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Generally favorable reviews- based on 142 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 142

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  1. Dec 7, 2010
    Very fun, very well done story, neat trick to the real ending. this is a game that should not be missed be fans of puzzle games, phoenix wright, or great story telling. Warning it is rated Mature for a reason
  2. Jan 1, 2011
    Visual novels simply don't get better than this! Incredibly well-written, creepy horror adventure with paranormal overtones, starring nine hapless people forced to play a deadly game in a ship rigged to sink in nine hours. Over a dozen routes, six endings, and potentially over 20 hours of spine-chilling terror. Granted, it's more about reading than playing, the puzzle sections aren't terribly challenging, and there's fair bit of restarting and fast-forwarding already played content in order to get to the bottom of it all but still, for me this one turned out to be the Game of the Year! Expand
  3. Jan 19, 2011
    The game starts out well with interesting puzzles and a decent story but this quickly goes downhill. The puzzles are well thought out but are too few with the last being a disappointing sudoku. As well , while you're trying to solve the puzzles you are constantly being interrupted for another piece of story which can be very game breaking. The story along with the concept of being trapped in a Saw or Cube type of scenario is exciting at first but quickly becomes bland. This isn't helped by the fact you must repeat the game at least twice to get the true ending (which is highly unlikely if you truly want to play all the puzzles). Presenting the player with a large Titanic-sized ship setting, and then not allowing any exploration is frustrating to say the least. You are locked into a very linear storyline, only able to make a handful of actual player decisions. This all adds up to being a decent visual novel that you have to read at least twice and with little to no game play. Expand
  4. Dec 20, 2011
    Do you like reading a good story? If so, there is a good chance you will love this game. 999 is a puzzle adventure game, but I think it can be better classified as a Japanese visual novel with some puzzles. The puzzles mostly take a backseat to the story, but are sometimes nicely weaved into the story itself. But like I said, this game is not about the puzzles. It is about the incredibly well-written story that will slowly reveal it's secrets. There are multiple endings, which means you will have to play the game several times. Luckily you can skip the text you have already read in a previous play-through. What puts this game high on my Top Games of All Time list, is the scene surrounding the final puzzle of the game. The puzzle itself is nothing really special, but the moments leading up to that screen left my hands shaking and I just stared at the screen for a few moments before continuing. Even as I write this review, I'm taken back to that moment and relive some of that glory. That all being said, I have to say that this will probably be very different for most people. I wrote this review to show my respects to this game. Also, the actual end scene still left a few plot holes. Let me close by saying that if you like a good book and don't shy away for a few competent puzzles, you will probably love this game as much as I do, though maybe not in the same way. Collapse
  5. Dec 5, 2010
    The narrative is intriguing and the characters are as compelling as the puzzles and decisions. You get a good feeling of accomplishment without getting stuck too often. The art is simple but looks good and the sound goes along nicely without standing out too much. You'll probably, though, miss a text speed switch as you read over never ending instructions on how to enter a number in a case but that becomes a lesser issue at later stages in the game. Very recommended. Expand
  6. Dec 17, 2010
    Astonishing story, it is easily the best story of any game this year. I was simply spellbound during the entire game, going without food, going without sleep, it is just fantastic.
  7. Mar 29, 2011
    Be prepared to read. This is an interactive fiction story first, puzzle game second. I went into 9 Hours thinking the opposite and was sorta disappointed. The murder-mystery story however will actively carry you along and make you pine for each action-sensitive ending. Decent game, but only worth a rent, I'd say.
  8. Aug 23, 2012
    This game is awful. Let me preface that right off the bat. This is not a game.

    What this is, is a visual novel. For those unfamiliar with the term, visual novels are quite literally, novels with visual elements, which can include pictures, videos, and the occasional interactive element. They are a mainstay of Japanese "gaming" and hold a special place in the hearts of lonely individuals
    with poor person skills and social anxiety disorders. What visual novels aren't, are fun.

    The typical 'VN' as they are called, involves hours of text and left mouse clicks. You do not play a VN, merely slog through mind numbing monologues and so called character interaction. This proves to be a fatal flaw in gaming design, because games are supposed to be interactive and ENJOYABLE. There is nothing enjoyable about reading hours of text, staring and two dimensional cell shaded characters. The VN 'problem' stems from the Japanese culture itself. In Japanese gaming, the 'player' is relegated to the role of passive observer. You the player are never allowed to make real choices in a VN, and that same mix of culture and poor design crash head on in 999, rending it a bloody horrid, abortion of game design.

