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Trace Memory (Nintendo DS)

74
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Sam Vicchrilli (17)
Written on  :  Dec 02, 2005
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

A good, not great, mystery adventure

The Good

I 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 Bad

I 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 Line

Trace 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.