Published on May 20th, 2013 | by Michaela Buckley0
Another Code: Two Memories
The DS is a games system perfect for two things; Real Time Strategies and Point and Click Adventures.
Fortunately for Another Code: Two Memories, it is the first point and click on the DS and released early in the console’s span back in 2005.
Released by the Japanese Cing, a now bankrupt company who later released another point and click on the DS called Hotel Dusk and a strategy type game called Little King’s Story on the Wii.
There is a sequel to the game set a couple of years later and released on the Wii called Another Code: R – A Journey into Lost Memories, an unintentional spoiler that at very least Ashley survives the unperilous events of the first game. Unusually Another Code R was only released in Japan and Europe, another one of the many games that Nintendo of Europe so kindly decided to publish for us.
The game follows Ashley, a young girl who has been summoned to “Blood Edward Island” by her long estranged father, she has been given a “DAS” which is actually just a DS with odd pretensions of being otherwise. Upon reaching the island her father soon spirits himself away to a mansion where she must go in order to find him and discover her more about her mother’s death and the reason for her father’s absence from her the past ten years, working on “Memory research”.
As with any point and click the main gameplay is navigating screens discovering items, solving puzzles and unlocking routes to progress, however unlike most other adventure games, this is on the DS so the top screen is the room and the bottom is a top down 3D view, which is how you move Ashley around, when an area can be “searched” the top screen’s image moves down onto the bottom screen so you can use the stylus to move around and “point and click”, which ends more as “point and poke” but I think “click” is more family friendly. The majority of the game can be played without using the stylus and touchscreen for those that prefer minimal usage of them, but the touchscreen controls are ergonomical and intuitive so it’d be counterproductive and cumbersome to avoid using them religiously.
Well this is all sounding a little tame for a Japanese game isn’t it? Hardly the usual craziness and oddities, oh wait, she befriends a ghost who helps her on her quest through the mansion which houses the secret to his own twisted past.
Like Ashley, the ghost “D” is about 14 years old (well, was) and used to live in the house before it became the residence of her father. D is unable to recall his own mysterious and death and so works together with Ashley to discover the secrets of the mansion.
Another character which goes missing pretty early on is Jessica, Ashley’s aunt who has been looking after her since her father’s abandonment. You’d really have to be a bit of a fool to not realise that Jessica knows a lot more than she’s letting on. Her disappearance makes a convenient macguffin for Ashley’s not discovering more about the situation earlier.
The DS functions are utilised well within the context of the game, making for some fluid gameplay and interesting puzzles. An in-game camera function means you can take a picture of a room or object and then compare against another image or area, and you can manipulate the images such as moving a picture over another so that they overlap in order to figure out a puzzle.
Not only are the touchscreen controls handy in the game, but the dual screen, the hinge and the microphone all become pulled in for some of the puzzles, ensuring that even the hardened point and click gamer will have to think outside the box (and the realms of the game) in order to complete some of the puzzles. One such puzzle was rather difficult for me in particular, the puzzle required the screens to be pushed closer together to reflect an image from the top screen onto the bottom screen, the overlayed image forming a letter and a number. Unfortunately I am unable to properly see different depths so couldn’t make out what the answer was.
Clocking in a little over 5 hours, the game is incredibly short and you can really feel it as you play. The rooms are not set up to extract a great amount of time and you often feel like you’re leaving as soon as you’ve arrived.
The story doesn’t progress much in depth and feels a little convoluted in comparison to the little amount that’s really happening, the progression is fast paced and there’s not much development or discussion between the characters of Ashley and D outside the realm of the current situation and their two pasts.
Much of the puzzles is fetching fluff, often an item that clearly is going to come in handy is not picked up until the item’s use has become abundantly clear and objects that are obviously part of a puzzle are treated as if it’s just another part of the room, not even commenting on the odd nature of the item, for example there being a painting on the wall and a mark next to it where another painting used to be, the character would completely neglect to acknowledge the bare wall.
The game is not particularly difficult and with the story, characters and the odd dialogue, it seems like the game is aimed at younger players, possibly with the intent of introducing the genre to them. In this respect the game achieves what it set out to do, but it will leave the majority of gamers a little unsatisfied, particularly if the novelty of owning a DS has already worn off.
A great game to chill out and spend some time doing between Ace Attorney releases and other better adventure games or if you’re just a really unconfident gamer that likes a cheap sense of achievement.