999 Coming to iOS

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Posted by patrickklepek (6417 posts) -

999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors is no longer tied to the DS, as a version of the game has launched (in Japan) on iOS for iPhone and iPad.

That's awesome.

Right now, it’s only available in Japan, but series creator Kotaro Uchikoshi said he believes an English version will “be released by autumn.”

The puzzle bits have been removed from this version, which doesn’t bother me, since the puzzles in 999 weren’t that great. Virtue's Last Reward vastly improved them. Plus, the iOS version also includes a flowchart of the game’s diverging storylines, one of the most useful additions to the sequel.

A year ago, I’d have scoffed at the term “visual novel.” 999 and VLR won me over with its batshit crazy but surprisingly logical (!) universe. Even though VLR was released on 3DS and Vita, you should really play 999 in order to enjoy VLR's payoff.

#1 Edited by wuefuwefbiwefi (68 posts) -


#2 Edited by Qblivion (83 posts) -

Wonder how they will translate that... "unique" puzzle moment that requires both screens.

#3 Posted by Humanity (11081 posts) -

So if it doesn't have puzzles what is left? Is it actually just a novel you watch unfold now?

#4 Posted by patrickklepek (6417 posts) -

@qblivion said:

Wonder how they will translate that... "unique" puzzle moment that requires both screens.

I know! I'm baffled.

#5 Posted by vikingdeath1 (1053 posts) -

That is Amazing news!
I'd love to play 999 again with features from VLR!

#6 Edited by mdnthrvst (283 posts) -

@humanity: That's actually how most Visual Novels go. 999/VLR's puzzles are actually rather novel.

Instead, in games like Saya no Uta, Steins;Gate, and Katawa Shoujo, you make decisions at points in the story and just read along. But if the stories are good enough, which they very often are, why would you want to get bogged down in tedious minigames?

#7 Posted by joeshabadoo (278 posts) -

eh, I feel like taking out all the puzzling, even though many weren't great, still removes a section of the game that goes a long way in helping you internalize the game's themes (subject matter). You also have a decent amount of dialog and subsequent character development that takes place during the puzzles.

I guess I like that more people can experience the story, but this doesn't seem like the best way.

#8 Posted by Cathryn (574 posts) -

I'm a little bummed about the puzzles being removed, but this will be an excellent way to enjoy the 999 story all over again. Looking forward to it.

#9 Posted by GalacticPunt (1165 posts) -

So no puzzles, a proper in-game flowchart, and a decent resolution? OK, sounds like I will actually "play" 999 when this gets localized. It sounds like it will be great to read through on the phone while trying to get to sleep.

#10 Edited by xdarnokx (33 posts) -

I like 999 and VLR so much that I own two copies of 999 (they reprinted the game with a new cover) and I own VLR on Vita and 3DS. Depending on the changes I might buy it again!

#11 Posted by psilocybe (3 posts) -

The thumbnail made me think this had something to do with the Fallout universe, and now I'm angry.

#12 Posted by Parsnip (1117 posts) -

So without puzzles it's now even more of a pure visual novel than it was before.

But hey, iOS can kiss my ass. If they decide to bring it to PC, then I'm interested.

#14 Posted by hollitz (1940 posts) -


The more people that get into this franchise the better.

#15 Edited by B0HICAH (56 posts) -

So you think it is still fine without the puzzles, @patrickklepek ? Is that a BETTER way to play, or should I just go ahead and get 999? I can wait for the English version, but I own both an iPhone and a 3DS.

#16 Edited by Nekroskop (2831 posts) -

Nice! Finally I play the game and not watch shitty LPs of it.

#17 Edited by Draxyle (1924 posts) -

That's a pretty cool idea, though I do wonder how they'll handle it. A lot of those puzzles do have important pieces of story strewn about through them. I'm guessing they'll still have the puzzles, but merely narrate the characters through them.

Either way, this is pretty great. I can only imagine they'll do the same for VLR.

#18 Edited by Joeyoe31 (848 posts) -


#19 Posted by Icicle7x3 (1229 posts) -

There was a lot of great dialogue in the puzzle rooms, I wonder how they will handle that in this version.

