Memoria Review (PC)
I recently had an argument with a friend, who claimed indies make too many point-and-clicks, because they’re so easy to make, going on to say that “they’re only there to look pretty”. While I have to agree that they are technically simple games, they are most definitely not easy, and they do much more than look pretty. And Memoria illustrates my argument perfectly.
The game takes you through two converging storylines: a mage in hiding, who is seeking a special spell, and a princess from hundreds of years and thousands of miles away who is much more cunning than she would first show. The whole thing takes place in the unfortunately named land of Aventuria (urgh), although it is a much more beautifully fleshed out world than the name would indicate. There are past conflicts that you find out about, as well as ones that are happening as you play, and they really make the world seem alive. And what’s a point-and-click without a great story? Not only do you get two in Memoria, but they interweave beautifully. I found it entertaining that, just as I was getting used to and attached to the character I was playing as at the time, the chapter changed and swapped me back to the other character, so I was even more eager to finish the existing chapter. Rinse, repeat.
The puzzles in Memoria are really quite clever. They are (at least for me) the kind of puzzles that are not immediately obvious, but when you finally solve them, you realize how much sense they made. Not only that, but it does feel pretty uplifting when the story advances, because the story is so good. The mechanics are the point-and-click standard, where the characters have an inventory and you either use items on other items, or on the environment to progress. However, each character also benefits from spells, which are key to solving some of the puzzles. These fit in with the world very well, and are very intuitive when it comes to their use. I have only had one problem with the game when, upon completion of a puzzle, I couldn’t interact with anything anymore and the princess decided to go for a walk into infinity. Unfortunately, this cost me my progress up until that point. An hour worth of gameplay, which I somehow managed to recover within about 10 minutes. I realized that I had spent a lot of time trying to figure out puzzles, but almost as much time inspecting the hotspots in the game (which you can see clearly by pressing the spacebar – it does facilitate guesswork more than the classic games, but it also streamlines the puzzles a little bit) and learning about the lore and the characters themselves through the dialogue.
As for looking pretty? Well, Memoria absolutely excels at that. You can tell a lot of love went into this project, because every scene is breathtakingly beautiful. It is one big, interactive digital painting. Even some of the characters are painted and animated as such (except for the main characters, who are 3D models). A few scenes in particular stood out, and this happens rarely for me in point-and-clicks.
Memoria is more than your average indie point-and-click. It is ambitious in its bold art style and in its storytelling, and it hits its goals perfectly. It is ever so slightly unstable, and the hotspot view may put some genre veterans off (although, it is purely optional), and the magic system adds a new layer to the already clever puzzle solving. This is a title that I can happily put alongside some of the classic adventure titles, like the Syberia games.
4 snarky demons out of 5Memoria Review (PC),