It’s a real testament to a game when a reviewer struggles to put it down in order to review it and that’s exactly the kind of game Memoria is. After months of press releases, video diaries and the Beta release the full game is finally upon us available on Steam. Shall we take a look at it?
Memoria, from multi award-winning indie studio Daedelic Entertainment is an epic Point and Click adventure game with gorgeous hand-drawn artwork and a massive orchestral score. Boasting intelligent puzzles and a unique take on a classic genre, Memoria tells a winding tale of magic and lost heroes and heroines.
Daedelic describes the game as follows: Memoria tells the tale of princess Sadja of the faraway-land of Fasar, who once ventured into war to fight demons in the Gorian Desert. Her goal – to become the greatest hero of all time – was foiled under mysterious circumstances. Something had occurred, the girl disappeared and her tale was eventually forgotten.
Five centuries pass, until one day Geron, a young bird catcher, meets a traveling merchant named Fahi in his native forest. This merchant promises to turn Geron’s girlfriend Nuri, who has been transformed into a Raven, back into human form. But this favor comes at a price: Geron has to finally solve the mystery of Sadja’s fate.
He agrees without hesitation – unknowing that this will trigger a chain of events that will soon cast a shadow on his homeland and turn his present into a dark image of its long forgotten past…
The game starts with Geron searching for the merchant in a forest, this chapter also serves as a tutorial. As a point and click game there aren’t many controls to learn but I’ve always liked tutorials that take place actually in the game rather than being a separate piece. Move the cursor round the screen and click where you would like the character to go and hitting the space bar will show points of interests. This is actually more useful than I first thought because Memoria is a 2D game (only the characters are in 3D) so the camera can’t be panned around to reveal paths which sometimes aren’t always too obvious without these indicators. Clicking on the points of interests with the left button will have the character interacting with it and right-clicking will give a little description which not only provides clues to objectives but also provides a surprising amount of information thus adding more depth to the story. Moving the cursor all the way down to the bottom of the screen brings up Memoria’s party piece which is a toolbar where not only is where all the objects the player picks up along the way are kept but also it is in this toolbar where the player can combine the items to make them useful and the magic spells. The clever thing about this toolbar is again the depth it has, there has been so many times where I would pick up an object and have no clue what it’s use would be, there has even been occasions where my best guesses for said items were completely wrong! I would be carrying an object for what feels like forever then a Eureka moment would reveal what the game actually wants me to do with it, giving me a wonderful sense of accomplishment. As the game progresses combining items with each other and even with magic spells become integral to solving puzzles but this is the most difficult part of Memoria as the solutions are not at all obvious or straightforward. This isn’t necessarily a problem with the game, it’s just Memoria isn’t an easy.
Memoria is a gorgeous game, it’s backdrops look like they patiently and lovingly hand-drawn and for the most part the characters look great as well but my main gripe is how much they stand out against the lush, detailed backgrounds. It reminds me of the old Final Fantasy’s or Resident Evils from the 90’s, again this isn’t necessarily a problem with the game but it gives the impression that your characters are not in the game, they’re just running through it. Memoria’s soundtrack however doesn’t put a foot wrong, it’s subtle when it needs to be such as providing atmosphere but explodes into massive orchestral scores when the action picks up. The production values are as high as any Hollywood blockbuster.
My favourite aspect of Memoria though has to be its fascinating story. It jumps between Geron and Sadja always unpredictably and at first both characters respective tales don’t seem connected at all but slowly Geron’s actions start to affect Sadja’s story then towards the end the two stories marry with an incredible conclusion. Memoria is mostly a serious game that requires a lot of brain power and patience but there is the odd moment of comic relief. Geron is simple man with a with a simple background, he just wants to save his girlfriend so many jokes are made at his expense without Geron even realising it. Sadja also has a terrifically dry sense of humour with a hint of sarcasm. There is also a rumour making the rounds on the web where it is actually possible to complete the game after only an hour in by meeting a particular character at a particular place at a particular time!
To round up
- Fantastical story
- Beautiful backgrounds
- Epic soundtrack
- Challenging, intelligent puzzles
The not so Good
- The 3D characters stand out against the lush 2D backgrounds
- The difficulty could put less patient players off
Daedelic Entertainment have made another award-winning game, proving they are expert crafters of adventure games.