on 31 January 2011
In a nutshell: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors is an absolute stunner of a game and will give you the kind of mature gaming experience that only the thrills of running along a knife-edge can provide. Once you get into it you genuinely won't be able to put it down until you've seen it through to the end. I simply can't recommend it highly enough.
If you've ever read a "Turn to page 15 if you choose the path on the left" style adventure novel then you'll feel a warm feeling of nostalgia as you pick this title up. You start off waking up in a strange room. As you're thrown in at the deep end it soon becomes very apparent that the next 9 hours are going to be a matter of life and death. The choices you make are going to be essential to getting yourself, and your 8 other erstwhile companions out alive. You're constantly asking yourself the questions "Who are they?" "Why are they here?" and most importantly and immediately, "Who will I trust?" The game does a fantastic job of feeding you a breadcrumb trail of delicious answers which only make you want to delve in further. The characters are what truly make this game and you'll find yourself bonding with them, distrusting them, and working desperately to protect them as the plot unwinds. The connections you build up increase the immersion and make each moment of revelation all the more emotionally involved. There are some fantastic jaw-droppers in there - very few games manage to really make you feel the twists and you should prepare to be completely floored at least once.
The gameplay itself divides itself between adventure book narrative and Crimson Room-style "Seek a way out!!" escape segments. If there's criticism to be leveled here then it's to be leveled at the puzzles, some of which are pitched a little too easy, even to the point where on one occasion there's even a scrap of paper simply lying around with the answer. Still, there are also some good head-scratchers in there and the room sections play an essential part in building up the atmosphere, pulling in your involvement and further developing the plot. The music and sound effects are subtle and spot on timing-wise, kicking in with a sinister backdrop exactly when needed - so do avoid playing with the sound off.
The real puzzle however is the game itself, each of the 6 question marks of your save file represents a tantalizing truth to seek out. Thanks to an ingenious number-based central game mechanic and the labyrinthine nature of the game, you'll be scribbling down numbers, maps, sub-plots, and conspiracy theories, trying to tie everything together, stay one step ahead, and figure out what on earth is going on around you. When you do finally get to the very, very, very bottom of it all, the conclusion is absolutely worth the journey and in one beautiful eureka moment it will all come into focus at last.
It should be noted that 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors does come with an M for mature rating on the front. It's appropriate given the content and emotional involvement of the game; however at the end of the day you'll be very pleased the game doesn't patronize you and instead delivers a refreshingly compelling experience that will genuinely involve you in a way that's truly rare to see.
on 28 August 2011
I don't know where to start with this game. It has certainly earned itself a place in my favourite games list, right at the very top.
The gameplay has two modes. There is story mode, and puzzle mode. It should be pointed out that for the most part, this is a visual novel. Of course, puzzle mode means there is actually gameplay, but it is extremely text heavy. Don't let this put you off though, because it all comes together beautifully.
I normally hate puzzles. Whenever I play games like Layton, I rush them and just focus on the storyline. 999 puzzles are different. They are fun, and for once I didn't need a walkthrough. This is a change, and I normally get extremely frustrated by the amount of illogical decisions made in game puzzles. I've heard some say they are too easy, but I didn't think this. Just right level of difficulty I think.
The story in this game, is incredible. The game has 6 endings, and you can only truly appreciate this game once you've played all 6. Don't worry, once you've completed the game once, you can speed through text you've already seen.
The characters seemed hollow at first, but soon after spending time with them on different playthroughs, you start to learn more about them, and their personalities. I soon loved all of them, and found them all interesting.
The music is great, and fits with the themes 100%. I was really impressed by it, actually.
I don't have anything bad to say about this game...
I was hesitant to buy it initially, because of the price. It hasn't had an EU release, which explains it's slightly higher price tag. It is worth every penny though. I wish I could get amnesia to experience this game again!
No excuses, order it now. It's amazing.
on 10 May 2012
I personally found this game great. As a fan of the Hotel Dusk and Phoenix Wright games, I was sitting on the fence with this for ages because I was aware of the disturbing nature (though I didn't know anything of what the story entailed). Now that I bought it (I actually bought mine over in New York due to the scarcity it did have on this site), I cannot believe how good it turned out to be. If you too are a fan of the games mentioned above, all I can say is get this game!
I understand people may not like the fact it is text heavy and the actual game play is particularly easy, however it is truly worth it if you are into the graphic novel genre, and thoroughly enjoy really perplexing story lines and character development.
The only thing I have to say is that I severely suggest Amazon rejig the rating it has been given (at the moment, this site says 12+). Seriously not recommended for gamers this young, as the packaging actually says 17+ mature, and rightly so. I'm 18, and even I was a little creeped out by some of the content - heavy gore, violence, language and psychologically disturbing (surprisingly a lot can be said by choice pictures and heavy description/implication). I was expecting this due to the supplied rating on package, however I would be lying if I said I wasn't effected at all. But it is really entertaining - kind of like a horror/thriller in some aspects (to me anyway).
