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Trace Memory (Nintendo DS)

74
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3.6
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Written by  :  RussS (781)
Written on  :  Nov 21, 2010
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Summary

Memories, you're talking about memories...

The Good

Another Code is a charming little adventure game that suits the DS very well, even integrating the console into the game world. It tells the story of Ashley, a thirteen year old girl who near her fourteenth birthday is sent a device which looks uncannily like a first generation DS. The package comes from her estranged father who she's not seen since she was three, when her mother died. Her father is on the remote Blood Edward Island, so she goes off in search of him to unravel the family mystery.

The game looks and plays like a cross between a graphic adventure and a top-down RPG. The lower screen gives the top down view of Ashley as she follows the stylus to walk around a 3D island. The game world is very linear and whenever she comes to anything significant a pre-rendered first-person perspective image appears in the top screen. All interaction is carried out with the stylus and it's pretty simple to use which lets the game flow quite easily. If any dramatic events occur, the game instantly switches to conversation mode, with the characters talking in the top screen and options in the lower.

It's an adventure game and contains puzzles which must be overcome for progression. These are all fairly simple, and some are DS specific, requiring rubbing, blowing or other system only actions to complete. They are good in that they never interfere with the story by stumping you and allow you to experience the story.

The story is one of the excellent features of the game. I found it compelling and convoluted as it was teased out of the game. It unfolds in a fairly discreet and natural manner, despite the slightly stilted 'house of puzzles' set-up. Another good feature is the dual storyline in which you help to unfold the mystery behind a companion you meet on the way. The story genuinely had me addicted.

The graphics have a charming sketchbook style to them and make good use of the DS graphical limits.

The Bad

Whilst I loved the story the ending seemed pretty protracted to me. Much in the same way as Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, what seemed like the ending was false, and the game carried on quite a way after. The story is also told in the Japanese style of many, many conversations which means a lot of tapping to get to the next sentence.

The plot allows for a multiple ending of sorts, although it does clearly hint that you haven't completed certain elements. I found this a shame as it's not so clear whilst playing that you're heading down a certain path, and skipping certain things, and would have been nicer to include a more equal ending, granting you your different playing style.

The Bottom Line

Overall Another Code is a great game for the DS and has a light but addictive quality. It reminds me of playing older point and click adventures but with a more flowing control style. It's also short and never outstays it's welcome, and has a great story, rare for any game.