#20 Posted by fishmicmuffin (1053 posts) -

That's awesome, I might pick it up to play it again if it isn't super expensive. Very curious how they'll do everything without puzzles.

#21 Posted by oti_xero (39 posts) -

That's really great. I've already played this game on my 3DS, thanks to you @patrickklepek, but this version sounds much more enjoyable. No importing, no puzzles, better graphics, better sound, better price. Let's hope more people pick it up now.

#22 Edited by ITSSEXYTIME (241 posts) -

Not a fan of this port at all.

The puzzles were fun and a nice break from the constant bombardment of text, and really you can't do the ending properly without two screens.

Also it's hard to tell from just one screenshot, but I'm not a fan of the presentation. The DS version is very much a first person perspective with the bottom screen being Junpei's inner monologue and the top being a view of whoever he is talking to and his replies to them. (The consistency of this is what made the ending as great as it was)

This reminds me of the TWEWY iOS port, wherein they take a popular game and throw it on the iphone to try and make some money and in the process butcher it. Which is a shame because Ghost Trick translated really well to the platform and I would love to see these games get more attention, but it has to be the proper way that doesn't result in a distilled and weakened experience.

#23 Posted by Arrested_Developer (744 posts) -

Finally got around to playing/getting all the endings for 999 a couple weeks ago and I just had to take a picture of my favorite moment

#24 Edited by Atom (230 posts) -

I'm all for porting DS adventure/puzzle games to iOS. Loved Phoenix Wright, Ghost Trick and even TWEWY, to a lesser extent.

I have no idea how 999 played on the DS, tho. Is there any reasonable explanation for removing the puzzles? Did they really require some weird combination of both physical touchscreen controls or something?

Anyway, chopped out or not, I'd be willing to try it out when/if it comes internationally, if the price is reasonable.

#25 Edited by RonGalaxy (3490 posts) -

I bet they'll overprice it.

#26 Edited by cooljammer00 (2229 posts) -

This is great for all those people who want to play VLR but can't because they haven't played 999 yet. That said, I bet it's overpriced.

#27 Posted by Shivoa (679 posts) -

So this'll be the first time 999 comes to Europe if they do a global release (in English, maybe even more languages) - crazy considering the sequel did get released over here but only us importers got the play the first game.

#28 Edited by radioactivez0r (870 posts) -

@icicle7x3: That is a really good point. It wasn't like the characters just stopped talking in those rooms.

#29 Edited by JoeyRavn (5108 posts) -

@shivoa said:

So this'll be the first time 999 comes to Europe if they do a global release (in English, maybe even more languages) - crazy considering the sequel did get released over here but only us importers got the play the first game.

When the 3DS was announced to be region locked, my heart skipped a beat knowing that VLR could follow the same path as 999 and never get a release here in Europe. Thankfully, it was one of those weird situations the gaming industry seldom provides...

Also, as "bad" as they were, I think that the room puzzles were a vital part of 999's essence. I say that iOS users are getting a pretty bad deal without them.

#30 Posted by teenmother (39 posts) -

Are all the areas in 3D now? I don't remember the backgrounds looking that good.

#31 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

"(!)" indeed.

#32 Posted by EddyNZ (26 posts) -

Dammit, I bought a 3DS last week just to play 999... Still waiting for the game to arrive, luckily Pushmo is keeping me busy

#33 Edited by BlackLagoon (1707 posts) -

From what I understand the puzzle rooms are still present in the story, but the game just summaries what happens inside them.

#34 Posted by ESREVER (2793 posts) -

This does not appeal to me at all. I dislike VNs that are *just* reading. I need something to break it up or I will lose interest. The puzzles in 999 were a perfect interruption to keep me engaged in the story and the game. I tried "playing" Ever17, and only got one ending and was content with that. Way too boring to play on further to unlock more secrets. Also, the translated version was god awful (the version I played was at least. Again, I use "play" loosely.)

But hey, this is cool for people who haven't experienced 999 and don't have a DS. But I must insist that if you have the option to play the DS one, do that. The puzzles are often intertwined to the game's main theme and theories, and are integral to the 999 experience.

#35 Posted by JamesJeux007 (553 posts) -

This is great news if it means more people get to play this amazing game. If you can though, you should play the DS version. I mean not only is the double screen "required", but I'm not so sure about the flowchart. The fact that the game didn't have one was one of the reasons that made a certain part of the game even awesomer.

