Cate West: The Vanishing Files review

There they are!


  • A certain compulsive appeal
  • Multiple endings
  • Co-op or versus modes


  • Scenes can be hard to make out
  • Inconsequential story
  • Replaying is rather pointless

Mystery Case Files: Millionheir was a surprise hit on DS, as the ‘seek and solve’ genre had previously been the preserve of PC-owning types with too much time on their hands. It’s not too hard to see the compulsive appeal of scouring complex images for hidden objects, but as with Millionheir, Cate West is one for puzzle fans only. Ideally, puzzle fans with short memories and superhuman sight.

Wrapped up in an inconsequential story about a crime writer with psychic powers who helps the police solve cases, the ‘action’ mostly revolves around visual puzzles: either finding everyday items hidden in jumble-strewn locations, or playing spot the difference. There are also Guess Who?-style interludes where you have to work out whodunnit.

This much is straightforward for genre fans, but the scenes can be hard to make out, even with the in-game magnifying glass. Play in multiplayer (either co-op or versus) and the split-screen view is tiny. We’d tell you to try the DS version of this instead, with the benefits of stylus control and portability, but that’s even grainier.

Repeat play is scuppered by items always being in the same place. There are multiple endings for returning players but ‘seeking and solving’ loses its appeal when you know where everything is…

Sep 1, 2009

More Info

DescriptionIf you don’t mind sitting for hours, eyes inches from the screen, this is every bit as good as Mystery Case Files: Millionheir and the likes.
PlatformDS, Wii
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating7+
Release date8 December 2008 (US), 18 September 2009 (UK)