Keepsake - Review

Ages: Everyone

Sheesh, I am pissed. How can a company (Wicked Studios) make the best adventure game in years, with an intriguing story, a great female character and incredible, beautiful and amazing graphics and not work out a little thing like the sound of footsteps. When the character stops walking -- the footsteps continue. I guess because otherwise, the game would be perfect.

In spite of the footsteps this is a perfect game for girls. Young Lydia comes to Dragonvale Academy to study magic with her closest friend, Cynthia and upon her arrival she finds the school deserted and so begins her quest to find her friend and discover what happened. Her companion is a wolf who was locked up and therefore escaped the disappearance. Zac, the wolf is somewhat suspicious -- claiming to be originally a dragon but sounding more and more like a student. Lydia's character is strong and adventurous and she gains in wisdom and awareness as she goes through the trials to qualify as a student at the Academy.

The game play takes place in two castles and a sanctuary. -- But what castles! The designers have evoked the feeling of being in a truly magical world with tapestries, dragon sculptures, gardens, endless corridors with flickering lights all created in a gigantic scale that both intimidates and amazes.

The lushness and construct is beyond human scale and so evokes the feeling of being in a truly magical place. Magical teleportation pads send you soaring upward through the towering heights instead of just appearing from one place to another. The quest for the Oracle will lead you on narrow paths to islands suspended in the mid-air. If everything is magical, anything can happen. The wow factor happens when something exceeds your expectation and I experienced it numerous times. You have to see it for yourself.

The puzzles are many and are all built into the architecture . Many are geometric, a few are mathematical most are required to get something to work, or get an item for a potion. When requested, hints to all the puzzles are given in three steps. One which tells you what you have to do. This answers the question, "What am I supposed to do with this? The second hint starts you on your way and the third solves it for you. This is the best hint system I have seen and the technique could bring a lot of games into the reach of the "casual gamer".

This is only part of the hint system. Because the game is like walking in a three dimensional maze, there are hints, if asked for, that will tell you where to go next and gives you an image of that space. How you get there is your training in navigation and your skill in remembering locations. By game's end, you can pretty well find your way around. And the footsteps? What footsteps? I don't hear no footsteps.

Reviewed by: Editor - 04/06

  • Keepsake
  • © The Adventure Company/Wicked Studios
  • W98SE 2000
  • To Order: Win $29.99