Classic point and click returns with Daedalic’s Memoria.
The death of the good old point ‘n’ click adventure game is one of those topics that’s been brought up numerous times over the last twenty years. Many pin point the release of Grim Fandango – now 15 years ago – as the precise moment the coffin was nailed shut. It’s a tedious argument, and one that doesn’t exactly have any basis within reality. Just because LucasArts lost their mojo, doesn’t mean the whole genre laid down and perished.
Daedalic Entertainment may have only been founded in 2007, but they’re churning out a wicked number of titles for the genre – a genre that’s incredibly popular in Germany, Daedalic’s home. This latest example, Memoria, is a sequel to last years hit The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav. Prior knowledge is not absolutely necessary to enjoy Memoria – we played through without more than a brief glimpse at Chains of Satinav – but fans will get a kick out of the few nudges to events played out last time around.
Memoria plays like any other example of the genre. Your mouse will remain in constant use as you chatter, barter and solve puzzles while in control of two separate characters living 500 years apart. A nudge of the space bar will display all the interactive elements on screen, so getting stuck with absolutely no idea of how to progress is a true rarity.
Puzzles drift between the astonishingly simple through to some real brain twisters. All however, are based in the worlds of logic. That combined with the fact that at no point does your inventory become too plumply stuffed helps make Memoria a joy to delve into. You will spend some time on problems and you may even need to break out a notepad from time to time to jot down a few notes, but it all makes sense. There is no combining of multiple seemingly unconnected elements in a blatantly unsuitable environment to open a completely hidden door here. Nothing is easy, but when you figure out a solution you’ll feel a sense of pride, rather than muttering ill will on the minds that came up with such an illogical escapade.
The world of Memoria is rarely short of breath-taking sights to witness. The hand drawn aesthetics are something that you can’t fail to be impressed by. It helps give each character both a warmth and sense of place in a gorgeous world that just manages to feel real. The voice acting for the most part is exemplary, though there are a few instances of dialogue spoken in an unusual tone which can briefly confuse. The biggest praise you can level upon a title in a genre where characterization truly matters is that you’ll actually care about the games two main protagonists as you reach the story’s end. That’s not something that can be said for too many games out on the shelves.
The included quest log means that if you wish to play through Memoria at a slower pace, you’ll always be able to drop back in and immediately know just what you’re set on doing. It’s a show of just how much Daedalic know and care about the genre and the gamers they’re catering to. A more mature game means a more mature gamer who perhaps doesn’t have the ability to play through over a matter of days anymore. This is one you can dip in and out of over a period of weeks and still know what’s going on almost instantly.
The characters are universally well written too, and it’s a twisting tale that’s quite dissimilar to most. Tongue is most certainly firmly in cheek for the vast majority of the time, ensuring that although this is quite a slow paced and serious game, it’s never overly tiresome and full of alleged ‘deep meaning.’
Memoria is a wonderful example of the more modern, and more mature adventure game.
Though none of the characters themselves you’ll control and meet through to it’s conclusion are overly memorable – perhaps due to the sometimes off translation from the games native German – the world itself is one that will stick with you for a long time to come.
If you’re sick and tired of the breakneck speed most games force you through their narrative stream, this is a wonderful and even relaxing trip to a world that anyone who remembers ye olde days of the genre’s heyday with a warm fuzzy feeling.