Sequel from obscurity
While Another Code was quite an impressive title when it launched back in 2005, it didn't exactly light up the sales chart. Not only was it overlooked by many gamers, the game quickly fell into obscurity and became one of the harder to find DS games. At the time, it appeared that the chances of a sequel were slim to none, but lo and behold, Cing and Nintendo teamed up yet again to take Ashley Robbins on another edge-of-your-seat adventure.
Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories picks up two years after the dramatic events of Blood Edward Island, in which our protagonist, Ashley, receives a letter in the mail to travel to Lake Juliet with her father. Everything seems pretty normal, but little does she know, she and her father are going to unearth pieces to their past, some of which will have them scratching their heads in thought.
Like its predecessor, Another Code R is a point-and-click style game that puts a heavy amount of emphasis on storytelling and puzzle solving. Playing as Ashley, players navigate the corners of Lake Juliet as they attempt to gather information that will help Ashley understand more about her past and what exactly happened to her beloved mother.
Those useful handheld tools
One of the main items that Ashley used on her last adventure, the DAS, makes a return, but instead of being based on the original Nintendo DS, the developers have decided to use the DSi as their inspiration. Not only does it look different in appearance, it also has the ability to access a family tree that provides players with a brief background on some of the game's main characters. As the game progresses, more and more characters will be added to the tree.
In addition to the DAS, another new device known as the RAS (Reboot Another System) has been implemented into the game. Used primarily as a hacking device, the RAS is modeled after the Wii Remote and is used for everything from unlocking doors to objects that pollute the landscape. To use the item, players aim their controller at the lock onscreen and then press corresponding buttons. It’s simple, responsive, and enjoyable.
Different points of view
On the Nintendo DS, Another Code was played from an overheard perspective, and while that worked just fine, it felt as though it could be improved upon. In Another Code R, the overheard navigation has been discarded – instead, while outdoors, the action takes place along a 2D plane, with the camera keeping Ashley on the center of the screen at all times. Upon reaching an intersection, you just select your destination and the camera then puts Ashley center stage yet again.
While inside though, things change quite a bit. Instead of being given the ability to move about the room freely, Ashley stands in the center and player takes the control of the camera around her. To avoid some possible frustrations, items that can be examined are grouped together at first and are highlighted in yellow as you pass your cursor around the screen. The exploration is entirely pointer-based, but the ability to use the D-pad to control camera-based movement is included.
Exploration makes up a large chunk of Another Code R, but one can't forget that Cing has been known for throwing some puzzle-solving elements into their titles and, fortunately, this game doesn't disappoint in that regard.
Controls and mechanics
Motion controls never feel slapped onto the game, which is quite impressive seeing as most developers seem to enjoy tacking on waggle to their products. Whenever players engage in conversations, the screen splits into two sections. Whenever an important object or motion to the character is needed, a third window is opened in the middle of the screen. If an important piece of information is brought up while chatting, a green dialogue button will appear that will enable Ashley to question others about a specific topic.
From a visual standpoint, Another Code R also impresses as not only does the cell-shaded graphics look amazing, the hand-drawn scenes that appear quite frequently help establish the game. The characters are also well animated and expressions and emotions can be identified easily.
When everything is said and done, Another Code R is unquestionably Cing’s best attempt at creating a game that plays much like a novel. The controls have been fined tuned to perfection and the visual approach also impresses. The game is a blast to play from start to finish and, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the game is one of the few must-have Nintendo titles so far this year.
A fairly lengthy and enjoyable mystery adventure.
After completing the game, there's little reason to return.