Reviews from

in the past

Cing out here in 2005 saying "hey what if we use every single fucking feature of the DS, especially the parts you don't know about" and we rewarded them with bankruptcy. Super unfair.

I only vaguely remember this.

Com título diferente no ocidente, Trace Memory, o primeiro jogo da Cing para o DS é um adventure japonês com história cativante e gameplay criativo, incorporando elementos dos point'n'click ocidentais.

Inaugura também um sistema que vai permear os futuros jogos da empresa, onde após um capítulo completo o jogo aproveitar para recapitular o entendimento da trama pelo jogador, com perguntas de múltiplas opções.

É uma maneira inicialmente interessante de checar se o jogador esteve prestando atenção, apesar de ser às vezes um pouco óbvia demais.

O roteiro e o gameplay seguram bem e se sustentam até o final, e o resultado final é bastante agradável para o gênero, tanto como experiência, como referência.

A neat little kid's mystery adventure. The McGuffin in it is also ridiculously intense in a very funny way.

This game... kind of actually rules? Or, at the very least, I'm an absolute sucker for stories that reveal mysteries in two different times. The slow reveal of what happened to Ashley's mother and what happened to D's father was fun to work through and carried me through most of the game. Otherwise, the game is a pretty solid adventure game. The puzzles are never too easy or too obnoxious (aside from a few that required tedious backtracking). And it even makes good use of some of the DS's mechanics with the folding screen, built-in mic, and touchscreen, which is another thing that I'm a sucker for games doing. It almost feels like this game was crafted specifically for me.

Rather short with some pretty cryptic puzzles and annoying back tracking, but overall a really gripping story with some crazy uses of the DS's features.

Very short but sweet puzzle adventure. In terms of presentation, puzzles and writing it is entirely weaker than hotel dusk but it's still nice in all aspects. Exploring with D is pretty cozy and Ashley is cute. The music is pretty good too but the sound effects for completing puzzles and stuff are not very satisfying which is kind of a let down. The ending can also be pretty unsatisfying if you happen to not restore all of D's memories which is a pain because there's no indication of what will and won't restore them.

It's a cute puzzler but I feel bad because I played this after Hotel Dusk where Cing really hit their stride so Trace Memory feels more like a foundation.

muy bueno. seguramente me lo vuelva a pasar ahora que he descubierto que tiene una secuela (llevo diciendo esto 5 años)

The story was decent but I expected a lot more from the puzzles. The side plot was way more interesting though I doubt it makes it into the sequel. Don't really feel like playing it if it will just be the same quality but x3 as long.

After discovering Hotel Dusk, I like many others became enamored by the mystique surrounding its developer, Cing: A tiny team that brought the absolute most out of both the DS and Wii, made 4 Nintendo-published games, and despite that died less than 10 years after being founded.

Out of those 4 games, Hotel Dusk is definitely the most well known, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Beyond the fascinating hardware uses and overall presentation, it was the mood and overall pacing of its story that captivated me. A game relishing in the mundane. Games like Shenmue and No More Heroes captivate me with how they use those chunks of silent, "uninteresting" gameplay to both further enhance the more exciting moments and immerse you more in their everyday worlds. Even Ace Attorney does it in a sense with its investigations.

Long story short: I wanted more Hotel Dusk and decided to try out Cing's first ever Nintendo-published game. And to make another long story short, whilst it definitely shows more rough edges and lack of focus compared to Hotel Dusk, the game's heart is still in the right place.

Its a quirky little game: The textboxes look right out of a flash game, the mouth movements can look flat-out creepy if you pay enough attention to them, and unlike Hotel Dusk most puzzles are moreso there to puzzles, rather than have much of anything to do with the world. Its set up sort of similarly to old-school Resident Evil in that way, I guess. You get a mansion with an assortment of rooms and need to decode how to progress further into the house: Solving a puzzle in the living room gives you a key to a drawer in the office, et cetera.

What really made me draw the Resident Evil connection is the abundance of lore-nuggets sprinkled about: It uses its premise of having two characters with memory issues to let the player ponder over two mysteries at once. Its a neat way to handle the story over its short runtime. Outside of solving that mystery the story isn't all that special on paper, and honestly I mostly played this game as preparation to eventually be able to play Another Code R on Wii.