    At it's heart, 999 is supposed to be a puzzle-solving adventure game where nine individuals are thrown together by sinister circumstances and are forced to come face to face with their pasts and the deadly traps set before them by an unknown antagonist; promising to be an exciting and enthralling tale of treachery, intrigue, and murder. Unfortunately you're forced to wade through miles of feces before you can get to eat your cake, and no you don't get to shower before it either.

    Here's the problem. It's a point and click adventure game that locks you into limited, individual set piece rooms to explore. You will not get to explore anything but what have been chosen for you to enter. Nor will you get to even choose which rooms to enter. Sure, you might be presented with a choice of enter door number 1 or door number 2, but you will never be allowed to visit door number 2 should you choose door number 1. Sadly, this heavily restricts a game that could have had a great potential as you will never find multi-room puzzles, puzzles that span the length of the game, or be able to enjoy exploring the environment around you. You are locked in a linear rail ride from one predetermined set piece to another with no chance to affect any subtle changes to the plot or events that can transpire.

    The game uses the archaic programming method common in VNs where specific plot events trigger specific plot lines via the few text 'choices' you are given. This means that the only effect you will ever have on the game's progression, is picking one text option over another. Everything you do in solving the puzzles is instantly rendered meaningless, as the plot is always locked into one of 6 predetermined outcomes. For a game based on intrigue, treachery, survival, and psychological horror, this proves to be a great detriment for the game, as a single "bad choice" will result in outcomes you can see coming from a mile away, simply because you the player are not allowed the option of picking up an item. That's right. This is a terrible game, because it won't let you pick up a plot critical item. Forcing you replay the game over and over hunting down "right choices". In a genre where every good player knows to loot the very last insignificant nail off a wall, the game binds your hands and prevents you from ever being able to interact with items that simply picking them up would alter the course of the game because it does not allow you to explore, and that is why it is not a good game. Hell, it's not even a game.
  9. Jan 8, 2011
    Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors is so compelling you will not be able to put it down until you have completed it, even then you will be longing for more. This has the most intriguing story-line of any game yet, easily out-doing the likes of the Phoenix Wright series, which have an amazing story-line, but 999 just blazes past it in caomparison. The expertly spellbound story-line will keep you well entertained, a deathly game with many great puzzles.

    The best thing about 999 is the amazingly tantalizing multiple endings, depending on how well you do in the game, all the endings are compelling. The characters are well suited, many that throughout the game you will learn to love. Despit the high price is well worth it, worth even 10 times the amount. You would have to be mad to miss out on this magical gaming experience!
  10. Jan 26, 2011
    I've played many great games, but none have ever had a story that compares to 999. The gameplay was puzzling the first couple times through the game, which honestly leaves the only problem in the replays, but going through to achieve the best is well worth it. I personally think it's the best game of 2010 and definitely worth buying.
