Amnesia was released on the PSP back in 2011. It was ported over as Amnesia: Memories to the PlayStation Vita and Steam in 2015. Those in the Otome game space should have knowledge of it since it has a cult classic reputation. Idea Factory announced that it will be ported over to Nintendo Switch! I was excited to try my hand at getting into this series.
Game Name: Amnesia: Memories Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Steam, PS Vita Publisher(s): Idea Factory International Developer(s): Idea Factory, Design Factory Release Date: September 20th, 2022 Price: $49.99
Amnesia: Memories is about the story of a spirit who links up with a girl (Who is you) which results in her losing all her memories. She must now work on getting them all back with the help of this spirit whose name is Orion. She has a colorful cast of friends to help her as you get to decide which person is the best one to help you get your memories back and who is trustworthy enough to know you just got amnesia. If you are too trusting of people, you may find your way to an end that results in your demise.
The Path to Remembrance
You start the game by being able to decide between four routes. Heart, Diamond, Spade, and Club routes. The route you choose determines the boy who is your boyfriend from the beginning. Some of the story plot changes and choices that differ based on the route. The Heart route follows Shin, it is recommended to choose his route first in order to get the hang of all the characters and the world. You get to decide your character’s choices, all detailed for you by Orion. Even though the main character is a silent protagonist, Orion adds a flair to the decisions, and Orion will even speak the dialogue your character says to the people around you.
Even though each route determines who you are dating from the get-go, it doesn’t mean you only interact with him. Every route has some interaction with the rest of the cast. Who you choose makes you get closer to those that are close to them. Kind of like dating in real life, you don’t just date your partner, but also you are integrated into their life and their circle of friends. The way you get your memories back is by interacting with places and situations that remind you of those memories. A single street or railroad can be a catalyst that surges you to remember something. A conversation you have with a friend can remind you of phrases that can bring back a whole conversation you may have had with them earlier in your life. The problem is trying to figure out all the parts that do help you remember. Listening to your boyfriend can be helpful, or sometimes it can be limiting. If they get too overprotective of you and make it so you can’t get out too much by monopolizing your time, then it makes it difficult to stimulate your senses. There is a ton of nuance in this game with what will remind you of something and what will not.
When you accomplish the best endings of the four routes, you then get access to a secret route known as the Joker route. This one has the most information in determining your character, personality, and the world you live in, but it also has a ton more dynamic choices that can affect you in a negative way. There are a ton of bad endings and not as good endings in this route so be sure to pay attention is key to the route. You may make one mistake and instantly end the route prematurely. This is a route I recommend just to help you understand the actual premise of the game and how everything came to be. It also shows a lot of interaction between all the characters in the game.
You have a variety of options that help you out in the game. You can have quick saves and quick loads at the drop of a button. You also can access the settings for skipping all dialogue that you have read thus far. This setting was a god-send feature in this game, and I want all Visual Novels to have a setting that skips all dialogue that you have already read in a previous playthrough. I was able to complete routes in record time for multiple endings by just reading only the dialogue that was new to me. You also can save and load a game at any time of the game. If you fear you might make a bad choice or if you just want to see what happens on the route with either choice, you can easily make two save files and continue going down each one to see the end.
A World Full of Art
Amnesia: Memories is a game that has fantastic art and design. Each character has such a mood when you look at their design. Shin has such a brash aesthetic that paints him in a color of being bold and uncaring. Toma’s design has high energy that makes him seem full of life and love (Don’t be fooled). Ikki is someone who just screams playboy. Kent’s coat and large layers of clothing make him seem extremely reserved. Ukyo just looks weird and out of place, just as he should. Each character has had thought and care put into the way they look and speak. This game’s strongest spot of the game is the art and the story.
There is a variety of backgrounds in this game. Mainly you have a park, your apartment, the cafe you work at, the apartments of all the boys in the game, and the university you attend. They don’t have a lot of colors, but you can usually determine where you are at with these backgrounds, so it does the job it needs to. The one thing I wished this game had more of was the art. There is a good chunk of it, but I feel like they have more reused art scenes than the game needs.
Hearing With Your Heart
Amnesia: Memories has a weird relationship with its sound direction. The voice acting, some of the downtime music, and the mood music are all really good and atmospheric. Sometimes the music just doesn’t always fit with what is going on. Something serious will be going on the music switches to a light tune that kind of underplays the moment. Other times something more humorous happens, and a big epic string of notes will occur, making it seem triumphant when it doesn’t deserve it. There is only a Japanese audio option in this game so if you want English voiceovers, then you are out of luck. The voices they chose, though, are all fantastic for the characters they portray.
After playing Amnesia: Memories and going through a lot of the routes, I can understand why it has such a cult classic following. The story is absolutely bonkers but enjoyable. The characters are all very enjoyable and have a lot of depth to them. There is even a second story lying underneath all of the routes that explain a lot of the choices of how the game is played. Also Toma needs to go to some serious therapy and possibly have some time to just chill.
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Amnesia: Memories is a solid Otome game that shows a fun twist to think of how dating routes go. It has great art, and characterization, though the option of choice isn’t always very impactful.