Yet even in those 5 little hours and all that crust you can definitely feel the Cing spirit here. The atmosphere of Blood Edward Island in general is fantastic, arguably better than Hotel Dusk, due both to the surprisingly large soundtrack as well as the absolutely brilliant use of the two-screen setups. Its straight-up one of the best Adventure game UI's I've ever used, having a 3D-modelled world on one screen as well as 2D stills of the island's most captivating viewpoints on the other. When paired with the music, it creates a kind of immersion I haven't really felt in any other game, and am sad to realize will probably never be seen in any future games given the 3DS' discontinuation. It really does help sell this abandoned mansion's eerieness to both be able to see it at large and see its more detailed spots at the same time.

What also helps with this is that, for as simple as the story is on the whole and as cutesy as the premise seems (A 14 year old goes investigating with her ghost best friend!!), it touches on some surprisingly dark yet very real subjects, with Ashley reacting accordingly. The writer of all four Cing games, Rika Suzuki, has always emphasized that Another Code is specifically about Ashley's mental state first and foremost, and I feel like these moments of discussing betrayal, suicide, abandonment and grief really tie the game together nicely. But really, what'll drive you through the game is its story and atmosphere, alongside the curiousity of how it'll use the DS hardware next.

With its puzzles feeling so deliberately designed to be "DS gimmicks" compared to the more grounded Hotel Dusk puzzles, it end up feeling somewhat self-aware in a really fun way, like "ooh yeah this puzzle is really clever of us", and you yourself cant do anything but go "yeahh youre right", even when they as puzzles are often not anything special. A lot of the time I'd even argue they're too cryptic for their own good.

The story at large is also like a puzzle in of itself, but with its aforementioned short runtime and constant new little pieces uncovered, alongside just generally pretty sweet little character moments, its very fun to just follow along with. Weird, grounded, silly, ominous, crusty, atmospheric: Another Code is most definitely able to be a lot of things in its runtime. At the end of the day I am still very glad I took the time to play it, if only for the memories it gave me.

Playtime: 5 hours
Key Word: Novelty

I don’t know if I would describe myself as a FAN of the long-running CW monster hunting show Supernatural, but I DID watch roughly nine or ten seasons of it, MOSTLY because I had friends who were super into it and I liked to hang out in their Supernatural-themed discord. I hope they’re all doing well. I think about them a lot. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about these two guys, younger brother Sam and older brother Dean Winchester, whose mother was killed by a demon when Dean was a little kid and Sam was but a wee babe, which set their dad down the path of Self-Destructive Monster Hunting and he dragged his baby boys into that life with him. The dynamic in the early show is that after their dad goes missing, Dean, who has always enjoyed The Life, drags Sam back after he had successfully gotten out, and now they drive around mostly the rural American Midwest and every week they stop in a place where something mysterious has happened and then kill a ghost or a werewolf or something. Over the course of the first five season the show finds its groove, s a story arc emerges and is cleanly resolved, everyone likes it, and then the show very divisively continues for eleven more years. This is, I think, the simplest way I can lay this out. I will not get into the nuances of Supernatural fandom that’s not what we’re here for we all know how deep that well is I’m not gonna crawl out of it today, but I will say I think it is GENERALLY AGREED UPON that the middle years of the show are seen as the weakest, where we’re kind of treading water every year between our clearly defined apocalyptic early arc and the inklings of ending of the latter seasons. BUT there were always one or two really good episodes hidden in those really rough middle seasons that I eventually quit watching the show in the middle of, even for a show I didn’t like all THAT much at its best.

One episode in season nine, or maybe ten, I dunno, involved Dean getting a call from a boy’s home he spent time at as a teen about some ghost or something idk and they have to go banish it or whatever. And Sam is like wait when were you ever at a boy’s home and Dean says “OH YEAH I had completely forgotten that you didn’t know about this.” So the truth was that one summer when dean was like sixteen and Sam was like ten or whatever, their dad left them to go do a hunt somewhere, and Dean lost all their money OR SOMETHING (these details don’t matter to this story I promise) and then got caught trying to shoplift food for them, and opted to go to a like, Boy’s Reform School for a few weeks rather than juvie, because as far as anyone could tell he was like, a destitute teenager with no dad, because his dad sucks shit dude.