  11. Apr 27, 2011
    I'll start this off by saying Layton and phoenix wright are a tiring formula for me. All the text does not make for a fun game. I'm a graduate student working as a phd and the fact that I found it tricky turned me off. New ways of playing are nice but really like pulling teeth for me. I don't like games with 50% gameplay 50% cut scenes. This felt like one long cut scene. Over rated at best and not my genre. Repetitive text based scenes got flashbacks to zork. Expand
  12. Nov 24, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The choices in this game are very limited and poorly structured. The game seems to assume that the player wants to be a "good guy". I think there should have been more options. For example, there is a part where the team finds a gun. They will say things like "it's obviously a trap" and "it's to get them to turn on one another". So the game forces you to leave the gun there. Well obviously now that people know it's there they can go back and pick it up (ultimately this does happen by the way and the gun is used against the player and the other good team mates), so it doesn't really make sense that the game absolutely FORCES the player to leave it behind against their will. If I were in that situation, I would have picked it up in fear that someone else may go back and get it. Of course, this is just one example but there are situations like this throughout almost the entire game. Another thing that I don't like is that there is no real line of logic that the player can apply to their choices in order to yield a good ending. In other words, if you get the good ending, you probably just got lucky. You have to choose between doors 4 and 5, then 3, 7, and 8, and finally 1, 2, or 6. After that point, your ending has already been determined through your course of action. In my first playthrough, I tried to play logically. I left people behind if necessary, and I did whatever I thought it would take to get the good ending. Obviously, that didn't work. So I figured, well maybe the game is trying to make me act selflessly, so I tried this. Still no luck. My next playthrough, I just picked some random ass combination of doors with no real logic as to which one I would choose. Still no luck. By this time, I had been playing the game for at least 15 hours. At least the game lets you skip what you've already done, but rather than just selecting "skip scene", you have to hold right on the d-pad to quickly scroll through text. Not a huge inconvenience, but it can still take a while, and it's a pain in a game like this that the player needs to go through multiple times in order to get everything. Anyway, back to my original point - So are you telling me that if I pick doors 4, 8, and 2 (this would yield a bad ending), that clearly I suck at the game and I should have to do the whole thing over? Yet if I pick doors 4, 7, and 1, clearly I'm awesome and I deserve a good ending? Each door is as much of a mystery as the others, and there is no real logic behind which one you should pick. In other words, the game doesn't reward players for thinking critically and carefully planning their course of action. You'll might as well just pick random combinations of doors until you happen to get lucky and get the good ending. Now I want to cover my hugest problem with the game's structure. In order to get the good ending, there is a very specific bad ending that you need to get, often referred to as the "safe ending". To get this ending, you need to go through doors 5, 8, and 6. But you also need to check a safe in room 5 before you leave the room, but AFTER unlocking the door. This is very cryptic. On one playthrough, I actually did this, because I was curious about the safe. However, I didn't know that after that I would have to go through door 8 and then 6. How was I supposed to know? Even if you DO check the safe after unlocking the door, you have to take two 1/3 chances consecutively after that by picking the correct doors. So once again, I would have to do the whole game over again. There is also a "coffin ending" (which I got). In the coffin ending, you have to make all of the choices that would normally yield the good ending, which is basically the same exact thing as the good ending but you don't know the password to the coffin in the coffin ending. So obviously, nobody wants or needs to see the coffin ending. However, if the player happened to get the safe ending, and then you got the good ending, it gives you credit for completing the coffin ending. This may confuse players and cause them to erase all of their save data in order to see what this ending was that they now couldn't get, not knowing that it was just a shortened version of the good ending. After all of this complaining, you might be wondering why I gave the game a 7 out of 10. It's simple - In spite of all of these problems, and the relatively easy puzzles throughout the game (By the way, the final puzzle in the game is an easy sodoku puzzle. That should put things in to perspective as far as the game's difficulty), the story still kept me entertained and wanting to see what would happen next. If the thought of a story involving curses, ESP, unsolved ancient mysteries, and a game of life and death appeals to you, then you should try this game out. But remember, don't bother taking the game seriously at all and trying to plan a detailed course of action, as the game's poor structure makes it too luck based. Perhaps it's better to view it as a story, not a game. Expand
  13. Nov 5, 2011
    Excellent story, and makes it's way on my Top 10 DS games at position 1. Sublime narrative, great puzzles, likeable characters, has everything to be what it is: a must have for the system. Looking forward to it's sequel on 3DS and Vita.