I very much recommend it to older gamers who are into this genre.
on 29 November 2012
I bought this game because of the sequel, funnily enough (Virtue's Last Reward, now out on 3DS and Vita), and realised, through a forum, that I would enjoy that game much better if I bought this one. I am extremely glad I did, as it is one of the best games on the DS I have ever played.
You are Junpei, a college student who has been kidnapped, along with eight others (the nine persons), and is forced to take part in something called the 'Nonary Game', where you have nine hours to get off a ship before it explodes, and to do that, you have to go through nine different doors (I guess the clue is in the title) If you break the rules, you risk death due to the un-removable bracelet attached to your arm.
There are two segments to this game - the 'Novel' Mode and the 'Puzzle' mode. The Novel mode, as it suggests, it there to further the story. A lot of time will be spent clicking through a lot of text, but you don't mind because of how well it is written.
The writing in this game is some of the best I have ever seen in a gaming medium. It really gets you into Junpei's head, and allows you to feel what he feels, and conveys the utter terror all the partcipants must be feeling. Occasionally you will have to make various choices from dialog options, and what you choose can have a real effect on the outcome of the game.
The Puzzle mode is also quite satisfying. You might come across a door that requires a swipe card to unlock, for example - to find this you will have to collect what can seem like quite a disparate bunch of objects together and work out what they can be used for. You will sometimes have to combine items together once you find them, in order to advance in the puzzle as well. I found the vast majority of puzzles to be very satisfying, and I was able to solve them without looking at a guide, and even the one I had trouble with was not unfair design, just my own failing (I handed the DS over to my wife and she had it sorted in 2 minutes).
With six different endings to get, this game offers a lot of replayabiity value as well, and it is fun trying the different combination of doors, and making different choices, to see how everything then plays out.
There are a couple of niggles - the speed of the text in the game is very slow, and, on the first run-through, there is no way to speed it up. Thankfully, on subsequent run-throughs you can just push the right button in the D-Pad and you can fast forward through text you have already seen. It will not let you do this for new text, though.
Also, you do have to go through the game from the beginning every time - there are no options to immediately revisit critical choices and just start from there. That is mildly frustrating, but chances are that on the third or fourth playthrough you'll be able to fast-forward most of the text and solve the puzzles in 5 minutes, so it doesn't take too long to get back to those critical points.
Finally, one warning: This game is very mature, and features blood and swearing. It is rated 17+ in the States for a reason, and I do not recommend this game for children.
Also, this is very much a visual novel, which (with exceptions such as Phoenix Wright) we don't see very much of over here in the West. If sitting through reams of text does not appeal to you, it may be better to look elsewhere.
In conclusion, if you are an adult who enjoys excellent storytelling and giving your brain a workout, I thoroughly recommend this game. The go and buy the sequel :)
on 9 September 2011
If you like games like Hotel Dusk, Phoenix Wright, Professor Layton etc. then this is another to add to your collection of puzzle/story 'games'. I really enjoyed playing this but I should remind you that it is really more like reading a book. I'm used to playing these sorts of games with pages of text to read and a bit of gameplay here and there, but if that's not your cup of tea then this game isn't for you. Even I thought it was a bit text heavy but the puzzles themselves made up for it because I found them great fun and sometimes quite tricky (had to use a walkthrough a few times).
The story is what makes this game great. The characters each have a backstory which you slowly unravel and the music always goes well with the situation you are in. To get the most out of this game you have to play through it a fair few times to get the 'true' ending. Even if it means you look up how to get it online, you have to play the true ending because there's a massive section of the game/story you miss out on if you don't.
Once you have played the true ending, there's not much replay value in this game sadly. I haven't resold my copy yet, but I also haven't picked it up again since completing it. In a couple of years though, I might play it again (like re-reading a book).
This game wasn't released in the UK for some reason. Don't worry though, the American version should work on your DS no problem.
on 20 October 2012
I'm a real fan of these visual novel games with some good puzzlin' thrown in, and this game is by far the best. You are Junpei, one of 9 people trapped on a huge ship. You have to play the Nonary game to escape which is explained in the game itself. There is a little bit of maths skills required to play this game but it's not too hard.
The puzzles range from easy to quite hard and I had to consult a walkthrough on a couple of occasions but only because my patience is limited. I could have figured them out eventually.
Some of the events/descriptions are quite grisly and the language is quite salty in places. But that's cool, it's refreshing to play something with a mature flavour.
There's a little romance too with the mystery but very tame. The best thing about 999 is the multiple endings. On each different playthrough you can access different rooms/puzzles and find out more about the different characters.
I LOVE this game!
on 7 February 2011
9 hours 9 persons 9 doors is NOT your average puzzle game. Its barely a puzzle game actually; it's a virtual novel with added "escape the room" puzzles. So if your not a fan of lots of text, skip this game but the story is solid and amazing. (Beware some spoilers!).
