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Safecracker DS Review
Review Score:

When we first heard of the announcement that a DS game would delve us into the art of safe cracking we were positively excited that for once we would be able to re-enact one of those poorly executed reconstruction scenes on crime stoppers. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be the case because rather than being rogue and getting to be a virtual criminal, instead you were nothing more than a skilful safe cracker whom was employed by a family itching to get at their deceased fathers will. That’s essentially the name of the game, so farfetched is the plot that the father of the house who died hid the will inside one of 35 safe’s around the house. Who needs 35 safes? That’s just higher class showing off surely.

Safecracker DS really does have no plotline to it, no one interacts with you to a degree that it’s worth a sentiment of comment and at all times you are in a first person view point, so you can never roam around free around the large mansion. The fact that you are not a burglar also means that you’ll be devoid of doing anything that exciting, like hiding in the shadows from Uncle Barry who ate too much Turkey on thanksgiving as he runs to the toilet. In fact, the game has you just pressing directional arrows on the bottom screen to navigate.

Navigation defies logic in so many forms, in some sections you will often need to push the forward arrow, left arrow, right arrow and left arrow again just to get around a piece of furniture. Bizarre. To best describe the way this game operates in visual and movement would be old PC logic games such as Myst and Riven. Graphically everything looks pretty average and the sound compression is pretty bad also, you’ll often hear crackles as the samples have been squeezed to inch of their lives to get on the cart.

So unnecessarily awkward navigation aside, does this game actually play well? No. In fact JoWood the makers of the game (not to be confused with Jedward, the squeamish reality TV sensations) have left the game extremely inaccessible for the average player. One look through the thin instruction manual and you’re still left without a clue on how to solve any puzzles. The game has no hint system to help the player if they get remotely stuck and for most people this is a big stumbling block. The puzzles themselves involve sliding blocks, meddling with alphanumeric characters and rotating dials to gain access to safes. Had JoWood spiced it up by giving us an insight into the lives of the uber-rich with some rather seedy and embarrassing items left behind by the old man, it would of made it enjoyable indeed but as such just items that offer nothing to the enjoyment of the game.

Where the game could have improved was to provide us with a third person free roaming movement and some interactivity with other characters in the game wouldn’t have gone a miss. You could be mistaken for being in the mansion completely alone, none of the graphical detail has anything to relate to, nor does it create a sub-plot so in essence you could have played this title in a wireframe world for all the lack of any content to buffer up the experience.

If you do happen to stem through the game and enjoy some of the puzzles, there is an additional puzzle mode whereby you can play through all of the different safes and items you are hacking into. In some respects the game should have just given us 50-something of these puzzles and remove the story mode out of it completely, it would have provided more value for money and by throwing in a reward system it could have been a rather unique game and marketed at a lower price. As such this decision wasn’t made and we’re back to where we started, inside a mansion with 35 safe’s with presumably impatient money grubbing relatives tentatively waiting to see who’s got the keys to the Jaguar sitting in the car porch.

Safecracker DS is marketed as the “Ultimate Puzzle Adventure” but we can tell you that it’s the “Ultimate Bore fest”. We’d go as far as saying that Sudoku is more of a thrill ride. Play it ‘Safe’ and give this one a miss.

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Safecracker DS Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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