9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

Junpei, a fairly normal college student finds himself involved in a deadly conspiracy that he couldn’t have possibly imagined. He awakes aboard an old passenger ferry, dazed and confused he stumbles around the room trying to reclaim his memories. First thing he noticed was a number roughly drawn on the cabin’s door… A bright red number 5. Junpei’s memory then returned and he remembered what happened right before becoming unconscious! A mysterious person with a gas mask crossed his mind. He remembered the haunting words he spoke, “I’m gonna make you play the game… the ‘Nonary Game’… the game of life or death”. “We’ve decided to call 999 an ‘Adventure’ game,” say Ben Bateman, Localization Editor, Aksys Games, “but I don’t really feel that’s entirely accurate. 999 is a game that simulates life, or at least it would if your life was about being trapped on a sinking ship and forced to complete a series of incomprehensible puzzles before your practically inevitable death. It is about relationships, and how they will ultimately kill you. There is also some blood, and an ax, so if you’ve always wanted some blood and an ax in your life, there you go. But what really brings 999 to life are the people who inhabit it. You will learn to care for them; to feel as though you are there and they are your friends, and then they will die because you made the wrong choices. Just like in real life.”

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a gripping single-player Adventure game for Nintendo DS in which players are forced to use their problem-solving and exploration skills in a desperate life and death race against time. Set in an isolated, enclosed environment from which their is no easy escape, the lives of all nine characters of the game are defendant on the decisions made by the player. Additional features include: a mix of video cutscenes and graphic novel style presentation, puzzle-solving dependent on several factors, character dialog and exploration gameplay, diverse characters, and six possible endings that ensure a high replay value.

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors game logo
The characters of 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Life and death puzzle play for DS.
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A Puzzling Game of Life and Death for DS

Junpei awakens in a mysterious room, dazed, confused and unable to recall how he got there. As he searches the room for clues, he notices he’s wearing a mysterious bracelet. Unable to remove the it or leave the room, Junpei suddenly remembers his kidnapper, a mysterious person in a gas mask, and these haunting words, “I’m gonna make you play the game… the ‘Nonary Game’… the game of life or death.” Could that actually mean what it sounds like? If so, you must save yourself and others if you can, but remember that every choice has consequences.

Key Game Features

  • Named Story of the Year 2010 by IGN999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors blends thrilling visual novel with mind-boggling puzzle and exploration play, seamlessly into a complex story.
  • Nine Hours – With only nine hours until the boat sinks, Junpei and eight others must find a way out. Numerology, music composition and logic puzzles are just a few of the dozens of obstacles that stand in the way of freedom.
  • Nine Persons – Uncover the mystery surrounding the lives of the nine captives. Help all the characters escape but beware, a wrong decision, careless mistake or even an ulterior motive by one of the others might put everyone’s life in jeopardy.
  • Nine Doors – Each hostage is cursed with a digital watch that displays a special number. These numbers are the keys to unlocking the nine doors. Explore your surroundings for clues to unlock the next door by picking up and examining objects.
  • Six Possible Endings – The game’s multiple possible valid endings encourage players use what they have learned, and ensure a high replay value.
  • The Adventure Has Only Begun – Play the spiritual sequel, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, available on the Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita system.

Additional Screenshots

Junpei showing that he is the 5th of 9 in-game characters in 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Multiple possible game endings.
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Graphic novel style in-game prompts from 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Easy to follow text prompts.
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An example of a puzzle play challenge from 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Use puzzle play skills to survive.
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An example of a exploration gameplay from 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Additional exploration gameplay.
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$ 14.41


  1. 324 of 333 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    One of the BEST DS Puzzle Titles Ever, December 1, 2010
    Stacy (South Dakota) –

    This review is from: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (Video Game)

    This is not a game for children. Do not buy this title for your ten-year-old; the “Mature” ESRB rating on the package is very accurate. The storyline is very heavy in expletives (up to and including the f-bomb) and periodic sexual innuendo.

    I first found out about this game about two months ago while reading a synopsis on Amazon. As the title implies, nine people have nine hours to escape from a sinking ship. They were put there by a maniacal person named Zero, who kidnapped them from all over the world to participate in “The Nonary Game”, a life-or-death challenge that will thrust the nine kidnapped people into a world of puzzles.

    The best comparison that I can draw to this game is a mash-up of PC classics Zork and Phantasmagoria. If you are not old enough to understand this reference, I offer another: Saw (the movies) meets Professor Layton. What Aksys has done is create a visual novel; you must solve puzzle elements in order to progress the storyline. If you ever played the classic point-and-click adventures on the PC (Myst, Phantasmagoria, Zork, & etc.), then it is fairly intuitive (and obvious) that they can be reincarnated on the DS. The touch-screen interface is a perfect way to introduce this style of mystery/puzzle games to a new gaming generation.


    Nine Hours, Nine Person, Nine Doors (lets call it 999 for short) excels in intuitive gameplay. The concept is fairly simple: the game is divided into two sections: narrative and escape puzzles. For each puzzle, your character (Junpei) will be placed into an area, comprised of a room or a series of rooms, and he must find items and solve puzzles in order to open the door and escape.

