Daedelic Entertainment has made a solid name for itself among fans of the adventure genre. Sadly, it’s a corner of the gaming universe that never really grew with the rest of the industry, which makes it extra comforting to see a company focusing on it, and developing such great games in the process.
For the uninitiated, Daedelic is probably best known for the Deponia and Edna & Harvey series, but it is also behind some other great stuff, including The Whispered World, The Night of the Rabbit – which I recently gave a positive review – and The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, which is the predecessor to Memoria.
I actually didn’t play Chains of Satinav, and when Memoria‘s review code landed in my inbox, I had no idea it was a sequel. The game picks up pretty much exactly where its predecessor left off, but the developers have designed it in a manner which doesn’t require the player to have played the first game in order to understand it.
Chains of Satinav tasked primary protagonist and unlikely hero Geron with the job of saving his homeland, Aventuria. Geron was assisted by a fairy named Nuri, who he fell in love with, and Nuri ended up being turned into a raven. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the first game.
At the outset of Memoria, a mysterious trader appears claiming to possess a special magic spell that could restore Nuri to her original form. However, to do so Geron must solve a 400 year old riddle first. Early on, players are transported back 400 years to be introduced to a second playable character, Sadje, as she discovers the riddle herself while searching for a powerful relic. Geron’s and Sadje’s stories become intertwined, and certain things that you learn playing as Sadje come in handy when playing as Geron.
It’s a cleverly written story, and while for the most part we’re looking at straight-up fantasy narrative, there is also a lot of humour and even romance carved into the tale. The characters are complex and interesting, and in terms of relatability, they are far more fleshed out than what most games have to offer.
Memoria‘s gameplay is for the most part your traditional point-and-click adventure fare. There is one interesting twist, however, and that is the game’s RPG-inspired magic spell system. Each character possess or can learn specific spells, and these spells can be used in combat as well as in general interaction with the environment and items, which opens things up quite a bit.
As I’ve come to expect from the developer, Memoria is a game that prides itself on its visual presentation. The hand-drawn backgrounds are detailed and lush, and the characters are beautifully stylised. The game also offers a lot to sink your teeth into, and in terms of length offers great value for money. This is compounded by the fact that it’s not an easy game, and you can expect to spend a fair amount of time sitting back in your chair scratching your head. The hotspot indicator makes things a lot easier by indicating points of interest on the screen, and the journal also provides handy, albeit vague tips. However, adventure genre stalwarts will probably want to get through as much of the game as possible without referring to these helpers.
Memoria is not a game that you’re going to read much about in the mainstream gaming media, but it is a game which adventure fans will deeply appreciate. The story is lovingly crafted and rich, and the characters are believable and memorable.
Memoria is avalable right now. You can grab it on Steam for $19.99.