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Trace Memory for Nintendo DS
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Review Scores

VGChartz Score
6.7
                         

Ratings

     

Alternative Names

Another Code: Two Memories

Another Code: Futatsu no Kioku

アナザーコード 2つの記憶

Developer

Cing

Genre

Adventure

Release Dates

09/26/05 Nintendo
02/24/05 Nintendo
06/24/05 Nintendo

Community Stats

Owners: 121
Favorite: 3
Tracked: 0
Wishlist: 2
Now Playing: 0
 
7.3

Avg Community Rating:

 

Review: Trace Memory (DS)

By Mr. Nice 13th Feb 2009 | 2,392 views 

VGC reviews developer Cing's first game to ever get a worldwide release.

When thinking of the Nintendo DS platform as a whole, a few well known standout genres typically come to mind right away: RPG, simulation, education, 2D/3D platforming, minigame, and even the somewhat revived point-and-click/text-based adventure genre. It’s truly great to have so many well known titles to pick from from these genres, but unfortunately this creates somewhat of a cannibal effect among games to that particular genre. When so many great, high quality titles are on the same system, consumers are obviously much more likely to pick these up, and any title deemed to just be “so-so” or “decent” are left all alone for the most part, in essence usually getting devoured by the top-tier titles. Make that “so-so” title a completely new and original Intellectual Property with no established characters or franchise name whatsoever to speak of, and you have Trace Memory, a game that just doesn’t seem to stack up in nearly every aspect compared to other point-and-click/text-based games on Nintendo’s handheld.

Developed as Japanese developer Cing’s first title for the DS, and published by Nintendo in 2005, Trace Memory actually goes by the name Another Code: Two Memories in regions outside of North America. The adventure game has players controlling 13 year old Ashley Mizuki Robbins on a quest to find her father that she had presumed to be dead for the majority of her life. Ashley receives a mysterious package from her father that holds a machine (which conveniently looks just like the original Nintendo DS itself) called the DTS (DAS in PAL versions.) This DTS, which can only function if used by Ashley, is supposedly the key to finding out all of the truths about her family’s past that she has long dreamed of knowing. The package also contains a letter from her father that not only solidifies that he is still alive, but states that in order for her past to become clear, Ashley must bring the DTS to the mysterious Blood Edward Island, where her father has allegedly really been for the last 11 years of her life. And thus begins Ashley’s journey on Blood Edward Island, where hopefully all will be explained and her family’s history will become clear.

Ashley can either be controlled with the Control Pad or via the touch screen and stylus, with the stylus method making much more sense as a majority of tasks and puzzles throughout the game require the use of the stylus anyway. As you progress through this strictly single-player experience, you’ll come to notice that like most point-and-click adventures, puzzles are an integral part of the title’s overall package. Almost all gameplay aspects revolve around puzzles and if you aren’t reading dialogue, it is almost guaranteed that that you’ll be solving one of the many puzzles that the game throws at you. What gamers will find as soon as they complete a sizeable amount of these puzzles is that they are all largely hit and miss efforts. Cing really hit the ball out of the park when it came to the DS hardware as a whole, and it’s impressive that the developer knew the system’s capabilities so well back in 2005. Not only are the touch screen and DS mic mechanics delivered upon intuitively but some puzzles allow the use of the aforementioned DTS in unique ways. There’s even a certain puzzle that requires the player to close the DS, really cementing the variation in puzzle objectives the title offers.

But as mentioned previously, these puzzles have their share of drawbacks as well, as puzzles come across as either mostly way too easy or occasionally way too difficult and poorly designed that even the seasoned point-and-click player will be throwing their DS in frustration. Making these miscues even worse is the fact that there’s no sense of continuity in terms of difficulty among any of these puzzles, ultimately disrupting any flow that the game tries to offer. Add to this a lot of unnecessary backtracking to complete all of these tasks, and you essentially have a game that sometimes comes off feeling more like a chore at times, rather than an enjoyable experience.

