Once in a while, you’ll come across a title that was never really hyped up. You play it and find very quickly that you’re playing something very special. My Memory of Us is one of those titles. A pure and heartfelt story woven into a dark yet subtle theme. The narrator is one of the characters you play, and he tells his story of his childhood adventures. While there isn’t any talking by the actual characters that you play as, you can tell they are bonding and can understand the symbols and gestures provided by interaction. It’s a casual slow paced game that doesn’t get boring.
Here’s what I liked:
Black and White — Visually, My Memory of Us deserves some applause. The use of black and white paints you into the past while red is thrown in for other reasons. Red is used as a means to know what your objectives are or specific items that can be used. Besides being a game mechanic, it’s also symbolic. Characters that have red clothes often are laughed at or sought after by the enemy. Discrimination seems to be an underlying but “all too real” tone. When the girl is in red, she is not allowed in certain locations or will be attacked on sight. While the boy, not in red, can walk around freely. This not only adds to the puzzle aspect but moves the story along quite nicely.
Replaying chapters — A nice feature you can use is chapter select. You can even look at the collectible memories to see if you’ve missed any. This gives a small touch of replayability. The achievements are often tied to puzzles, and if you fail to obtain them then you can use chapter select to give it another try.
Puzzles — Within each chapter, there are a few puzzles. A lot of them have to do with switching between your characters and hitting buttons. They also have mini-game based ones where you’re not controlling any character. While still being somewhat challenging and thought-provoking, none of the puzzles require any type of guide. You can figure them out, yet they won’t be overly easy. There are all kinds of variation. There are a few that I thought were extremely intelligently designed. I really enjoyed all of them and felt good when they were solved.
Soundtrack — Music in My Memory of Us is charming and in good taste. It was composed and produced by Patryk Scelina. I find it sounds like it could be in a major motion picture instead of an indie game. I rarely pay attention to most music in video games, but I found myself looking up the soundtrack to hear it without the distractions of the actual game. There are almost two hours of music!
Always something new — Progressing through the story, you won’t really have to do the same thing twice. There are several puzzles, and they’re all unique. Each stealth section even has something a little bit different. There are enough twists in the plot that change how you have to approach the chapters. They even have sections when you’re on a vehicle! It’s surprising that there were a couple of sections that you actually get to shoot things. From the beginning to the end, you will always be doing something you haven’t before.
Here’s what I didn’t like
Aiming — Both the boy and the girl each have a tool they must aim with to use. The girl can use a slingshot, which is great for hitting buttons and knocking certain objects down. It’s extremely slow as you move the angle of projection. The higher you go, the slower it goes as well. This doesn’t really add any challenge; it’s just downright annoying. The boy can use a mirror, but this kid must have had too much caffeine. The cursor stutters around like it’s having a seizure. Again, this doesn’t add any challenge to doing it; it’s just there for no reason. There could have been additional puzzles where you had to aim and time things faster. Instead, we’re left with a confusing addition to an otherwise excellent game.
Character Switching — I couldn’t find many flaws, but I felt the character swapping didn’t feel fluid. Having the RB button as the method to switch didn’t feel natural. I often hit the opposite button because the character to the left was the one I wanted to switch to. As far as movement, I always wanted to be the girl because she could run. The boy gave a sluggish feeling to the game. When both characters are needed to move an object, it often was a mess as well.
A beautifully drawn and narrated story proves there are still many hidden gems out there we often don’t notice. The game’s presentation is like a kid’s book that came to life, and you get to control the heroes, which is a stark contract in some ways to the deep nature of the plot. The story is based as a loose allegory for World War II. They obviously made a lot of changes, such as the robotic enemies; however, they handled an incredibly complex and dark theme well. I am very glad I got the opportunity to experience it. I had no clue what the game was when I fired it up on my Xbox. It was a pleasant surprise, and I hope more people get the chance to play and appreciate this work of art.
Score: Must Buy
My Memory of Us was published IMGN Pro and developed by Juggler Games / Crunching Koalas on Xbox One. It was released on October 10, 2018 for $19.99. A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.