    Now the title and the game itself does indicate that you have only 9 hours to escape. This is true, but the gameplay is very forgiving. Time does advance, but it is “suspended” while you are working to solve each escape puzzle. In addition, you are able to repeatedly attempt to solve each puzzle without fear of locking yourself out or dying. Solving the puzzles themselves is fun without being overly complex. Do not take this to mean that the game is easy; it isn’t, not by any stretch of the imagination. The game’s producer, Aksys, has done a masterful job in balancing how you have to find items and how you solve the puzzles. Granted the puzzles themselves can be somewhat math-heavy (two key concepts are a digital root and the hexadecimal system), but the game is generous about allowing mistakes to occur and even provides a calculator to help those who may not be as adept at mental math.

    Now, here is the caveat [minor spoiler]. 999 is a game that requires more than one playthrough in order to find out everything about the storyline. You may think this sounds like a cheap gimmick, and I assure you that it is not. Each playthrough gives you the opportunity to try different things (choose a different door to go through, choose different party members for each door, and so forth), and subsequently, each character will reveal slightly more about themselves and their past. Thrown in for even more mystery is the seemingly random interjection of history: the Titanic, glycerin crystallization, a priestess of Amun-Ra, and more. Aksys makes each playthrough easier by allowing you to “fast forward” through dialogue that you have already read. In addition, whenever a choice menu appears, previous selections are greyed-out so that you can easily remember the last action you took at that point in your previous playthrough.

    The only complaint that I have to this system is that you cannot “fast forward” through puzzles that you have previously solved. Since the narrative part of the game can be rather text-heavy, the option to speed through it is much appreciated; however, I would infinitely prefer not having to repeat the “prologue” puzzle in the 3rd class cabin over-and-over. If I had to open that danged red suitcase one more time, I would’ve gone looney. Fortunately, if you need to walk away from the game, you are permitted to save at any point. In addition, after you beat the game for the first time, you can access each escape puzzle in the main menu and re-enact the escape if you wish to hone your skills.

    In order to access every puzzle room, it is necessary to play the game at least more than once. Also, to get the “best” ending, you have to complete a specific “bad” ending first. Finding the “best” ending is at best a crap shoot, as there is no readily obvious way to find it without trial-and-error or consulting a game guide. The best ending, though, is worth it. In addition, each of the “bad” endings reveals a little bit more of the history of each character and can help you solve loose ends that may not be resolved in the “best” ending.


    This is where 999 excels. The story is not forced. You will actually delight in reading the text and learning a little bit…

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  2. 57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors – Possbily one of the greatest DS games ever!, November 28, 2010

    This review is from: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (Video Game)
    I’ve played some mystery/puzzle games before but this one REALLY take the cake. Out of all the M rated games so far released, (this being the 11th M rated game out for the DS system) this is really hard to put down once you started playing.

    The game itself is a mixture of a graphical novel and a “escape the room”/solve puzzles. So if you hate reading, puzzles, or math in general, I would stay away from the game. However, if you enjoy complex puzzles, memorable characters, great story lines I would definitely pick this game up.

    What make this game even better is once you “finished” the game, you can play back through the game and have a completely different ending. Which really adds onto the replay value of this game and no two endings are the same!

    I would like to warn parents though, this game is rated by ESRB as M for Mature for a reason. There is blood (tons of blood and a very detailed description of said blood), drug reference, strong language (and when I mean strong language, STRONG LANGUAGE! Not just the f-word is being thrown around), suggestive themes, and of course, violence.


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  3. 54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    It’ll take 9 hours to escape, but it’ll take one minute to make you play this game till the end!!, November 25, 2010
    J. Gomez

    This review is from: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (Video Game)
    9 Hours to escape
    9 People caught in this mad game of numbers
    9 Doors that will determine their very fates within a ship

    These people are put into a game known as the “Nonary Game” where they must escape within 9 hours from a crazed person only known as “Zero” and make it out alive.

    This game is very. very interesting. The moment I put this game into my DSi and played for the first 10 minutes, I was sucked into these people’s lives that hang in the balance. The first few minutes put you in a room with the main character, Junpei, where he must escape from a room being filled with water, and FAST!! This game uses the whole point and click system where you look around a room and use your stylus to tap on objects to find clues and items that will help you escape from different situations in the ship.

    **Some spoilers**

    My favorite part in this game is not only the puzzles, but the dialog. The narration isn’t bland like some other games. But, is literally made like you’re reading a book. When you’re stuck in the water-filling room with Junpei, the narration is very, very thorough and very detailed. Some parts will tell you about the description of the room to the restlessness of the characters to (I’m not kidding you) the full description of a body after it was blown up. It’s not, “the body was blown up into a million pieces”, but rather tells you something like, “the blood splatter was all around the room and chunks of the flesh where strewn around the room” blah blah blah. I’m not kidding, this is how detailed the narration is.

    **End spoilers**

    If there’s anything else I like about the game, it’s the 9 characters you encounter and must escape with.

    Ace, Snake, Santa, Lotus, Junpei (the main character who doesn’t have a codename), June, Seven, Clover, and the 9th Man. Each have a past that connects them all together and Junpei must find out why they are all connected so that they can escape from the ship.

    If I were to say whether to buy this game or not, I would say, “buy the damn game already”. This game might be a sleeper title, and is already one of my favorite games for the DS. The story is good, the characters are all intriguing, the puzzles are all there to make you think, and the short amount of time that you have makes it so that you have to rush the puzzles.

    So, 5 stars to this game, story, gameplay, and all others.

    Just to note: this game has a long of history in it, from the Titanic, to real people that changed the very world to chemistry. So, if you’re not into reading a lot, don’t buy it, but you are missing out on a great game!!!!


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