Keepsake (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Graphics: 8.25
Sound: 6.75
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 8.00

Keepsake has been in development at Montreal based Wicked Studios for some time now (we did an interview with them about the game back in the fall of last year). Thanks to The Adventure Company, North American gamers everywhere can get their hands on the title, and it was well worth the wait. Although some of the presentation elements aren’t perfect, the game is still worth playing for anyone that wants a well spun tale.

The game is a traditional point and click based games, with plenty of puzzles to keep things moving along. One thing that Wicked Studios did to help out casual adventure players was to implement a hint system. If you are stuck at any point in the game, it is possible to get a hint on what to do next. Or if you are really desperate, the game will eventually even be able to solve a particular puzzle for you (although this should always be used as a last resort). This system ensures that players will never be stuck for too long, and it definitely helps out.

Speaking of puzzles, Keepsake does an extremely good job in keeping them not only interesting and varied, but it does a good job in making them logical enough for most people to understand. Whereas recent adventure games have had an overabundance of inventory based puzzles, the ones in Keepsake are entirely based on logic and patterns. Some of them are very Myst-esque, yet they remain interesting and fun throughout.

Graphically the game is extremely impressive, and is definitely one of the highlights of the genre. DragonvaleAcademy is an absolutely beautiful locale, and is full of surprises throughout the course of the game. As this is a point and click game, everything is gorgeously pre-rendered. In addition, the academy is huge (which is a blessing and a curse at times). There is one flaw though, and that is the cutscenes. For whatever reason, they don’t look near as good as the in-game scenes, and are a little bit choppy (perhaps many of these scenes should have been rendered using the in-game engine). Wicked Studios definitely took their time to craft a great looking graphics engine, and it shows.

Keepsake is a non-violent adventure that gamers of all ages should be able to enjoy. The story follows a young lady named Lydia, who is a new student at Dragonvale Academy (a school that teaches magic). Upon arriving at the school, Lydia discovers that the school is completely deserted, and her friend Celeste is missing. Shortly into the game she discovers a companion named Zak, who has been turned into a wolf. Zak claims to be a dragon, and provides some comedic relief throughout the course of the game. He also helps to fully flesh out the storyline, and even plays a role in a few of the puzzles. Although the story has no major twists or turns and is rather slow to get going, it is well developed throughout the course of the game and is on par with a fantasy novel.

One area where the game falters a little bit is in the voice acting. Although the voices seem to have been improved slightly from the European version of the game, they still sound a little too cheesy. For a story that is as involved as this, it is unfortunate that the voice quality doesn’t quite match up. They just sound a bit too amateur-ish, and could’ve used some more work. The background music fares much better however, and is very soft and atmospheric. It makes exploring the school a delight, and matches up well with the beautiful sights.

Keepsake is a game that will help to keep the adventure genre going, as it has an enjoyable storyline and excellent puzzles. Although the voice acting is a little weak and there is a little too much running around from one end of the school to the other, these are minor flaws to an otherwise excellent title. Support The Adventure Company’s decision to publish this title, and give Keepsake a go, as it is proof that the adventure genre still has some life left in it. It’s a slightly flawed effort, but definitely an impressive debut from a new developer.

Overall Rating: 8.00

Leave a Reply