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Keepsake: A Magical Problem Solver

Keepsake is an adventure title that puts you into a magical world full of wonder and mystery. Your character, Lydia, has just arrived at Dragonvale Academy, but there seems to be no one there. As she begins to explore the deserted grounds, Lydia soon discovers an old jester doll that she gave to a friend of hers years before. This keepsake allows Lydia glimpses into what happened at the academy, and starts to help her unravel the secret.

Along her journey, Lydia will also learn various spells and meet up with an enchanted dragon who has been turned into a wolf. Now Lydia and Zak will work together to not only return the school to its glory, but also attempt to put the dragon back in his rightful body.

Keepsake finds a nice balance point in a genre that typically sticks to extremes. Where some games will have you talking to dozens of NPCs and rooting through untold numbers of conversation branches or leave you completely isolated with only your other personalities to talk to, Keepsake has only a few, but still existent, characters to interact with.

By only having key characters to talk to, you can have conversations with people, and have it actually be relevant to the tasks at hand. There is nothing more annoying to me in an adventure game then working my way through a town, talking to everybody, and most of them giving me the same generic "I don't know anything about that" comment. Here, there are people you can talk to, and they are more than just interactive-scenery.

Keepsake is a game that will grow as you continue. Unlike most adventure titles, the difficulty of your average puzzle stays pretty constant. As you progress in this title, the challenges seem to get harder. Thankfully, there is an effective help system built in.

By clicking the help button, Lydia or Zak will give you a vague idea of where to go or what to do next. Comments like "I would like to check out X" are prevalent in this stage. If you continue to press the help button, their hints get more and more specific. An interesting aspect that I haven't seen in many, if any, adventure games is that if you ask enough times -- the action will be performed. In other words, if you are truly stumped and have cycled through all the hints, Zak will walk up and solve the problem for you. This is an interesting aspect that opens the game up for those gamers that aren't adept at problem-solving. So technically, anyone can play, beat and enjoy this game without getting too frustrated. If you start to get stumped, just ask the game -- it won't penalize you and you get to continue the story and watch the mystery unfold.

Keepsake just released, so check back soon for a full review. Though the game is geared more towards adults, it doesn't have any graphic situations that kept it from getting an Everyone ESRB rating.

This is definitely a game to keep an eye on, because not only is it pretty to look at, but the help system allows anyone even mildly interested to enjoy it.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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