  14. Feb 15, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really don't know what to say, I think everything I'd say about this game wouldn't help make it sound or look as good as it actually is. Words would just ruin it. I guess in a way I'm implying this game is "better than me"? Well that's silly of course, but this visual novel... it's just, mind-blowing. A premise I often make: maybe I'm just not so genre-savvy, as I admit I always liked "mystery novels" but I can't remember reading/playing many of them, so perhaps there's more works out there that manage union of twists and plausibility THIS good that I don't know of, and I apologize for this lack of mine that will inevitably influence the review. I apologize because, unlike the low yet noticeable amount of people who like to bash visual novels for being what they are supposed to be, I am aware that one should not go about reviewing without any knowledge about genres. All I'm saying is that life is a bit more complicated than your homemade "0 bias gud bias bad" beliefs seem to make you think: I would never complain about a piece of electronic music for its lack of guitars, therefore, even though I hate with a passion the relativist attitude of "if u dont like it just dont watch it", in this case it has another sense, which is that of "don't look for interactivity and major gameplay in something that is more structured to be a read rather than anything else", as suggested, by the way, by the small amount and extreme simplicity of the puzzles in the game (which, in my opinion, is like one of the few flaws of the game, but seeing as, for starters, as I said they were probably intended to be so for the player to advance in the READING and, also, they are perfectly integrated in the plot and in many, many ways). That said, the game has anything a reader should look forward to. It has a deep, intricate plot, it turns the common mechanic of visual novels of replaying with different choices into an obligatory feature that turns out to have a meta explanation, making all the endings canonical. Every little conversation and lines from the characters that didn't seem relevant end up being essential. Personally I was surprised by the plot twists all the time: I automatically and smugly always assumed the most absurd resolution and then thought "nah can't be it", I was constantly expecting plot resolutions that wouldn't live up to the expectation and the hype the game itself was slowly injecting into me at every playthrough. And yet the disappointment never arrived. You can really tell these guys worked hard on the plot, I suggest you read the interviews with the game creator that tell you a bit about the creative process behind it (but not before having completed the whole game, or you are in for some massive spoilers). Sometimes I wish I could just erase my memory and feel once again the thrill of every plot twist there was, but that hedonistic wish is annihilated by the fact that the plot still leaves one in awe even after knowing everything. The twists are great and a major plot element, but you can tell they worked hard on the writing to make them fit as good as they could and, I admit, in some points the consistency gets a bit weak, but they are, like, literally one or two points I would complain about honestly, and even with them I dare you to look for something that did a better job at fulfilling your expectations of "what's the mystery's solution gonna be like". I give the game a 9. Appropriate and ironic, for obvious reasons, and because a 10 would probably be out of instincts due to the fact that I just finished the game and I'm still thrilled. Still, it's not perfect. They could (although I would never dare to ask for this AS WELL, or I would be asking for near perfection, and therefore giving out a legit 10/10) make the puzzles a bit more complicated, and the final resolution could have a bit more sense, but... yeah, the argument is pretty much "another bit of effort and it could be perfect", and that my friends is what "9" means. The graphics are very cool, but I think they could have added some more animations to them. Especially Clover, for most of the bad routes (and good) she's supposed to look catatonic, instead they just recycle her sad sprite. Nonetheless animation is very fluid. This is meta, has time travel, has a "Saw" setting mixed with, I don't know, Liar Game, had number symbolisms all over the place (I'm a sucker for those), it had that rewarding distribution of "90% of the game will look normal, then suddenly paranormal and put your ds upside down" that really gives emphasis to all of it, it has paranormal mysteries a-la Fringe but perhaps more plausible (negative shoutout intended), great characters/subverted stereotypes, actual relevance of any freaking word of the entire novel for the player's understanding of the mystery (and two red herrings, alright, but those turn out ot be maybe not so much of red herrings after all with the, unfortunately, open ending). Just, wow. Expand
  15. Jun 20, 2013
    Engaging story and the puzzles were pretty manageable for the most part. I was hooked, and wanted to find out everything in the story. Great music that accompanied what was going on in the game.A lack of a flowchart to pick where you want to start from again was annoying since you had to skip text for a chunk of time. This is a must play for the DS.
  16. Feb 19, 2013
    A masterpiece. Just like Saw, where one person captures others for a "survival game" with puzzles, so is this game. The characters are all very different and interesting. One very good thing I just have to note about it is that you will probably not get stuck in this game. Being good on puzzles will help you solve them faster, and if you take too long to solve a puzzle the characters will have a say in their own perspective about the puzzle(aka hints). The longer you take, more hints, so even if you aren't very good at puzzles, you will eventually solve them. You are given multiple choices throughout the game, something that encourages replays. In conclusion get this game, it's amazing.(P.S. contains some bloody events) Expand
  17. Jul 25, 2013
    More of an interactive novel with some little puzzles to solve thrown in than a traditional game, but it's an engaging one that is definitely worth it. The only reason I've even heard of this game is that I bought a Vita and was looking at well-reviewed games for it. The sequel to this game is on Vita, but a lot of people said to play 999 first. I'm glad I did. I can't wait for the sequel.