So when this all got sorted out his dad concocted this story that Dean was also away on a hunt or something to spare Sam’s feelings I guess? This is important, they never really get into why their dad didn’t want Sam to know, exactly. We can probably make a good guess, but we don’t know because he didn’t tell anybody. Sam learns this and he’s like, y’know 30 now or whatever so he doesn’t really care but as they’re leaving he does stop Dean and say “hey, why didn’t you ever tell me this?” and Dean just kind of shrugs and says “I dunno. Dad told me not to, and then the story became the story. I was sixteen.” And that’s all he has to say about it, and that’s all he really CAN say about it, but it’s also all he has to say about it. I don’t know if, at the end of the day, I would call Supernatural a great show, worth the sum of its many, many parts, but I do think it does some things really well, and one thing it almost always nailed was the way people can be just absolutely twisted up by people they love and look up to, the way familial authority wields this incredible power and how harmful that can be when we’re careless with it. That one line from Dean says a lot with a little, and a lot of better written shows wish they could convey the complexity that this one did I think maybe by accident here. I would stop watching SPN pretty soon after this episode, I think, but I think about this moment a lot, and I was thinking about it a lot particularly when I was playing Another Code: Two Memories, a game that is also deeply concerned with the mutability of memory, the way time blends and blurs and confuses us, and how easy it is to take advantage of the people who want to love and trust us.

Ashley Mizuki Robins and her aunt Jessica, who raised her since her dad dropped Ashley off at the age of three mere days after her mother’s MYSTERIOUS MURDER, arrive at BLOOD EDWARD ISLAND on the eve of Ashley’s fourteenth birthday after receiving a mysterious communication from her dad informing them of his whereabouts. This all comes as something of a shock to Ashley because she had been under the impression that he was dead this whole time, and is understandably pissed that Jessica has been keeping the truth from her for her entire life just because her dad asked her to and things seemed vaguely dangerous at the time. When they arrive at the island Ashley’s father, Richard, is not present at the docks where he said he’d be, and Jessica immediately disappears frighteningly, leaving behind only a scream and her glasses, so now Ashley has to search the island which is primarily comprised of the grounds of an enormous mansion complex (once owned by the wealthy Edwards family, now fallen to disrepair since they all mysteriously died or disappeared in the 1950s, earning the island its BLOOD epithet) for both of her missing relations. Before she can really get started she meets the ghost (!) of a mysterious boy who goes by D, because he thinks maybe his name started with the letter, but he just can’t remember! And soon they’re teaming up to explore the mansion and achieve their goals, Ashley to find her family, and D to recover his memories in hopes of getting closure and moving on from this world.

It's not a subtle plot, but it’s a strong hook, and that willingness to forgo an attempt at tact does lead to an incredible thematic tightness. Every single bit of this game traces back to the core themes of the reliability and importance of memory and the precarious strength of familial bonds. As they make their way through this goofy resident evil puzzle mansion, they don’t just uncover the tragedy of D’s death and his father’s, but also the greater tragedy of his family in generations both past and future, a bloodline simply haunted by an inability to make it work, thwarted from being good to each other by disease, by war, by stubbornness, always on the verge of doing right by each other until the choice is taken from them at the last moment and everyone suffers for it, but always the least deserving get it the worst.

In the present, Ashley’s parents were scientists working on some sort of government research into human memories, and it becomes clear over the course of the game that not only did this involve a machine capable of reading memories and eventually creating false ones, but that her mother’s murder was directly tied to it. Ashley was the only witness to the murder, supposedly, a memory she has deeply suppressed, and throughout the game as she digs into D’s past and her father’s work she begins to remember what happened that night, bit by bit, maybe.

