[Review] Safecracker (Nintendo DS)

I enjoy me a good puzzle game and I’d like to think the Nintendo DS is built for puzzle games. But, lately, I have to wonder. Just because a game is decent on one device, doesn’t mean it will port well to another.

Case in point, Safecracker. I found this game cheap at EB Games, and it boasted as being the ultimate puzzle challenge. Yeah, I don’t know about ultimate, but I would definitely have to agree with the challenge…

This puzzle game was originally released on the PC in 2006. The story sees you as a bonafide safecracker hired by heirs to a rich uncle’s fortune. You are charged with finding his last will, hidden away in one of many safes locked away in a large property. Each safe is a puzzle to solve, the mansion itself is a labyrinth of corridors, rooms and courtyards. The game showed some promise, but I am here to tell you this game blows. Or at least this version of it blows.

To start, you are given a compass, a magnifying glass, a map of the mansion and arrows to select direction…and it’s all useless. If a directional arrow points straight ahead, and the compass points going North, I expect to go north, not…spin around the room and wind up going east like this game had me going. The last time I took orientation with a compass, that isn’t how that was supposed to work. Second, the map of the mansion was somewhat helpful. A red X on the map indicates where there is a clue to find or a puzzle to solve. But because the navigation sucked, it was difficult to get to an X. Third, there was a toolbox that collected some items, but no journal entry capability. Those notes that I’d find, I had no idea whether I should commit them to memory or not. Lastly, the puzzles provided no instructions as to what you were supposed to do. I don’t mind if the goal is obvious. But, some puzzles had me scratching my head, like this puzzle for example:


I think since I started blogging almost a year and a half ago now, the majority of games I’ve played that were next to no good were games played on the Nintendo DS.  I don’t want to disparage the device itself because I really do enjoy the DS…but, I think often games that are ported to the DS are the problem. Poorly ported seems to be Safecracker’s issue and I wouldn’t mind seeing what the PC version is like.

Needless to say, I do not recommend Safecracker on the Nintendo DS. The search continues for good puzzle games on this device!


Developer: The Adventure Company
2009 (Nintendo DS)



  1. I wonder what causes that issue – maybe they have to pare the PC version down to get it to work on th eDS and that causes all the hassle? I don’t know much about these things, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind. You know who you should ask about that is James. He is a knowledgeable gaming Dude.

    That one puzzle screen you posted up looked, to me, like Minesweeper. Wanna take a guess at how hard I would suck at this game? Haha.

    I do like puzzles, though. Good to keep the ol’ thinker staving off the inevitable old age loss of brain agility.

    Cool review of a game I didn’t know about until I read this, and then I find out “it blows.” Alas.


    1. I thought it was minesweaper too, but you are trying to move a metal ball from one end of the field to the other using magnets (which was my second guess)..and it didn’t work at all.I was clicking around, using the direction pad…nothing. This game truly blows.

      And games ported to the DS are dealing with game layout using two screens, and DS game mechanics. Games work best being created for the DS and not taking something from another device and trying to “make it work” for the DS. Game developers fail at this repeatedly. I have now played at least half a dozen “this game blows” games that were played on the DS and originally created on other platforms. It just doesn’t translate well at all. Fun to write about though! If you wanna see more, I have the category “this game blows”, and you can see them all there.


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