Bottom line, if you have a DS or 3DS, you should get the DS version.

#36 Edited by MormonWarrior (2787 posts) -

Already beat it and got all the endings just last year. I wish this was VLR...but I guess I'll get a 3DS again later this year so whatever.

@qblivion said:

Wonder how they will translate that... "unique" puzzle moment that requires both screens.

According to Patrick they've removed the puzzles altogether.

#37 Posted by amlabella (345 posts) -

Definitely glad that more people will be able to experience the game, though I wonder if the absence of puzzles will make it a bit of a grind to push through all that text. I agree that the puzzles weren't great in 999, but they did offer a nice break from the text-heavy sections.

#38 Posted by Picsl (222 posts) -

Even though the puzzles weren't great, they weren't bad either, and removing them makes this an inferior version no matter how much prettier the graphics are.

#39 Posted by InfiniteGeass (2139 posts) -

So this one is inferior since the last puzzle moment can't be done. I still say pick up the DS version.

#40 Edited by mikael110 (42 posts) -

@icicle7x3 said:

There was a lot of great dialogue in the puzzle rooms, I wonder how they will handle that in this version.

The fact that they cut the puzzle solving doesn't mean they cut the puzzle rooms themselves out of the story (if they did the story would break completely), so In all likelihood they do still include the actual dialog that takes place within the puzzle rooms, they probably just include the puzzle solving itself as part of the story now instead of you having to actually collect clues and stuff yourself.

@humanity said:

So if it doesn't have puzzles what is left? Is it actually just a novel you watch unfold now?

well the genre isn't called "Visual Novel" for no reason, basically that's exactly what a visual novel is, a novel with visual elements (nowadays voice acting is also pretty standard)

visual novels with minigames like 999 originally was is actually somewhat rare, pure visual novel's are far more common and honestly they also tend to be better as visual novel minigames have a tendency to be somewhat tedious and most visual novel players do in fact play/read the game entirely to experience the story so the minigames just act as a disruption in most cases.

#41 Edited by tayls (30 posts) -

Yes. Yes. Fuck yes.

#42 Posted by der_dreh (15 posts) -

This made me log into my japanese itunes account. I am so going to play this all over again. and again.

#43 Posted by Atwa (694 posts) -

No sprites and no puzzles.

So the DS version is still the way to go, but neat to see an option for people that don't have a DS/3DS.

#44 Posted by the_dudefather (32 posts) -

Without the puzzles it just becomes a really long 'choose your own adventure' story with only 3 or 4 branches!

It would be interested to see how they adapt it though

#45 Edited by AndrewB (7782 posts) -

@infinitegeass said:

So this one is inferior since the last puzzle moment can't be done. I still say pick up the DS version.

This. Plus, the puzzles were just fine in 999. It was having to do the same puzzles multiple times which made them an issue.

I mean, you should already own a device capable of playing DS games because there are so many good ones.

Also, why is there such a ridiculous delay in release dates for English? The translation work is done.

#46 Edited by SurferZ (106 posts) -

Get this if you haven't played it yet. Story sucks you right in.

#47 Edited by SJSchmidt93 (4994 posts) -

This intrigues me, because the biggest turnoff for me previously was the slow scrolling text that Patrick talked about.

#48 Edited by GooieGreen (463 posts) -

No puzzles? Yeah, I think I'll pass. They should just take The Room and throw in the Anime/Manga bits and call it a day. Curious to know how much they are charging for this on iOS in Japan.

I'd pay for this game on Vita, knowing full well they'd have to rework the puzzles and it might be stupid expensive as a result. Beats trying to find my DS.

#49 Posted by BeachThunder (12986 posts) -

Scoops, we need some more scooping! I need to know how this makes sense without puzzles or multiple screens. Thankfully, this includes a flowchart though.

Also, while we're at it, I want a PC version, because, you know, why not?

#50 Posted by DevourerOfTime (557 posts) -

I enjoyed the puzzles in 999 so much more than the puzzles in VLR. I'm sad to see them go. All that game really needed was the ability to skip over them once you had completed them.

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