My Memory of Us is an emotional puzzle-platformer that 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 Valiant 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, helping out people in need, fending off robot invaders, taking down giant machinery, and helping reunite loved ones, 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 becoming 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.
It’s clear that the old man has made the story fantastical, replacing the Nazis with robots – this is either due to his creative imagination when he wrote about the events or simply so that it’s a little more light-hearted when narrating to the small girl. Either way, the game may not be 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 its short Patrick Stewart narrative segments and voice-less in-game observations. That’s right, in-game nobody actually talks, they mumble incoherent grunts to each other and thought bubbles will often appear above their heads, pointing you in the right direction or showing you an object/person you need to find. I didn’t have too much trouble but there were one or two instances where I was a little confused about what to do. However, 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 or unlocked. The boy can sneak and hide 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, yet the girl has a slingshot that can be used to knock over objects and press buttons from a distance. Even though you control both characters independently, you can press Triangle to hold hands (which is so cute) so you can share your 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.
I really enjoy games like this, where you have dual or multiple protagonists which you must switch between in order to solve 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, such as the popular ‘pipe puzzle’ from Bioshock, rotating labyrinths, and a few environmental puzzles where you have to use the local NPCs and their movements to your advantage. However, every single one feels fresh, well-polished, a joy to play through, and a welcomed break from all of the stealth segments within the game. I only became stuck on one puzzle, towards the end, but it only took a few minutes to solve it.
There was one set inside of a robot that 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 mechanics, this becomes a major part of the game before too long. You’ll find yourself hiding behind rocks, running from cover to cover, shooting buttons to raise things to crouch behind, and even getting help from the NPCs which the robots don’t want in order to distract them. There are quite a few variations on the mechanic, enough to keep it exciting and not overstaying its welcome. 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 to the next cover in time. This isn’t an issue many people will have, I’m just very impatient with things like this!
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 they 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 for you to read through at your leisure.
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 which are being played out all around you. For example, at one point you’ll see a pianist who 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.
My Memory of Us is visually an incredibly artistic game. The format of the art design reminds me of Sin City, with its black and white aesthetic that has red-coloured items presented in a really bold blood-red 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 lots of environments, all of which are hand-drawn, along with assets that were most likely created at a high resolution, 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 anymore. 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 musical scores that 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 – I simply 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 as 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 the visual-design, the interesting and intriguing puzzles, the various characters you meet along your journey, and the emotional events which occur throughout, they’re all presented in such an amazing and creative way. 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 ourselves in this very touching tales of 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 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. One minute everything was fine, people are happy, dancing in the bars, having their pictures taken, and 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 playing My Memory of Us didn’t quite make me reach the level of emotion I had whilst playing Valiant Hearts: The Great War, but it’s very close with the subtle music, horrific imagery, depressing undertones, and impactful non-verbal storytelling. I can’t recommend this game enough to people who like emotional games, those who like edutainment titles that teach you new things, and those who want to play something where they will become instantly invested with 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 that will make you 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