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Developer - Cing Inc. & Nintendo
Publisher - Nintendo

Features

1 Player (single player mode)
Touch Screen Compatible
Microphone Compatible
Cartridge Save

Trace Memory is a point and click adventure game that has the advantage of portability. Something that is really evident in this game is that the developers have utilized the entire list of special features that are available on the DS, but amongst this positive is the fact that the use of the all the special features are far and few between and the game is over much too quickly.

Graphics

I found the graphics to be a pleasant surprise for two reasons: the first being the use of both screens when exploring, and the second being the style of art used to tell the story, especially when interacting with an NPC. Let me start with the latter. The story unfolds in a comic book fashion, utilizing both screens to communicate the dialog between you and any NPC's. The colour seems to be just perfect and the overall style is very Japanese. I guess this is to be expected as this was a game that was first released overseas in the "Land of the Rising Sun" then localized and brought over to North America. I like stylized games and this game oozes style. The other point that really caught my eye was the use both screens in gameplay. The bottom screen contained all the 3D graphics while the top screen plays host to 2D representations of what you see below. Some may not like this but it really has to be experienced to be appreciated. The 2D art is very stylized in the similar way the graphics help the story unfold. It is hard to comment on the

Trace Memory

 

Trace Memory

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: n/a
 
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Developer - Cing Inc. & Nintendo Publisher - Nintendo Features 1 Player (single player mode) Touch Screen Compatible Microphone Compatible Cartridge Save Trace Memory is a point and click adventure game that has the advantage of portability. Something that is really evident in this game is that the developers have utilized the entire list of special features that are available on the DS, but amongst this positive is the fact that the use of the all the special features are far and few between and the game is over much too quickly. Graphics I found the graphics to be a pleasant surprise for two reasons: the first being the use of both screens when exploring, and the second being the style of art used to tell the story, especially when interacting with an NPC. Let me start with the latter. The story unfolds in a comic book fashion, utilizing both screens to communicate the dialog between you and any NPC's. The colour seems to be just perfect and the overall style is very Japanese. I guess this is to be expected as this was a game that was first released overseas in the "Land of the Rising Sun" then localized and brought over to North America. I like stylized games and this game oozes style. The other point that really caught my eye was the use both screens in gameplay. The bottom screen contained all the 3D graphics while the top screen plays host to 2D representations of what you see below. Some may not like this but it really has to be experienced to be appreciated. The 2D art is very stylized in the similar way the graphics help the story unfold. It is hard to comment on the ‘technical' aspects of this game as it is not meant to push the hardware or showcase any graphical effects. I guess anyone reading this review will just have to trust me when I say the style of the looks alone will draw the gamer in. Sound The music in this game is awesome. Funny thing as I sit hear in front of my laptop I can't help but think of this point first when I write this section. The melodies just fit and match the stylized graphics to a tee. The DS actually sounds really good and I was very impressed to see that developers are taking advantage of a bigger storage medium then they had when programming for the GBA. As for the rest of the effects, they manage to convey the environment and items in the game, right down to a rusty switch for the drawbridge. Overall one won't be disappointed with the all the sounds coming out of the DS's stereo speakers. Gameplay The story in Trace Memory is very typical: solve an eerie mystery that unravels in game. For this DS adventure you take the role of Ashley Robbing, a teenage girl who has been living with the belief that her father has been dead for 10 years. But as is expected in an adventure of this type, all is not what it seems. The day before her 14th birthday Ashley has to face the possibility that her father is alive as she is invited to a mysterious island to visit him, and the adventure just begins. As would be expected with a DS game Trace Memory takes advantage of the specific hardware capabilities. Ashley can be controlled using the d-pad and action buttons but alternatively she can also be controlled using the touch screen and stylus. As this is a point and click adventure game puzzles are the mainstay of its gameplay. Solving said puzzles utilizes such things as the touch screen to crank a lever to the microphone where one has to blow into it to in order to expose various items or solutions to puzzles. It was nice to have a game of this nature and not just hit random buttons to solve a puzzle and advance in the game. Trace Memory is very linear, as one would expect for a point and click adventure. This is very evident in the fact that there is no way to die, no wrong turns and no dead ends, in other word there is no way that one can fail as the game leads you through it in a very pointed direction. There is no reward for exploration and one feels like they are just going through the motions. Along these same lines the game gives a ‘trigger' when something should be explored or looked at more closely. I found this to be kind of cheap in a sense that it took away from a real key to these style of games, self exploration. Having the game give me numerous hints to keep looking at various objects took away that feeling I did a good job on my own. Finally a final gripe I have is very reminiscent of my gaming days with Resident Evil on the PSone; there is a lot of backtracking. Maybe it is a way for the developer to extend the length of gameplay, regardless it is a pain in the butt to have to go over areas that I already went through. There may seem to be a lot of negative, but it is not all bad. There are multiple endings depending on how one plays the game. And again I point to the use of the DS's hardware specific capabilities as a change of pace for a point and click style adventure. Finally it is nice to have a game like this on the DS as it makes it very portable. Conclusion Trace Memory is an enjoyable point and click adventure that has a few quirks that stop it from being a great game. With a short length and linear style to it, the game really is over too quickly. Regardless if you are looking for something new on the DS you should at least give this game a try.





 
 

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