here’s very few games I can think of that I’ve played for 64 hours or more, on Switch I think it’s only Animal Crossing. You’d hardly be alone with getting addicted to Picross in that way, there’ll be loads of folk who slurp up everything Picross-related they can get. As for me, I enjoyed what I played of Picross DS well enough but bounced off of Picross 3D pretty sharpish. That SEGA one on Switch didn’t hold my interest either. It’s not a game series that I’m mad for.
I’ve no experience with the Fatal Frame games, but I know they’re all about ghost-killing photography and all that Happy Halloween
spookiness. So you’d imagine that bringing that premise to the camera-equipped 3DS is a conceptually sound idea, right? And making a whole game about it – which they did in 2012, called Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
– should be a worthwhile and successful experiment, aye? Hmm…
Less of a game and more of an occasionally interactive slideshow, Spirit Camera has you utilising your 3DS as The Camera Obscura, a mysterious device that enables spirit photographers to see supernatural phenomena inside of a cursed book called The Purple Diary. The game’s progression has you find ways to solve the riddles of the diary and escape it’s sinister curse. That’s performed by battling ghosts using the 3DS’s cameras, the system’s gyro sensors and Augmented Reality alongside an accompanying Diary of Faces, a ‘real’ sixteen-page AR booklet that’s required to play the game. In all truth though, the game is just about unplayable even using it.
A ridiculously shite game by 2023 standards, the 3DS’s technology is wholly ill-equipped for the game’s concept. The steam off of my piss is more powerful than the 3DS’s camera. The problem created by that and where Spirit Camera falls down immediately is that the gameplay requires you to play in a very well-lit environment. Trying to play in the dark, with just a bedside lamp on or even in natural daylight means that the AR functions just won’t work. You’d get pretty much the same experience by having your system turned off – just with much less frustration. I played Spirit Camera directly under a high-strength and harsh LED lightbulb, but even that didn’t let me consistently recognise the pages of the AR book. Playing a horror game under bright light: honestly, what a load of bollocks.
None of it’s worth the hassle either. The puzzles don’t show off the 3DS’s AR capabilities in any impressive manner, instead only highlighting it’s severe limitations. The combat sequences are slow, shallow and don’t amount to much more than spinning the 3DS around in a circle and hitting R when you see a ghost on screen. The narrative is rubbish too, it had me hammering the A button International Track & Field-style so that I could get past the cutscenes as quickly as possible. There’s nothing specifically positive to say about Spirit Camera’s production, gameplay, ideas and mastery of the 3DS hardware – it’s one of these rare games where they’ve made a horse’s ar…se of every aspect of it. Even its lifespan is dubious; I know I should be thankful that it lasted less than three hours, but that’s a complete rip-off for a game that I’m embarrassed to admit I paid £30 for last year. In my defence I thought it would go up in value as a gimmicky trinket! Ironically though, it’s near-worthless as an experience.
It's so much poorer than I expected. Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir is miles worse than Face Raiders, the free AR game that came preloaded onto your 3DS. 2/10