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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Jinx

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 27, 2005

 

- Good introduction to the adventure genre for younger gamers

- The touchscreen is a natural for this genre

- Straightforward puzzles

- Gets the mind moving considering the possibilities

 

 

- Seasoned adventure gamers will blow through this in a couple of sittings

- Short story

 

 

Review: WarioWare Touched! (DS)

Review: Kirby Canvas Curse (DS)

Review: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA)

 

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Trace Memory

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

After about ten minutes of Trace Memory I couldn’t help but get excited.  Not because Trace Memory is a great game but because my mind got whirling with the possibilities.  The Return of the Adventure Game!  While the genre has been pretty much abandoned in North America , I continue to pine for the days when Adventure Games ruled my gaming world.  One day it will come back, reclaim its dominance, and make us all feel good.

 

Or just make me feel good.

 

And Tim Schafer has a DS – there was a picture on Double Fine’s website – so things are shaping up!  And they can really only go up because as an adventure game, Trace Memory is only fair to middlin’ when it comes to a comparative analysis to other games in the adventure genre.

 

trace memory review          trace memory review

 

You are Ashley Mizuki Robbins, a 13-year old girl who has recently made landfall at Blood Edward Island in a search to find the parents should long thought to be dead. In actuality, they’ve been working on a secretive project – a project that is gradually unveiled through the course of the game. You also hook-up with a ghost named “D” along the way. How he’s tied into the story is also revealed through the course of the game.

 

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- DS Game Reviews

- Adventure Game Reviews

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The DS touchscreen is a natural for this kind of game – the stylus doubles easily for a mouse, which you point and click (tap, actually) various objects in the environment.  As Ashley walks around the world – using an overhead view – the upper screen displays the area as a static picture.  When an area of interest pops-up, you tap on the “lool” icon in the top-right of the touchscreen to bring the static image down so the area can be 

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investigated.   It works well even if there is some “pixel hunting” to be done.  (Pixel hunting refers to finding the exact spot that needs to be clicked on before progress can continue.)

 

Puzzles form the backbone of any adventure game and when it comes to measuring an adventure game, the puzzles come under tight scrutiny.  The puzzles in Trace Memory are straightforward and there are enough hints provided that I finished the game my first time through in under 6 ½ hours (and almost 45 minutes of that was spent on a sliding tile puzzle).  Experienced adventure gamers will have little trouble blitzing through the puzzles.  There’s nothing wrong with the puzzles per se but they’re incorporated into a story that is definitely over too quickly.  I get the impression that Trace Memory is aimed at a younger crowd anyway, so maybe my complaint should be taken in that context.

 

trace memory review          trace memory review

 

Kudos to the developers for featuring a save system that lets the player save wherever they are!  While something like this should be a given for any portable title, it doesn’t always happen.

 

As an adventure game on-the-go for younger gamers, Trace Memory offers a solid challenge and a very good presentation and use of the touchscreen.  Older gamers can give Trace Memory a miss – although it demonstrates the possibilities, it’s not quite up to the task; it’s not all that engrossing.

 

- Omni

(October 5, 2005)

 

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