My Memory of Us is a charming title that uses a beautiful art style with a whimsical touch to tell a story about two children during the Nazi Occupation of Poland. Its gameplay is mainly simple puzzle solving and travelling left and right on it’s linear world. While this is all quite simple, the game’s beating optimistic heart will make it an experience you’ll remember.
While the subject matter is quite grim, My Memory of Us endears to show you the positive side of human nature. The title also boasts narration from Patrick Stewart, which is as warming as you would imagine. The side-scroller is presented in black and white with stylistic splashes of colour. Collectables scattered around the game give historical details of heroism in Poland during the time period, making the game an interesting experience as well as emotional.
The Girl in The Red Coat
The driving force of My Memory of Us is the story, characters and heart. The Nazi occupation is analgised as an invasion by an evil robot army. A now elderly version of one of the two playable characters tells the story to a modern day youngster, providing an explanation for this within the narrative. The analogy gives the game some detachment from its dark subject matter. However, this doesn’t cheapen the experience. Neither does the slightly whimsical nature of some occasional robot scenes. Instead it allows My Memory of Us to have its cake and eat it too. It can give historic detail and stories, while avoiding the game becoming too weighed down by the seriousness of its heavy subject matter.
Slightly surreal aspects appear often, such as scaling a mountain of suitcases. Without these touches, My Memory of Us could easily have became too saccharine. The characters within the world communicate through symbols and noises. This system is deceptively simple. It manages to convey an awful lot through very little communication.
The playable characters are a young boy and girl. These two have fairly ordinary lives which are shattered by the occupation. The analogy for victims are ‘Red People’. The robot army prints these red people with permanent branding. The imagery is lifted straight from Schindler’s List, it’s used here to tell a story about genocide in a child-friendly way. With one of your characters marked as red, the young pair end up seeing the worst of the conflict as they try to survive and escape.
I Want to Hold Your Hand
The children both have unique abilities that you’ll need to mix and match to progress. Both are playable. When not separated, they hold hands to allow you to move both at once. While it is a cutesy way to connect the two character, holding hands is also utilised well as a mechanic. This allows both characters to use the method of movement used by the character leading the two, such as sneaking, hiding, or running.
My Memory of Us is primarily puzzle based. The game consists of side-scrolling through the world, with puzzles spread around. This is varied enough to keep you interested. While few are ground breaking in their originality, as soon as one style is mastered you’re unlikely to ever see it again. Most have a solution that can be fairly easily deduced. However, they are not simple as to become boring, this keeps the story moving at a good pace while challenging you from time to time.
My Memory of Us is essentially played on rails, with each screen being meticulously laid out and scripted. This provides for a polished and planned experience but can leave you lacking the feeling of agency over the game. In some sections the useable item or activity will be blatantly obvious. Everything you can interact with is coloured differently. This often makes moving from set piece to another a simple of question of looking for the red thing. This is in contrast to the puzzle solving in the mini-game outside of this overworld, which is considerably more interesting.
Do Everything in The Right Order and Everything is Fine
A few glitches or bugs are noticeable in the main side-scrolling areas. Doing things in an unintended order clearly causes the game some problems. An example would be in the first section where there’s a puzzle without it’s own section. Hitting cherries from a tree with a slingshot causes them to drop off the tree. If you do this before you find the bucket to drop them into, some of the cherries will drop endlessly to the ground. A cherry will repeatedly drop until you find a bucket, with a separate cherry frozen on the ground. Once the bucket is found and you return to the planned sequence of solving the puzzle, the game corrects itself and progresses.
The simple left and right control scheme is augmented with up and down used to enter side areas, or climb onto and down from objects. Entering secondary rooms can often feel strange in this way. The 2.5D art style makes this system not particularly match the movement of characters on screen. It’s the trade between simplicity of controls and such a richly drawn world.
Small bugs and issues like this are to be expected in a game of this scale from a small developer and they are by no means a major factor in the experience. Unfortunately, they break the immersion of the otherwise highly crafted world. This periodically takes you out of the story. These issues are minor. It’s essentially nit-picking. Otherwise the main levels of My Memory of Us are deceptively detailed. With most areas viewed only once, it allows everything happening in them to be planned and executed in a way that usually evokes one emotion or another. it’s rare that a game manages to do this with most new screen.
- Powerful Story
- Beautiful Art
- Fun and varied Puzzles
- Simplistic over-world sections
- Some bugs
My Memory of Us is a beautifully animated drama. The story is compelling and its optimism is heart warming. The surreal and whimsical touches stop this from becoming overwhelming. Some quality of life issues prevents it from being a perfect game. Despite this, anyone who values a compelling story or emotional depth should play this game.