Thankfully, what the adventure does bring to the table to gamers that can hurdle past the title’s poor puzzle design is a narrative that is very well written and has enough twists and turns to keep players guessing. As you would expect, there is quite a bit of dialogue sprinkled throughout the adventure, but fortunately this is done in such a way that it never feels too forced and never in any way, shape, or form makes you feel overwhelmed by unnecessarily long conversations. The only problem here is that once again, an enjoyable aspect of the game comes with a price, with that being the fact that there is no possible way to lose in the game. There’s no consequences for mistakes. And no game overs to speak of. In turn, this not only leads to a less exciting play through as a whole but it also becomes much more difficult to enjoy what would be an otherwise thrilling climax when you realize there aren’t penalties for any wrongdoings in the final act.

But not all is mediocre in the world of Trace Memory. In terms of artistic design, Trace Memory boasts an anime inspired art design that not only brings characters and their emotions to life but does so in a way that superbly matches the game’s tone and vibrant setting. And to compliment the art design, the title does an excellent job capitalizing on the game’s overhead view of the environment, combining beautiful 2D and 3D effects to bring the colorful world and it’s many puzzles to life. The touch screen houses this overhead view of Ashley and the environment, as well as conveniently placed clickable icons that make navigating the games puzzles and activating the DTS an altogether smooth process. Concurrently, the top screen will show off artistic still images of the touch screen’s displayed environment, and more often than not, these images will possess an important item in the journey. When all of this is topped off by a slightly tedious but solid soundtrack, you’ve got an adventure title that not only looks but sounds as impressive as other DS point-and-click adventures, with presentation as a whole being one of the few areas where the game can really hold its own against other software on the handheld.

Trace Memory spans just six chapters and will only be about a six hour affair for most, effectively coming up a little too short, and a few more chapters would have definitely been nice. Also, like many point-and-click adventures, Trace Memory doesn’t offer much of an incentive to go back through once you’ve completed the title the first time. Sure, the content of a few non-important messages Ashley can pick up throughout the adventure are changed the second time around, and the title does support two endings. But the “better” of these two endings can already be achieved on the first play through just by being overly cautious about clicking on every little thing and item encountered in the story, which can be described as being awfully repetitive at best.

Trace Memory is by no means a bad game. It really isn’t. But by no means is it anything too great either. The way I see it, Trace Memory is really a game for those who are enormous fans of the point-and-click genre and would gladly purchase the game to add it to their collection. It’s not for those who occasionally just find themselves itching for a little point-and-click excitement, as gamers like this have much better options on the handheld. I, being a person who loves story-based point-and-click adventure titles, obviously fall into the former category, and have played many more games like this on the DS that have just come off much more memorable and rewarding than this title as a whole. And if you're a newcomer to the genre, it can probably go without saying that you too probably want to look elsewhere to find something that’s a little more polished, will offer you a little more bang for your buck, and can hopefully give you a better representation of what this type of game is all about. What can easily be assured though, is that if Cing just tweaked some of the issues already listed above in the Wii sequel (that’s already released in Japan and currently has a summer 2009 release for Europe), we might not just be talking about a game that can only be recommended to point-and-click fanatics, but a game that can be recommended to gamers everywhere that are looking for a thrilling, story-based adventure.


VGChartz Verdict


6
Decent

Read more about our Review Methodology here

Sales History

Total Sales
0.12m
Japan
0.15m
NA
0.01m
Europe
0.01m
Others
0.29m
Total
1 55,469 n/a n/a 55,469
2 19,294 n/a n/a 19,294
3 8,946 n/a n/a 8,946
4 5,553 n/a n/a 5,553
5 4,652 n/a n/a 4,652
6 4,225 n/a n/a 4,225
7 2,154 n/a n/a 2,154
8 1,763 n/a n/a 1,763
9 1,664 n/a n/a 1,664
10 1,639 n/a n/a 1,639

Opinion (7)

Wildvine53 posted 14/07/2009, 05:34
This was the first DS game I purchased, It was so much fun, I'm looking forward to the sequel
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Kihniö posted 20/06/2009, 07:06
Just bought it...So i can buy the wii version
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PeteyPeeps posted 21/04/2009, 02:53
My Favorite DS game, I
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famousringo posted 06/01/2009, 06:03
I'm going to have to dig up this game before the Wii sequel gets localized.
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novasonic posted 28/11/2008, 09:16
way too short, but very good game! they need a much longer more emotional sequel!
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RPG_Fanatic posted 04/11/2008, 05:30
Wait this game sold 0.11 m copies in America with an opening week of 5,750.I find that impressive.

I hope the sequel is released in America, this game was fun.

Also, why is there a random car in the screenshot section?
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