Because this is the thing, right? She was three years old when this happened. Even if she hadn’t actively punched this traumatic memory down, time erodes that stuff, inevitably, always. AND everyone in her family, everyone she talks to in this game, is lying to her, or has lied to her about her entire history. Even Jessica, her de facto parent whom she loves unconditionally and whose safety is the primary driving call to action for the first half of the game, is untrustworthy. It’s a lonely place to be, and the only real way to find comfort is via D, an entirely external non-participant in this drama. These kids occupy this kind of gently supportive niche for each other, unable to truly do anything but Be There, which is the best thing they can do anyway. So as her memory starts to unravel into something maybe coherent, and maybe revelatory, and the events of the game become a lot more intimate to Ashley’s family history than she was expecting, the question becomes whether she really wants to know. D asserts that knowing is always better, and y’know, he’s been Not Knowing his own shit for something like 60 years by his own estimation, so he says this with conviction, but Ashley’s version of knowing is suspect at best. It’s a complicated question and I think the game is admirable for letting characters’ anxiety inform the tone of the work almost right up through to the end of the thing even though the actual mysteries of What Happened in both timelines have answers that are EXTREMELY obvious as soon as you have enough pieces to put a picture together.

Because the truth, as far as Another Code is concerned, is that D is right, of course, and you want to hold onto this shit. Ashley may be shaky on her distant past but she wants to hold onto the present. Even the gruff, “I don’t want to hear about it but also I am a wise man in my simplicity here’s some candy” boat captain who takes her to the island at the beginning of the game knows that we hold onto the stuff that matters to us, if we can. Throughout the game, at the chapter breaks, you go through little recap sections where Ashley prompts you with questions about all the stuff you just did to help you keep the mysteries straight in two timelines, but it’s framed as her repeating these things because she doesn’t want to forget again. These things are important to her. The deeper things go in this plot the less certainty there is to be found, and even when concrete answers reveal themselves to both characters at the end, the lesson Ashley takes away isn’t that the answers were there all along; she thinks to herself “I am holding dad’s hand in mine. My grip is tight. His hand is warm.” She’s happy to have found her answers but most of all she wants to remember the feeling. The thing that was missing or lost from both protagonists across a century. It got me pretty good.

I guess I’ll talk about the play of this game? Because in some ways it is the most incongruous thing. This game came out in 2005, and you can tell it was one of those early DS Every Part Of The System Gee Whiz sort of games but this is true of Another Code to a comical degree. You’re not JUST blowing into the microphone, you’re not JUST closing the clam shell to solve puzzles, it’s like, pulling system information from your DS profile to generate Ashley’s in-game birthday, it’s incredible.

It’s hard to be certain how much this game is intended to be like, For Kids, with that in mind. MAYBE it’s so straightforward and easy because of the novelty of the features, but there is certainly a very light touch to the puzzles in general once you get past the unique control scheme. The game also talks around a lot of its DARKEST stuff but it’s still a bloody, emotionally intense affair, enough to earn a T rating in America. I always wanted to play this game as a kid, enraptured by a trailer for it on a Nintendo Power preview disc that I borrowed from a friend, and I think I could handle the content, but I don’t know how much I would have had patience for the double mystery, the past stuff, maybe the degree to which the heavy stuff is implied vs shown would have made it go over my head a bit. It’s hard to say. I think we often don’t give kids credit for what they can handle. It’s so hard to inhabit the headspace of a kid. Memory erodes, right? That’s just time, bay bee.

Hey if anyone wants to mail me a European wii and this game’s sequel uhhhhhhh hit me up my laptop can’t handle emulating lol

The writing's severely bloated, and there's this awful mechanic where half the time you can only pick up usable items after you've already found what they interact with. "Luke," you might ask, "aren't the writing and item puzzles the two things that need to be good in a point-and-click adventure? Why did you like this game if those weren't up to par?" Well, hypothetical reader, it's because I'm a sucker for the DSthetic, and this is the most quintessentially "Nintendo DS" game I've played in forever! It's short, easy, laid-back, largely family-friendly, and uses quite literally every single hardware gimmick the original DS shipped with. (Seriously, if you get stuck on a puzzle, odds are you can solve it by asking yourself "which frivolous console features haven't been used yet?" It worked twice for me!) It's the sort of game that could easily have been a formative piece of media for me if I'd encountered it 15 years ago, and one I can see myself replaying whenever I need to de-stress and just sit down with a game that isn't too demanding. Especially since I'm pretty sure I got the bad ending this time around.

girl if an item looks like it could be useful then you pick it up, you don't gotta know exactly where it goes beforehand 😭

another game I wanted to try because of the OST, not a bad game but wasn't great. I can't be too hard on it since it was only like 5 hours long, and the story was pretty neat at times.