999 (for short), is probably the BEST DS game out there, it's really annoying however that it has to imported over here and it's not set to release in the UK anytime soon but the higher price is definatly worth it! The main story is you play as Junpei, a college kid who wakes up on a ship in a 3rd class cabin. His only exit is a door with a big  painted onto it and a strange device next to it. Your thrown straight into the "escape" section within with first 5 minutes, but beware, some puzzles are VERY challenging, others not so much. As you progress through the game, you meet the other 8 participants of the "Nonary" game who have been kidnapped and found themselves in the same situation as Junpei with the numbered doors in their room too which corresponds to their bracelet number. Each person is given a number 1-9 which allows them to access certain doors depending if their numbers add up to a door.
As there are 9 doors, you first have the option between door  and  and you can only choose one. Your door choices and conversations affect the outcome of the game and of course, who lives and who ends up dead (sometimes even Junpei)and what you uncover about the other characters pasts. There are a total of 6 endings, 1 ending is a dummy which you achieve by following the "True Ending" path without getting the "Safe Ending" first which cuts the game short so multiple playthroughs are essential to get to go through every door and get every ending which adds to the replay value. A great feature is you can skip through text you've already seen and it automatically stops when you reach new text you've not read before. You can't however, skip the puzzles, so everytime you start again to get a new ending, you have to replay that annoying 3rd class cabin which by then, you'll have memorized the case combinations! You can also go back and play the rooms again after you've completed them (except for the very last puzzle in the true ending which really annoyed me as you have to go back again through everything to get to it!). Overall, the first playthrough took me a good 5-6 hours (mainly because of the text but I didn't mind) and the others take around 3 hours each but really it depends how quickly you solve the puzzle rooms.
The characters are very quirky and as I said earlier, your choices affect each one of them, except the "9th Man", who's fate you cannot change as you don't get to make any choice yet. They're all very loveable and believable and you learn to like and dislike certain characters fairly quickly such as the blind man, "Snake" and his sister "Clover". The plot is very clever and expect a few twists along the way and you WILL be surprised at the outcomes to each endings, some will make you cry, some will make you scream and some will make you think "Oh my god..".
Overall, it's an amazing game that won't disappoint, beware though, it's rated 17+ for a reason, and I'm 15 and it did creep me out a bit. There is blood, murder and so much more so don't buy this for under 13's as it's very complicated sometimes and gory. But it is probably the most amazing DS game ever made and you really won't be disappointed! :-)
(And it works for my DSi even though it's imported from America!) :D
on 5 September 2012
This game is an unhidden gem on the ds, the story is absoloutley superb with great twists, characters and plots. This game will keep you engrossed till the very end. MUST BUY for DS or 3DS!
on 1 July 2015
This game reminds me of what might happen if you took a traditional text adventure, that you got on old computers like the C64, and combined it with a game you can interact with, like a point and click adventure.
It gives you an interesting premise, which hinges on the mystery of why you have been taken to this place with 8 other people. You'll learn about "digital roots" and other characters will drop gigantic truth bombs on you - some of which are based on urban myths, so not all of it is 100% based on reality - but the one regarding the fiction writer and Titanic is!
The game is quite short if you solve the puzzles quickly (which vary in difficulty - most are quite easy if you've played lots of puzzle games - others are trickier and just require you to be very thorough) and the characters will help you with clues the more you examine things, if you need it.
Despite the game's short length, there's still a lot to see, since the point of the game is that there are several endings. They are triggered by your choices and who you choose to team up with during the game, like any other visual novel. I have only got 3 so far, the game seems to imply there are 6. Don't worry, once you've beaten it, you can fast-forward the text until you arrive at the important choices (although you do have to complete each puzzle section, even if you have done it before, but if you know what to do, it doesn't take very long).
Overall I would recommend trying this game if you like puzzle games, and if you are OK with a LOT of reading. I know people who say "When am I going to play the game?!?!" when they play games like this, if you are one of those, perhaps exercise caution. It is more visual novel than puzzle - comparable to Ace Attorney in terms of the reading level, perhaps more, since it's written in the third person. If you don't mind that, then you're in for some mindblowing conspiracy theory puzzle shenanigans!
on 31 December 2012
I'd been looking for a game like this on the DS for a long, long time. When I booted it up for the first time and started to play I was really made up; it was everything I was looking for: exploration, puzzles, interaction, atmosphere...
I'd heard from previous reviews that there was a lot of dialogue but that didn't put me off. Playing for the first time, you accept that loads of dialogue is par for the course. However, my beef is in the 'saving' aspect of the game. After I was killed for the first time I assumed that I'd have the ability to go back to where I'd last saved i.e before the last door I'd chosen. When this didn't happen I thought I'd done something wrong saving-wise; but I don't think so? I seem to have to play the whole thing from the beginning again with the copious amount of accompanying dialogue. If I'm missing something please tell me as I would sincerely like to finish the game but, as it is, it'll be a very, very long time before I pick it up again because I CAN'T KEEP REPEATING IT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!