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Another Code: Recollection Review

Remember, remember

For a company with as crummy a track record on game preservation as Nintendo, I was surprised to learn that the Another Code series was being brought to the Switch. Likely due to the dying months of the handheld hybrid’s market cycle needing to be filled with a glut of re-releases and smaller bets, Another Code: Recollection bundles together Cing’s point-and-click adventure game duology Another Code: Two Memories of Nintendo DS fame, and its Wii bound sequel Another Code: R – A Journey into Lost Memories. In the transition to the Switch, both games have been given a unifying art style and form factor-appropriate puzzles, making for a singular, accessible experience, but not without some awkward hitches.

Even if you’ve never heard of Cing before, chances are you’ve at least seen its work on a store shelf. Assuming you came up during the Nintendo DS golden years, Google Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and tell me you don’t remember seeing that box art floating around in your childhood. The independent Japanese studio developed a niche (but fiercely loyal) fanbase for its unique take on the mystery genre, garnering the attention of major publishers like Tecmo, Capcom, and Nintendo in the 2000s. Cing would ultimately file for bankruptcy in 2010, effectively damning its distinct works to old hardware and core fan memory. Another Code: Recollection then already has my heart somewhat– regardless of enjoyment, the fact that this package exists at all is something of a small miracle in preservation terms.

Both games have been given an aesthetic you’d struggle to not call gentrified when compared to the expressively textured original works. Taisuke Kanasaki’s character design is one of those instantly clockable things, and its original translation to the DS in particular made for some distinctly crunchy (complimentary) models. Recollection’s overhaul is overly pleasant, a little too smooth and clean to truly capture the aesthetic tone of the DS release or even its sequel. Hardly a dealbreaker, the game broadly looks nice and polished for modern purposes, but Cing’s art direction may have been better served by a more stylised, adaptive approach.

Puzzles and interactivity have also been Switched up (eh?), with varying degrees of success. An early disastrous instance required the use of the Switch’s gyro controls and was perhaps the single best example of why we left that era of design in the past. Recollection’s remaining puzzles are largely inoffensive and almost always comfortably solvable (the game offers a generous hint system if you get stuck though, shoutouts), with your standard array of memory, image and pattern solving. Godawful gyro aside, the lack of touchscreen-based puzzles is also kind of strange given the first game’s DS lineage, a missed opportunity for some more tactility in Two Memories’ puzzles at the very least.

Another Code: Recollection’s puzzles are largely enjoyable

But Recollection’s biggest ick comes in its camera, which is entirely too close to the player at almost all times. While its initially glacial turning speed can be mercifully adjusted, its placement is an ongoing issue as you attempt to navigate especially small environments, the camera constantly sticking in corners or wildly swivelling to accommodate a basic change in direction. Coupled with the game’s insistence on wrestling control away from you to highlight objects, only to do so again as you get closer to said object, and the pacing of exploration begins to strain.

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Which is a shame because these games remain largely enjoyable, if a little clumsy, mystery stories. Across both title we follow Ashley, the plucky daughter of two brilliant scientists, as she attempts to solve overarching mystery cases while unpacking her own various trauma points and family issues. Both journeys give her an ensemble of characters to play off, though Two Memories’ more focused experience that sees 13-year-old Ashey join forces with a ghost boy named D, is the stronger of the two for me. This is not a particularly subtle pair of games, each finding charming, but persistent, ways to be slightly over-written and under-acted. But the lasting impact of Cing’s intent remains, a studio that leaned all the way into its own vibe, equal parts sincere musings on familial pain and legacy, and slightly goofy B-grade melodrama.

The updated art direction is pleasant but lacks some punch

If you’re coming to this collection as a fan of the original, I can’t speak to how well the overall package presents these narratives. To a pair of fresh eyes in 2024, having the benefit (or detriment) of 20-plus years of genre extrapolation and growth in mind, Recollection’s stories feel best suited to a younger audience, or at least one not familiar with the genre. Ashley is a likeable character, though her English voice acting is probably the weaker choice compared to D, who genuinely moved me at times when paired with the game’s surprisingly decent cutscene direction. Much like the art direction, it’s all very pleasant; even its darker narrative turns fit nicely into the game’s overarching, welcoming tone.

Final Thoughts

Another Code: Recollection’s translation of Cing’s original works is sometimes clumsy and often overly smoothed out for a cleaner, modern presentation, but this may well be a price fans of Another Code are willing to pay for easy access to these cult classics. Streamlined puzzle solving and a couple of compelling stories also make this a decent genre entry point for younger audiences who, much like Ashley, are ready to take their first steps into a slightly darker, more mature world. The camera made me want to commit a mysterious murder of my own, but I’m still glad these games have been recollected.

Oh, I just got it.

Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher

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Another Code: Recollection Review
Cing me a song
Another Code: Recollection is a solid repackage of two classic adventure titles that manages to celebrate the Cing games despite some lacklustre puzzles and clumsy camera controls.
The Good
Makes two classic genre titles accessible
Enjoyable puzzles with helpful hints
Charming overarching narrative and characters
The Bad
Awkward camera controls
Some clumsy gyro implementation
Art style is a little too clean
7
SOLID
  • Cing
  • Nintendo
  • Switch
  • January 19, 2024

Another Code: Recollection Review
Cing me a song
Another Code: Recollection is a solid repackage of two classic adventure titles that manages to celebrate the Cing games despite some lacklustre puzzles and clumsy camera controls.
The Good
Makes two classic genre titles accessible
Enjoyable puzzles with helpful hints
Charming overarching narrative and characters
The Bad
Awkward camera controls
Some clumsy gyro implementation
Art style is a little too clean
7
SOLID
Written By James Wood

One part pretentious academic and one part goofy dickhead, James is often found defending strange games and frowning at the popular ones, but he's happy to play just about everything in between. An unbridled love for FromSoftware's pantheon, a keen eye for vibes first experiences, and an insistence on the Oxford comma have marked his time in the industry.

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