trace memory (aka another code: two memories) was released fairly early on in the DS’s life cycle, and for that reason it’s easier to forgive its relative shortness and its reliance on what have now become familiar mechanics on the system. aside from one fairly obtuse puzzle about halfway through the game it’s never particularly taxing, and as with other point-and-click releases on the system the game is more of an interactive novel than a truly puzzling adventure. due to its brevity trace memory suffers on multiple levels, including completely underutilizing a potentially interesting core gameplay mechanic involving superimposing two pictures on top of each other to solve puzzles. also, the game has an odd system where instead of being allowed to carry anything you encounter in your inventory, you often are only allowed to pick up an item once you determine that you need it. this ends up requiring some backtracking, but if your memory is good then this isn’t too much of a problem.
it’s difficult for me to resist comparing this game to its “spiritual successsor” hotel dusk, which is also developed by the now-defunct cing and which i thoroughly enjoyed. although the ratio of puzzles to story and the level of non-existent difficulty is about the same in both, the latter has a far more memorable art style, story, characters, and music. despite this the characters in trace memory are likable, and fans of hotel dusk or the genre in general will probably enjoy the game for what it is, a precursor to the more-complete experience that is hotel dusk.
don’t forget these trace memory links:
– FAQ at gamefaqs that includes the slight differences that result in a second playthrough
– review at nintendolife.com
– wikipedia entry on cing
– entry at wikipedia
– PDF of manual at replacementdocs.com
– official site of its actual sequel, another code: R that appeared on wii but was never released in the US
– wikipedia entry on another code: R