My Memory of Us Gaming Review
My Memories of Us is story driven platformer from Juggler Games that is based upon actual historical events. Released last year on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the game is just now coming to Nintendo Switch. From the perspective of two children you will explore a city under enemy occupation using stealth to complete clever puzzles while enjoying a story narrated by a familiar voice.
The story of My Memory of Us is told to us by an old bookshop keeper and tells the tale of a young boy and girl who are fighting for their survival and friendship in a time of war. After the Robot King and his army invade and occupy their city, some citizens find themselves ‘marked’ and separated from the rest of society. Despite being separated by a huge wall and a fierce dictatorship determined to keep them apart, the young boy and girl have each other and it is their friendship that gives them hope. Based upon real stories from World War II, the game takes a different approach to what you would come to expect from a game set in a world inspired by 1940s Poland. While the cold and emotionless robots are most likely an illustration of the Nazis themselves, the game tells a story of love and hope rather than focusing on the nightmarish real-life events.
Made up of 18 chapters and taking under 5 hours to complete, My Memory of Us is a side scrolling game with elements of stealth and puzzle. Players can take control of both characters individually and together depending on the obstacles you face. Each character has their own special abilities which you will have to make full use of. The boy is stealthy and can sneak past enemies while the girl is fast, which allows her to outrun enemies and jump over gaps. Getting the characters to hold hands will join them together and will allow you to use both abilities on both characters. Since the characters can not always be joined, each has a ‘weapon’ that they can use to help out the other. The boy is equipped with a mirror that he can use to reflect light into the eyes of an enemy which will in turn allow the girl to sneak past them herself, and the girl has a slingshot that is used to obtain out of reach objects. Switching between characters and joining them together is very easy and is done at the press of a button, but can become tricky and awkward in faster gameplay moments.
The game is built around problem solving and starts off relatively simple with the puzzles being straight forward, but as the game progresses the element of stealth comes into it a lot more and you find yourself having to use some brain power. While some puzzles do repeat themselves, like finding the code to a locked door, each is very unique and are genuinely exciting to come by. The puzzles you come across later in the game become much more creative and do of course increase in difficulty but never feel too hard. The dialogue system is almost a puzzle in itself as it is built around the language of symbolic pictures. The symbols and pictures are to be taken very literally and tell you exactly what you need to do without holding your hand through it, so you must use your knowledge of what the game has taught you so far to understand and complete the puzzles.
Although the story sees the light rather than the dark events of war, the game’s undertone is still very tragic and the collectables system brings your attention to the real events of the war. By collecting the photographs that are scattered throughout the game, you unlock historical information and can read about important Polish figures during the Nazi invasion.
The gameplay and story of My Memory of Us is fantastic but there is no doubt that it is the visual style of the game that really make it stand out. The 1930s style animation works very well and helps retain the historical undercurrent of the story. The colour palette takes its inspiration from Schindler’s List (1993) with its red splashes in a monochrome world, which is very fitting of the game’s message of hope in what seems like a hopeless situation. The sound is just as impressive with the music adding to the portrayed emotion, and of course Sir Patrick Stewart’s narration, which leaves us feeling nostalgic for our own childhood story time.
The bittersweet story of My Memory of Us takes an important and tragic part of history and focuses on the good rather than the bad. The gameplay is very engaging with puzzles that are well thought out and an art style that is not only very appealing at first glance but has a deeper meaning.