A cult classic Nintendo series returns  

A cult classic Nintendo series returns  

Review: Another Code: Recollection

Another Code, first released for the Nintendo DS in 2005, is a cult classic. The original release was an adventure game set on the mysterious Blood Edward Island, with young protagonist Ashley Mizuki Robbins discovering a family mystery with the help of D, a ghost that had been trapped on the island for decades. The game was celebrated both for its plot and its puzzles, which made interesting use of Nintendo’s dual screen handheld screen. In the game’s most famous puzzle, players needed to close the clamshell system shut to press a stamp onto a page. 

Another Code: Recollection is a remake of both Another Code and its less-beloved Wii sequel, which picked on Ashley’s story two years later, in a different location, solving a new mystery. The two games have been retrofitted into a singular coherent experience, and a lot of gimmicks have been stripped out – there are a few puzzles that require motion controls, but nothing as clever as closing the system to lay down a stamp. Another Code has been modernised and simplified – and not every change is an improvement. 

You control Ashley directly throughout the experience, exploring the game’s environments and solving puzzles to progress. The game has been designed with ease of play in mind, with a robust hint system and an optional guide to point you in the right direction so that it’s difficult to get lost. The puzzles are fun without being too challenging, especially in the first half of the game – lateral thinking and observation will generally see you through. There’s nothing that will make you feel like a genius, nor anything likely to make you feel foolish. Another Code Recollection is comfort food, despite dealing with some fairly heavy themes in the game’s plot.

For the first half of Another Code: Recollection, I found myself enjoying the way the original DS game had been updated and changed – while I missed some features specific to the original release, the story still held my attention. Ashley is a lonely young girl who is questioning her place in the world, and deciding who she wants to be – she’s a great character, and it’s easy to get invested in her story.

When you hit the back half of the game, based on the Wii release Another Code: R, the pace of the game drops significantly. While the first seven hours of Recollection is heavy on puzzles, the older Ashley is more of a conversationalist, and cutscene conversations become a much bigger focus. Ashley remains a likable and interesting character throughout, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for every person she stops to have a conversation with.

This isn’t to say that Another Code: R is all bad. It introduces enough new mysteries and twists to keep players on the hook, and I cared about Ashley’s well-being. The puzzles, when they appear, are still interesting, and the pace has actually been improved dramatically from the Wii version, which was infamously stretched out. Unfortunately, the visual overhaul that this collection has received feels much less transformative for this section – the Wii release has held up pretty well visually, but Another Code: Recollection looks extremely outdated, with muddy textures and some rough environments.  

As a fan of the original DS game, Another Code: Recollection is a charming way to revisit it, and having Ashley’s full story in one game is great. I am not sure that this is the definitive way to experience the game, though – I missed those fun, gimmicky puzzles from the original, and the way the game used all of the system’s features, including its touch screen and microphone. Even the Wii sequel’s reliance on motion controls feels like a fun twist in retrospect – this Switch release plays it far more straight. If you still have a DS and a copy of the original game in a closet somewhere, it’s still worth digging out.  

Another Code: Recollection is now available on Nintendo Switch. A review code was provided by the publisher. 
James O’Connor has been writing about games since 2008. In 2023, he won the award for Best Game Reviewer at the Samsung IT Journalism Awards. 


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