Sunday, 18 November 2012

Keepsake: Game Design Review

Keepsake is an adventure game where you play a girl who arrives at a magical academy for her first day only to find the academy mysteriously locked, closed and empty. It's up to you to figure out what's happening.

It's not really an inventory based game. It's closer to a collection of puzzles wrapped in a story. You do pick up a few items and need to solve puzzles to win some of the items but will automatically use them at appropriate moments.  The game has a good inbuilt hint system that starts off giving you vague hints and becomes more specific and will even solve the puzzles for you if necessary!

The game starts off well, with some good puzzles and an interesting plot. A lot reviewers commented on the second half of the game being as really bad. The puzzles in the second half aren't too difficult when it comes to figuring out what sort of puzzle it is, the problem is that they are just too complicated and tedious! The high difficulty is the only major complaint I have about this game.

Consider for example a puzzle where you have limited moves to get a puzzle piece across a grid. You know what you have to do to solve the puzzle by carefully rearranging and swapping certain pieces. However there are so many different pieces that the brain power required to solve the puzzle is simply too taxing for your average adventure gamer!

There's a particularly annoying garden puzzle where the switch  to change the seasons in the garden is 3 or 4 rooms away making the puzzle ways more annoying than necessary. If it just had a difficulty slider of some sort, it would have made the game much more fun. As it stands, the hint system helps negates the difficulty of the game since you can just by pass the harder puzzles.

The other minor complaints is the fairly short length of the game, voice acting could be better and the lack of characters in the game.

Overall I actually enjoyed the game. It is a fairly good adventure game and it would rank amongst one of the better efforts except for the annoying puzzles in the second half which completely ruin any sense of progression. Recommended, but only if you enjoy adventure games.

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