  18. May 13, 2011
    This game is unlike anything you have ever played before in your life. If you hate reading then this largely text based adventure may bother you, but they aren't very long and very engaging so it shouldn't be a problem. The puzzles are extremely clever and the game properly gives you hints if you have difficulty solving them; I never had to resort to a walkthrough. The characters grow on you at an amazing rate and by the time you are done with the game you will love them. The repetition was annoying at first but each playthrough offers different puzzles and there is a convenient fast forward feature. Overall, this game has largely been ignore but it is without a doubt a hidden jewel of the year. Absolutely amazing. Expand
  19. Feb 16, 2013
    The story is, like 99% of videogame stories, tripe. And for a game that is 95% story, that renders the game bad. Some of the puzzles are interesting, but they are so limited and so far between each other, I cannot recommend this game. I recommend reading Grospoliner's review here on Metacritic, especially the part about what kind of people really love this type of Japanese visual novel, and watching some Youtube gameplay videos before purchasing. Expand
  20. Apr 7, 2011
    I was very impressed with Nine hours, nine persons, nine doors. The story was simply enthralling and the characters are some of the most interesting characters I've seen in a video game. First of all, if you don't like story driven games, or reading, then I wouldn't recommend this game, because you will be reading a lot. The art style works and the music goes well too. I kind of wish that they put in just a little voice acting at certain parts, or maybe a few cut scenes that were not push a button and read. Each playthrough probably last around 8 hours, but I guarantee you will want to play it for a different ending. I only played through twice before I got the "True" ending, but I'm sure it could push you past 30 hours if you went for all of them. I highly recommend doing this, because you will appreciate the story the more you know about the characters and the plot. The game, though lengthy, left me thinking and made me want more. I truly hope that Aksys Games decides to continue with the series and maybe make a game similar to this, or perhaps even a sequel. The puzzles in the game are fun and clever, and the story will have you glued to your DS to find out what happens next. Expand
  21. Apr 3, 2011
    Adventure games on Nintendo DS have already seen many great entries such as Phoenix Wright, Time Hollow or Hotel Dusk, but 999 is really something else: mixing visual novel narrative and adventure sections, it's probably the most captivating videogame of his genre I have ever played. The true ending is something that will leave you speechless, so don't abandon the game after having seen one of its minor endings. Expand
  22. Feb 28, 2013
    If you hate story driven games and screens filled with words, static images, few animations and basically no action, go away and never return: I say this because it's basically a visual novel game, and in that regard it can be either hated or loved by people depending on their tastes. So, with that said, this game is really well done and I really loved the plot of this game, probably one of the most exciting plots and with MANY twists that can be either silly, or just mind blowing. The game, like I said, works like a visual novel and you'll basically never move on your own, except when you have to solve puzzle, in which you have to explore in a first person perspective, and go along with the story and once in a while you'll have to choose either dialogues, and most importantly, doors, which are basically the prerequisites for the 6 (not 9?) endings you can get. The setting is thrilling and I loved the fact that it's a deadly game setting instead: it's very refreshing and kinda overlooked, and the plot itself has so many twists that even mentioning half of them can probably be a spoiler. The 9 characters (technically it's 8, since one dies RIGHT at the beginning. No real spoiler) are either likeable and hated...but that's really more up to the player's taste to either like one specific character or not since each one of them has his own behaviour and his own twists that will hook you in or just lure you out (I hated Clover for instance...and if you play in a specific way, you'll see why). Even the main character, which is "really" annoying, I could never get to hate him because he was just a normal person and his stupid sentences and selfish dialogues weren't really about being offensive: he basically was a normal guy trapped in a ship (although they go very often into the swear words department...). Great setting, great story, great dialogues (for the most part), great twists...but the rest fails hard, although I can't really consider them game breaking: the graphics are mediocre and they don't particularly shine, but in a "visual novel" style game it's hardly an issue...although even similar games like Phoenix Wright, which has still images too, has much more detail and color (although it was a drawing there, and it's 3d cg graphics here). Characters are well drawn and have very few but good animations and they are well different and immediately strikes your eyes for their own look (ESPECIALLY Lotus....), but we won't ever see them outside still images cutscenes and dialogue screens, which is a true pity. The puzzles are so mindblowing easy too (except the very last one, but it's still easy) and we could have used much more effort in making them at least hard the first time playing the game and give us the