When I first got a DS, I was obsessed with the idea of this game and never actually bought or played it. I checked it out way later (like 2018 later) and it was sure a videogame.

Nothing incredible, but there's just something about early titles for a new gimmick console that are so cosy. The way they often fire the console itself straight into the game with a slightly different name is really charming.

Just like Hotel Dusk, this game has a very charming atmosphere, but the excess of backtracking kinda kills it for me.
It's also a very short game, so i didn't expect a bunch of well explored and complex characters, but even then, the cast is just so small

Una historia que me gusta mucho cómo está contada. La atmósfera está chulísima y en general lo considero un juego recomendable si te van las VN y los misterios

impressive tech demo for the DS, story isn't bad either

This review contains spoilers

I was expecting a lot more from this. The Edwards family subplot (and especially the mood!) was so much more interesting than the main plot. Short, maybe even a bit trite, and with few interesting ideas explored. I hope to play the sequel one day. More than that, I hope it lives up to the potential which I still think is strong.

the story-telling of this game was chilling.. i can only vaguely remember details now but god i still think about it

the captain dude was the best character

"Sometimes the closer you are to someone....the more it hurts."

If anything, the DS library is filled with unique bite-sized experiences to whet the palette for someone such as myself. Trace Memory is a point-and-click adventure game that follows a young girl named Ashley Robbins. Her goal is simple enough to follow. She is looking into a mystery revolved around her missing parents and hopes to find clarity on the island where the game takes place. Through exploration, and a number of environmental puzzles solved through inventory management you will progress steadily towards the conclusion. It is a short, yet charming time that gets most of its strongest value out of the protagonist herself. The puzzles are satisfying enough to itch your brain, and the mystery itself has some fun turns, but Ashley is the best thing it has going for it. She is sassy, smart, inquisitive, and most importantly relatable. A far too common fallacy with many writers is squandering their character potential because they just don't understand the person they are trying to create. This is what makes Ashley so fantastically engaging, and by far the heart of not only this game but the sequel. There aren't a lot of other characters present, and with a short run time, if you don't nail what you put on the table, well it is going to stand out terribly. Ashley brings the most worthwhile content present, and she would be my number one reason to recommend this to any newcomers. Oh, and the puzzles are fun enough with the DS gimmicks as well if that matters to you at all.

We hereby award: The Bronze Seal of Recognition

Ashley rivals Heather for most amusing matter-of-fact observational dialogue. Love using the DAS to save on a DS - 'das' cool. Cing have a knack for creating such impressively audacious games out of meagre locales and stakes, it's content with letting you poke around pre-rendered domestic scenes and solve little puzzles. Sometimes that's enough.

It's a bit short, actually really short, but other than that it's alright

the overall idea was good, but it was all just far too short for a commercial DS product. plus the dialogue felt kinda stilted but that could be a localization thing.

While I only watched a gameplay of this, Another Code: Two Memories was very short, but a fun experience. Sadly this is a really small and not known franchise, so I doubt it's going anywhere.

A masterclass in DS game design that is horribly under appreciated and recognized. It's one of the few DS games that not only uses most if not all of its functions, but uses it so cleverly!!! Without spoiling too much, the game requires you to think outside the box quite literally and when I discovered how literal it was I couldn't help but giggle like the doofus I am.

The story to this game was also just as delightful too. It's nothing too convoluted or grand. Just a very engaging adventure about a 13 year old girl learning about her father's location being on a private island after being gone for 10 years and discovering the secrets of said island.

The puzzles and exploration of this game feel very similar to a point and click PS1 style adventure game. The game felt surprisingly ahead of its time in terms of graphics and exploration, but then again its exploration is very bare bones. Not in a boring way mind you just in an efficient straight to the point way.

A shame the title is stuck on the DS and DS emulation because I think it's a title that is worth remastering for a console like the Switch. It feels like a very important piece of video game history just from how technologically creative it is. I'd hate for it to be widely forgotten.