SummaryA good, not great, mystery adventure
The GoodI like games that require a bit of hunting, pecking and puzzle-decoding, not just hundreds of bullets and obvious objectives.
And that's the best part of Trace Memory - wandering around an abandoned house/laboratory, searching for you dad and unraveling a story about the past as well.
The story lines aren't the strongest, but they are intriguing nonetheless. It's pretty funny how quickly the female protagonist accepts the company of a ghost she meets.
Puzzles make good use of the touch-pad on the DS. They range from really simple to somewhat difficult. Only one puzzle, where you essentially use the DS as a mirror, gave me trouble.
The music sets a ominous atmosphere, which is nice. You can control your character using the sylus or D-pad.
The graphics are good - animated characters in pre-rendered backgrounds. Each room is individually decorated.
Toward the end, you make choices that influence the outcome of the game, adding to the game's replayability.
The BadI didn't like that in order to accomplish some of the puzzles you are required to return to rooms to pick up items that were not pick up-able the first time around. This is clearly done to pad the game's length, which is a modest 4 to 5 hours.
Some parts of the story were laughable as well, but to me that's part of the charm. I laughed out loud at a scene that was supposed to be serious. The ghost says to the female protagonist out of the blue, "You miss your mom, don't you?"
That kind of soap-opera sappiness kills me.
The Bottom LineTrace Memory is a modest adventure mystery that has a lot of clever and fun puzzles, a decent story and adequate graphics. Really what makes it a standout game is that there are not a lot like it in gamedom. When a lot of games seem to be sequels or generic rehashes, it's nice to see a game that's unique, slow-paced, dialoge heavy and has an actual story to tell. It's not perfect, but it's fun while it lasts.