possibility to skip the puzzles, since we will have to finish the game at least once in order to unlock the true ending and the game itself is very short and you'll spend most of the time waiting for the text to finish on your first play. Yes, no text skipping on your first playthrough, but after that you can skip any text "you have already read" until new dialogues or scenes will occur, which is actually good. But yeah, even your first time won't last that long and won't probably clock over 5 or 6 hours (not 9?!) and much less if you are skipping all of the old dialogue. But it is a visual novel style game and reading the game is essential here, and while I'm no expert in these kind of games I really loved the story, the characters, the setting and pretty much anything despite the small flaws. If you love story driven games but don't mind reading a lot of text, you'll just love the story and will hunger for more (there's a sequel afterall). Probably not the best on a "visual" side, but on the "novel" side it's just great. If you like thrilling stories, give it a try. As long as you like to read... Expand
  23. Nov 12, 2012
    With the release of Zero Escape for the Vita I thought I would finally put in my two cents about this game. I will not repeat what has already been said in the negative reviews - Ocean and Grospoliner hit the nail on the head. There is extremely little gameplay in this title and it absolutely should be marketed as a graphic novel rather than a game. You are reading 90% of the time and what little gameplay there is involved extremely basic point and click segments that last 5 - 10 minutes in between 20 mins of cutscenes. I am posting this review because there are presently stellar reviews of Zero Escape being posted all quoting how amazing the prequel (this game) is. Please do your homework and try before you buy this game or Zero Escape and watch a y0utube video first. Expand
  24. Jan 12, 2014
    This game is 90% dialogue, and I wouldn't mind except that the dialogue is really terrible. The story is not terrible, thankfully. And yes, in case you're wondering, those are two separate things: the story is being told and the dialogue is what's used to tell it. If Charles Dickens tells a boring story, you're not bored reading it because Charles Dickens can write. But the people who made 999 most definitely are not on par with Charles Dickens: they cannot write.

    Okay, I'm done bashing the writing. Here's why I hate this game: it EXPECTS you to replay it. And that's fine if you can skip all the dialogue you've heard and the puzzles you've solved on the second play through. But instead, you can make the dialogue pass by quickly (but not instantly) and you have to redo all the puzzles. I put the game down the moment it told me to re-solve a puzzle. Who in the world would make a design decision like that??? Not Charles Dickens, that's who.
  25. Nov 12, 2012
    Do not care about people telling you there are resemblances between this and Saw movies or even the review from Eurogamer comparing it to the poorly executed Lux-Pain. This is visual novel at its best and where it belongs, the meant-to-play-them DS. The puzzles are somewhat challenging, in a healthy way, but the plot is so good and scary I was astonished for about a week after completing the real ending, and that is what matters the most. If you want a visual novel to play (and if you're adult), play it. Expand
  26. Jul 16, 2013
    Holy cow what an amazing story. Music was phenomenal and played a key factor in story telling. I have never seen such a good Visual Novel before. Time to move on to the sequel.
  27. Dec 31, 2011
    The point and click puzzle game is a simple formula that you either hate or love. (In my case...LOVE!) The large amount of instructional texts can be annoying however what makes this game great is the story. Every conversation you have with other characters, you feel like you're learning something more about the mystery. But trust me, the twist in the story takes you by surprise like a flying brick to the face! I really hope this company releases more games like this. Great game for people who want a true story in their game! Expand
  28. May 28, 2012
    This game was interesting but in th end not that great.
  29. Jun 14, 2012
    If you can get past the forced slow pacing of the hefty amounts of text in this game, you'll find one of the most engrossing, chilling and satisfying story-based adventure titles ever released. For those new to the visual novel genre, you will be reading a LOT in this game. If you're a fan of classic point-and-click adventures, this one is not to be missed. Multiple endings create good replay value, and the characters and dialogue are solid. I couldn't put this game down! Expand
  30. Sep 20, 2012
    This game has one of the bests stories I've ever read. This game deserves more attention. The story is just GREAT. The OST is perfect in every moment. The puzzles are very well done, with a good difficulty. There are many endings, and each of them will make you say "WOW!". There is a sequel for 3DS and Vita coming soon in USA and EU.
  31. Aug 5, 2013
    The story shows potential but is constantly ruined by moronic dialogue, poor character design and unrealistic behavior. The game is rated as mature yet the dialogue and overall deduction skills of all characters are childlike at best.

    There is very little actual gameplay but somehow it still gets interrupted by random story elements at the most random times. Also the 9 hour time limit
    is there just for cooler title purposes characters love wasting time and you as a player aren't pressured in any way.

