Earlier this year, I played a little Nintendo DS puzzle game called 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. It’s quite brilliant; a quirky Japanese visual novel with an enormous brain and heart hiding behind all the lame puns. Since completing it in January, I’ve been preaching the gospel of 999 to anyone with a Nintendo DS and an open ear. Now, that quest is about to get a little easier. As of today, Japanese fans can purchase a version of the game for any device with iOS 5.1 or above. This port comes without puzzles and includes the story map from 999‘s sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward. If you can’t read Japanese or access the Japan iTunes store, you may have to wait a little bit for an English version.
According to Patrick Klepek of Giant Bomb, Kotaro Uchikoshi – the creator of the Zero Escape series – has commented on the possibility of 999 iOS for the Japanese illiterate. According to Uchikoshi, an English version will come out “by autumn”, but we don’t have any official confirmation from 999‘s North American publisher, Aksys Games.
This is simultaneously a great and terrible idea. Ports are generally a positive thing: they expand a game’s audience beyond a certain platform and could result in a talented developer earning more recognition and/or sick wads of cash. But, on the other hand (for reasons I could not begin to communicate, even if I wanted to), changing the platform and removing the puzzles will almost certainly have a negative impact on players’ overall thoughts on 999‘s tale. Now, the multiplatform Virtue’s Last Reward could work, but everything about 999 was designed for the DS, even the story. Trust me, iOS is not the ideal platform for this wonderful game.