Wii Review – Cate West: The Vanishing Files

If only Cate could vanish too…

Cate West: The Vanishing Files is one of those games that looks intriguing at first, but soon becomes clear that it’s a one-trick pony, and also…it’s a definite port of the DS version. It even looks like it is a DS game, so it looks pretty horrible on a HDTV. You solve clues by pointing and clicking at objects, but they are so poorly detailed in the Wii version that they can be almost impossible to see…even when using the game’s magnifier.
The story of Cate West is perhaps the only interesting thing to be found in the entire game, but I also found that to be disappointing in parts. Presentation has taken a backseat here with minimal voice-acting and plenty of text boxes to read through. It’s 2009 and we’re still scrolling through text boxes on a console game, seriously? Unless it’s something like a Zelda game or RPG…I do not want to see text boxes where they don’t belong.

There is no 3D of any kind to be found in Cate West. Characters are 2D and lack any animation, they look stiff when compared to other games with 2D anime characters. The Vanishing Files just isn’t compelling enough; it’s the opposite of what a detective/mystery game should be all about. Instead of trying to find out the answers, you just want to stop playing. I really do not see the point of the Wii version if they aren’t even going to try to make it look or play any different to the DS version.
There’s even an uncalled multiplayer mode, which doesn’t really feel right. The objective is to seek-and-solve with a friend or go head-to-head to see who is the best detective, but why? It just seems completely unnecessary…instead of putting in multiplayer, perhaps they should have focused on making a decent single player game? Oh, when will they learn?

The puzzles are decent, but like I already said…they can be hard to solve because of the visual quality of the game itself. It’s a shame because underneath it all, I can see the potential for Cate West to shine. However, the end result is poorly executed.

The Verdict

Cate West: The Vanishing Files is a poor excuse of a port for the Wii. It adds nothing new and looks absolutely awful on a big TV. The mystery itself is intriguing, but simply not enough for me to say it’s a must-buy. If you do decide to pick it up, make sure you get the DS version instead…