My Memory of Us is an emotional puzzle-platformer which is set within a fictitious world where robots have invaded and are ‘tagging’ the humans in order to segregate them. However, just like My Brother Rabbit, the game is full of symbolism and twists real life into a fantastical setting in order to get across a very real and upsetting truth.
You see, Juggler Games has taken inspiration from the terrible and emotional stories of what happened to the Jewish community during the occupation of Poland during World War II. They have recreated these horrific events in the form of a fantastical narrative-driven puzzle platformer.
As a fan of Valient Hearts: The Great War, My Memory of Us touched me just as much as that game did. With its horrifying truths and educational ‘memories’, everyone needs to play this game and feel the emotion within this story-telling marvel.
As mentioned above, My Memory of Us is a fantastical journey through the story of an old man, which is superbly voiced by Sir. Patrick Stewart. We begin the game as a young girl who strolls into this man’s bookstore and uncovers an old, dusty book which was full of pictures of a girl who looks a lot like us. The man proceeds to tell us of his childhood and his long-lost friend who he met by sheer chance one day. Their adventures, as they help out people in need, fend off the robot invaders, take down giant machinery, and help reunite loved ones with each other, are all set in a beautifully artistic ‘Sin City’ visual design with bold red on black and white.
Early on, the girl in his story is ‘tagged’ and coloured in red, along with her grandfather and a bunch of other people – these people are segregated and ridiculed by the non-tagged citizens of the town as well as become the hunted by the robot invaders. Working as a pair of swappable protagonists, we have control of the ‘normal’ boy and the ‘tagged’ girl as we alternate between the two to achieve our goals in this re-imagining of the horrible events which were actually happening in Poland during World War II. I’m not sure if the old man within the game changed the evens to be fantastical in order to make the story seem light-hearted to the girl he was telling it too, or if it actually was robots in this game world? Either way, it’s not as visually realistic as Valiant Hearts, but the narrative and the events which happen are just as emotional and depressing.
Two heads are better than one:
My Memory of Us is a simple game by nature, with all of the depth coming from it’s short Patrick Stewart narrative segments and the voice-less in-game observations. That’s right, in-game nobody actually talks, they mumble incoherent grunts to each other and thought bubbles appear above their heads which either point you in the direction you have to go or they’ll show you an object/person you need to find. I didn’t have too much trouble with these, there was one or two where I was a little confused at what to do, but the areas are nice and small so even if you do get confused, it won’t take long to figure out the next step.
Our two protagonists have their own abilities and skills, once found/unlocked. The boy can sneak and hide easier in the shadows, whereas the girl can run much faster. The boy also has a torch to light up dark passages and a mirror to blind people with light, but the girl has a slingshot which can be used to knock over objects and press buttons. Even though you control both characters independently, you can press triangle and they will hold hands – which is so cute – doing so will allow you to share abilities. So, whilst holding hands, if the girl is the primary character then holding Circle will make them both run, whereas if the boy is the primary then you will both sneak with Circle.
I really enjoy games like this, where you have dual or multiple protagonists and you must switch between them in order to solve the puzzles and progress further into the game. Speaking of which…
The puzzles presented within My Memory of Us are great. None of them are too taxing and some are quite familiar, with some being the infamous ‘pipe puzzle’ from Bioshock, rotating labyrinths, and quite a few environmental puzzles where you have to use the locals and their movements to your advantage. Yet, every single one feels fresh, really well polished, a joy to play through, and a welcomed break from all of the stealth segments within the game. I think I became stuck on one puzzle towards the end, but after a few minutes, I had managed to solve it. There is one though, the insides of a robot which requires you to press things in a certain order to unlock an item – that one was purely trial and error for me as I didn’t understand the clue which was being presented.
Speaking of the Stealth mechanic, this becomes a major part of the game before too long. Having to hide behind rocks, run from cover to cover, shoot or press buttons to raise things to duck behind, and even using the protagonists the robots DON’T want in order to walk past and distract them. There are quite a few variations on the mechanic, enough to keep it fresh and exciting. However, I’m not a massive stealth fan, so a few of these segments did begin to annoy me when I didn’t time things right and couldn’t make it into the cover on time. This isn’t an issue many people will have, I’m just very impatient with things like that!
As you play through the game, you’ll find ‘memories’ scattered about the place. At first, I thought these were just pictures for you to collect as that’s what the seemed like in the areas you pick them up. However, If you exit to the main menu and access the ‘memories’ section. you’ll see that these items are far from being a simple image. Just like in Valiant Hearts: The Great War, each ‘memory’ is a piece of real-life history presented to us to read through at our leisure.
