Huge world to explore
  • Unique atmosphere
  • The Myst experience
  • A bit hard at the beginning
  • Hotspots not marked
  • No subtitles
  • Album not accessible from within the game
  • No zoom

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TMA simply can’t do without adventure games, and I assume that you too are like us. Perhaps the below articles can help you out.
Save Our Souls Episode 1 in Review – Beneath a Steel Sky Remastered in Review –  Raving Manor in Review — Mystery Mania in Review — Return to Mysterious Island in Review

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