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Keeepsake
(hx) 07:38 PM EDT - Apr,19 2006

Developed by Montreal-based Wicked Studios, Keepsake is a 3rd-person fantasy-themed adventure game in which you get to play the role of Lydia. She is a young girl who has been given the opportunity to study at the Dragonvale Academy, one of the most prestigious magic schools in the realm. Not just any school mind, magic school, for magic kids. When she arrived at the Academy, no welcoming party was there for her... only empty halls and classrooms. Strangely, not a single soul was around. Not even Celeste, her very best friend, who was a Dragonvale student, was there to meet her. After some searching Lydia's curiosity quickly turned to worry when she stumbled on something she had not seen in a very long time, an old doll, a keepsake she gave her best friend some eight years ago...Obviously, your task is to find out where everyone is and why they've done a runner.

Gameplay in Keepsake is pretty much as you'd expect from an adventure title. It has some "traditional" gameplay mechanics, but it also incorporates some puzzle Myst-like game elements and it mixes them in a very nice way. The puzzles aren't as difficult or complicated as in the Myst series, but they're challenging nonetheless. Many are geometric, a few are mathematical most are required to get something to work, or get an item for a potion. Fortunately, there is a help button which will give you a series of hints or even solve it for you if you happen to be like me after not getting enough sleep. The First Hints tell you the object of the puzzle, the Second Hints give you more details, and the Third Hints tell you as much as possible without revealing the solution. If you still can't figure out the puzzle, the final option is to simply give you the solution.

Most of the game is open - you can explore a lot of the school surroundings while trying to solve puzzles and gather items in the order you want. However, the main story has a linear path. The atmosphere of loneliness and desertion is central to the game, so it's important to understand what the game is not. It is not a standard quest style adventure, filled with dialogue and inventory and loads of varied locations. Keepsake takes place entirely in and around Dragonvale, and it's very much a game focused on quiet exploration and puzzles.

Overall, Keepsake is not a bad game. If you really love point&click Myst-like adventure games, this might be a game for you.

related links: homepage, demo, patch (EU), walktrough 1 / walktrough 2, Keepsake CDROM

System requirements: 1 GHz Intel Pentium 3 processor or AMD Athlon processor , 256MB RAM (512 MB on Windows XP), 32 MB 3D accelerated video card (NVIDIA GeForce or ATI), 4x CD-ROM (or PC DVD-ROM drive), 100% DirectX Compliant (EAX Recommended), 1.4GB free Hard Disk Space


snd: 3/5 - voice acting feels forced, only few ambient sounds
gfx: 4/5 - impressive prerendered surroundings, some of the outside locations look bland, weaker character animations
playability: 4/5 - solid, interesting story, intuitive controls, +20 hours of puzzles, aid system when stuck, some crashes, no auto-save
genre: point-and-click adventure
release: April 2006
developer: Wicked Studios
publisher: Adventure Company (DreamCatcher)
Good
Overall: 72%


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