Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Trace Memory is an interesting puzzle game that involves regaining memories and learning what they mean. It's slightly tedious but generally fun.
You are a girl who is turning 14 tomorrow. You've just discovered that your father is alive, after 10 years of living with your aunt Jessica. There is a LOT of talking involved as you go through your tasks. You take a ship to Blood Edward Island, to meet your father. Of course he's not there to meet you, so you begin your adventure of exploring the island.
In no time at all you've met "D", a ghost representation of a boy about your age. You two quickly decide you're soulmates, as both of you are looking to find your father and explore your memories.
The puzzles are reasonably complex - the game is rated "teen" so this game wasn't meant for the little ones. They expect you to have at least a reasonable ability to remember clues and figure out puzzles. That being said, a lot of the puzzles are maddening because it's obvious what you have to do. It's just your CHARACTER that is completely clueless and doesn't get it. You have to click, click, click until she finally gets it. Sometimes you can't even pick up an object that you figure you'll need until you go somewhere else, see the "destination object", then trek back to the first object and pick it up then.
Another issue I have is that some of the puzzles involve a lot of mindless screen rubbing. In one situation you have to clear a brass sign of rust. That means you have to sit there scrubbing your DS screen repeatedly until all of the rust comes off. There's enough wear and tear on a DS screen (and yes I do have a screen protector on it) to worry about the sensors wearing out, without actively doing something like this to it.
Finally, there is a lot of random screen clicking that you have to do to even find things. You look at a sign and you SEE the pieces of it beneath the sign - but when you click on them it just says they are wooden pieces. You have to click in an exact spot to actually rearrange them. You look at a gate and it looks like a plain gate. You have to click on it further to see the lock mechanism. It means you waste a lot of time randomly clicking all over just in case something is active. This girl should have better eyes than that.
That all being said, I really do love puzzle games in general. The idea of a young teen girl trying to figure out who she is is rather cliche, but it gives her the chance to be both 'going out on her own' and 'nervous about being alone'. Having the ghost boy tag along is a nice touch - it's not too long ago that the main character would have "of course" been male, maybe with a helpless female sidekick.
I'll give this a 3.5/5 for a fun concept and nice graphics, but a little too short and tedious. Maybe the gamemakers will come out with a sequel that is more filled out and easier to use.
Trace Memory Walkthrough
Buy Trace Memory from Amazon.com