Basically, a lot of the characters you encounter within the game are actually visual representations of real-life people who were involved in the horrific events. For example, at one point you’ll see a pianist, this is actually Władysław Szpilman, a Polish pianist and composer of Jewish origin, and also the main character within ‘The Pianist’. The ‘memory’ you pick up of him explains who he is, how he is connected to the events happening in the game and what happened to him during the war. Thankfully, he was one of the ones who survived all the way through until the year 2000, others weren’t as lucky.
I love games that do this – Even Black Friday recently did something similar, where the collectables all had a story behind them and held information which was both informative and interesting to the gamers who go out of their way to discover them.
My Memory of US is visually an incredibly pretty game. The format of the artistic design reminds me so much of Sin City with it’s black and white aesthetic which has certain items presented in a really bold blood-red colour in order to make them stand out, just like how these people would have stood out in real life. One thing which did surprise me is the size of the game on the PS4 – the game clocks in at over 18GB in size, this seems massive compared to similar indie games as I was expecting about 4-5GB at most. However, there are loads of environments, all of which look hand-drawn, along with assets which were most likely created at high resolutions as every single one looks so clean and crisp on my TV.
My final theory on the size – it was over 8GB at first then 18GB once it started downloading – I imagine they patched the game and it’s accidentally kept both sets of game files instead of deleting those which aren’t needed? That’s my theory as I can’t imagine the game, as beautiful as it is, taking up over 18GB of HDD space.
Audio-wise, My Memory of Us is delightful. There are a load of various scores which will kick in depending on the current events which are happening and every scene is oozing with emotion and atmosphere. The fact nobody in-game talks never bugged me, I found the mumbling fun and I imagined it was just because the story-teller couldn’t remember what they were saying, just what the point of the conversation was (hence the thought bubbles to find a specific item or person).
Sir. Patrick Stewart is a man who needs no introduction, but I’ll give him one anyway! Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Professor Xavier, Avery Bullock, Fire Officer in Coronation Street, etc… Sir. Patrick has played a load of iconic roles on TV, in Films and even in Theatres. As such, having him narrate this artistic masterpiece is perfectly fitting and it makes it even more emotional and enjoyable.
My Memory of Us is one of those games where I don’t know enough words to explain how I feel about the experience I’ve just played through. Looking at it in a literal stance, the visual design choices, the interesting and intriguing puzzles, the various characters you meet along your journey, and the emotional events which occur throughout, are all presented in such an amazing package. If taken at face value, what we have here is a story of trust, friendship, heartbreak and loss as we aim to help out everyone but yourself in this very touching adventure between two strangers who become the best of friends who won’t ever let go of each other.
If we dive deeper and follow the symbolism and metaphors being thrown around the place, then we have an educational and rather informative look at the state of Poland during World War II and how certain events played out and torn families, loved ones and friends apart from each other. One minute everything was fine, people are happy, dancing in the bars, having their pictures taken, enjoying their life together. The next minute, Jewish people are labelled and ‘tagged’, innocent people are hunted down, young children turned into orphans, and everyone is uncertain if they will even get to see the sunrise one more time.
I would say that My Memory of Us doesn’t quite reach the level of emotions I had whilst playing Valient Hearts: The Great War, but it comes very close with the subtle music, horrific imagery, depressing undertones and impactful non-verbal narrative storytelling. I can’t recommend this game enough to people who like emotional games, those who like edutainment titles which teaches you new things, and those who want to play something where they will become instantly invested within our two protagonists, right until the very end.
My Memory of Us is an emotional tale of two friends determined to never let go and become separated, ever. As you make your way through this intense story, you’ll encounter many puzzles, stealth segments, environmental obstacles, and even find lots of ‘memories’ of real-life people. This is an edutainment game done correctly – you’re working your way through a fantastical journey of love, friendship, loss, and adventure, yet it’s all symbolising the horrific real events of Poland in World War II.
Even though the game keeps things light-hearted for the most part, you’ll still find things which will make you get emotional as you progress throughout this amazing game.
My Memory of Us£15.99
- Sir. Patrick Stewart is the perfect narrator
- The puzzles are all imaginative, interesting, and don't repeat
- The use of the blood-red to symbolise the Jewish people being 'tagged' is so striking and impactful
- The lack of voices doesn't hinder the progression at all as the voice-less narrative works perfectly
- It's a decent length at around 5-7 hours to complete
- There is a lot of emphasis on stealth (a pet hate of mine)
- One puzzle had me guessing as the 'clue' wasn't obvious enough