    But if you like being 500 steps ahead of the main character's tiny chicken brain and like yelling "Just shut up already" at the screen, I wholeheartedly recommend this game. And by game I mean visual novel.
  32. Nov 6, 2013
    I simultaneously love this game and hate this game. I hate it because I had to play it four times (with a guide for the final two times) in order to get the good ending. I hated the idea of needing to play the game multiple times in order to get the right ending until I got a better grasp of the theme of the game; then it made more sense. I wish that you could fast-forward through the puzzles just like you fast-forward through conversations. My last issue with the game is that most of the decisions that actually are important to the game (which doors to go through) have no hints as to what choice you should actually make. The decisions and conversations that you need to have feel arbitrary, as do the endings that you receive based upon your decisions. I fail to see how “choosing this door” means “My character will get stabbed later”. To have come up with the solution on your own seems nearly impossible. Other than that, the game is well-written, presents a great plot that gradually gets fleshed out (even though the meat of the plot is thrown at your just when you’ve hit the end of the game). I really enjoyed the complexity of the math involved, given that the characters were forced into certain situations just because of the doors that were available. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and trying to unravel what their connection is. Beyond that, the gameplay is pretty boring (you have to figure out what the game wants you to do, not what you think should be done), but some of the puzzles are fairly exciting and complex. Cheers to that. I give a 7 because of its audacity in coming up with such a complex idea, but I'm a bit appalled by the execution. Expand
  33. Dec 8, 2012
    Do you like games that force you to use critical thinking skills (arithmetic, puzzles, weighing choices against each other)? If so, buy this now. If you're kind of on the fence about it, I can offer a brief overview of what to expect from this title. You will be reading... a lot. "Digital novel", or whatever they call it, is probably the best way to describe it in a few words. Also, if you care to get the most out of the game, you will be reading (or skimming) a lot of material more than once. When you're not reading, you will either be making decisions or playing through one of the many puzzles, where, from my experience, usually deals with finding a way out of a room. These puzzles aren't difficult to the point of being frustrating, but they require you to learn, analyze and discuss any items found in the environment and figure out how they can help you either solve the immediate problem, or how they fit into the context of the plot more generally (which is the case maybe 5% of the time). Throughout the game, you will learn about all kinds of trivial things that may seem completely off topic at first but eventually all connect in some way or another. In this way, the story is kind of a puzzle in itself. I'm not going to say that I blame people for giving this game a negative review; it's on the verge of not even being a game, the graphics leave much to be desired (mainly overlaid 2D images), and some might find the story a bit over the top. With that said, I really encourage everyone to at least try it out (find a used copy or something) and give the game at least an hour before you decide to put it down. Whatever this game is, it is certainly unforgettable. Expand
  34. May 27, 2014
    Definitely a great visual novel. The story is gripping and kept me going throughout with mature themes and great characters. The puzzle sections are all fine but they really take a back seat to the fantastic story. As long as you don't mind the fact that this is barely a game and want a good read then this is for you. You have to also bear in mind that there are split paths in the story that mean that you can never get the true ending on the first try so at least two playthroughs are required to get a satisfying conclusion (although on the second run through you do get the ability to skip text you have already read. Expand
  35. Jul 12, 2013
    - Interesting Story
    - Superb Puzzles
    - Great Difficulty
    - Wonderful Character Development

    - Although interesting, story feels as though it "doesn't know what it is" until the end
  36. Aug 17, 2013
    Have you ever wished you could erase part of your memory just so you could experience something amazing for the first time again? 999 is the epitome of that. It's a title anyone with a DS should pick up. Excellent music, great characters, the puzzles are all solid and keep you thinking, but the main selling point is the plot. Keep in mind, this is more of a visual novel than a game, but the plot pretty much makes the entire thing. 999 has the best plot out of any game I've played hands down. While playing it you might think the concept is too ambitious to have a decent ending, but prepare to have your mind shattered.
    My only complaints are that they should have added a timer for the last puzzle just to make things more intense, and the lack of voice acting but this IS a Nintendo DS title so expecting that is kind of unfair.

    Overall, if you have a DS and enjoy a good story DEFINITELY PICK THIS UP!
  37. Oct 16, 2013
    Both the narrative and soundtrack were very good, and the plot was captivating. My only beef with the game was the fact that you had to replay the puzzles you already did to advance.
  38. Oct 21, 2013
    A gem for the DS as literally the only DS game with a horror genre that is executed to perfection. If you are not a fan of visual novels, the story may seem slow-paced. However the plot is very deep, and the dialogue can also be amusing at times. The game also has a lot of replayability with the numerous endings you can get.
  39. Dec 23, 2013
    999 is, simply put, a visual novel. It's a lot more reading thank actual gameplay, so if you dive into this game expecting a string of puzzles with the bonus of a story, your disappointment should be less. While the core idea of the story is interesting, it simplified the fundamental psychology/theories the game is based upon to try and appeal to a larger audience, like adding water to strong coffee. The puzzles themselves aren't really a challenge if you're familiar with the brain teaser genre, but they're enough to keep you occupied without losing too much interest if you're familiar with the Layton series, I would offer that the puzzles in this game are fewer and generally less challenging This game might not be for you if you're looking for in-depth exploration of your environment, fast-paced action, or a connection with the characters. As a native Japanese speaker the dialogue didn't bother me too much, though I do have to agree with other reviewers that, yes, some of the English is a touch unnatural, though it's made an honest effort compared to other translated titles. Overall it's an entertaining game with a slightly new spin on things, but if a lot of reading and few choices is something that turns you off from a title, you may want to look elsewhere. Expand
  40. Jan 9, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The game is awesome! Awesome story, memorable characters and really good music. Ending is so unexpected, while the whole game seems to be tricky. Game has alternate endings, which makes it even better. I think that this is the best visual novel so far, not including its sequel. Great work! Expand
  41. Mar 15, 2014
    This is one of those incredible games that aren`t very popular but they can surprise you when you play it.
    Both 999 and Virtue`s Last Reward are fantastic games. Incredible story, amazing characters and 6 fantastic endings. If you are a fan of Visual Novels you can`t miss this game!
  42. Jun 20, 2014
    This game made me experience feelings I've never experienced in a video game before. The soundtrack is so shockingly good, that it actually gave me nightmares. This game can also be truly depressing, but I still recommend you pick it up.
  43. Jul 26, 2014
    You'll probably start 999 by mashing the buttons to skip through text as fast as you can, but once you get to know the characters and immerse yourself in the bizarrely brilliant story, the puzzles will become the side-piece as you yearn to find out what twists are through the next numbered door. The puzzles themselves are pitched at a perfect difficulty level - challenging enough to reward you without being overly infuriating. Expand
  44. Dec 20, 2011
    Do you like reading a good story? If so, there is a good chance you will love this game. 999 is a puzzle adventure game, but I think it can be better classified as a Japanese visual novel with some puzzles. The puzzles mostly take a backseat to the story, but are sometimes nicely weaved into the story itself. But like I said, this game is not about the puzzles. It is about the incredibly well-written story that will slowly reveal it's secrets. There are multiple endings, which means you will have to play the game several times. Luckily you can skip the text you have already read in a previous play-through. What puts this game high on my Top Games of All Time list, is the scene surrounding the final puzzle of the game. The puzzle itself is nothing really special, but the moments leading up to that screen left my hands shaking and I just stared at the screen for a few moments before continuing. Even as I write this review, I'm taken back to that moment and relive some of that glory. That all being said, I have to say that this will probably be very different for most people. I wrote this review to show my respects to this game. Also, the actual end scene still left a few plot holes. Let me close by saying that if you like a good book and don't shy away for a few competent puzzles, you will probably love this game as much as I do, though maybe not in the same way. Collapse

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Oct 21, 2011
    999 is stunning. It sports a captivating plot driven by a fantastic cast of characters, a satisfying mix of puzzles and interesting mathematical, scientific and philosophical quandaries to ponder.
  2. May 13, 2011
    999 is a gutsy, mature story that blends horror, science, and character-driven drama in intriguing, thoughtful ways. It's also backed by some sparse but solid gameplay, melding traditional puzzle types with a cohesive math-based theme that nicely suits its subject matter. Unfortunately, what could have been a taut psychological thriller all too often becomes a plodding, pace-killing narrative full of bloated, poorly-integrated dialogue.
  3. A fantastic experience from start to finish. It is a game that truly expands what narrative video games can be capable of, and does so with a engrossing story that draws players in until the very end, all six of them.