There’s not much you can do to prepare yourself for the experience that you will have the first time you play Path to Mnemosyne. It’s a unique game that will take you on a psychedelic adventure through an unnamed patient’s troubled psyche; You’ll even be questioning your own mentality by the time you reach the ending of this visually stunning puzzle game.
Path to Mnemosyne is rather unique as you spend the entirety of the game progressing down a single corridor, an eternal pathway with strange and creepy imagery appearing all around you the further you venture. However, you’re not simply walking non-stop towards your goal, you’ll be forced to stop and solve puzzles by interacting with the scenery in clever ways. As you solve the puzzles, you will unlock fragments of your memory through some very disturbing images.
It doesn’t take long to realise what the game is representing and trying to visualise to you with its story, but I won’t talk much about that because this one of those games you should experience for yourself. However, one of the first things you discover is that you are travelling down what appears to be your own unconscious brain. All this psychedelic field trip needs now is some LSD and Pink Floyd! (Authors note, drugs are bad kids. Don’t do drugs!)
Whilst we’re talking about visualisations and what you see, Path to Mnemosyne had a very interesting art design to it, it’s kind of like a hand-drawn pencil art-style which works really well with the themes the game touches upon and the artistic nature of the game in general.
Movement is fairly simple. You’ll primarily be going forwards or backwards along the seemingly infinite path, the path which presents some rather interesting imagery as you move along, ranging from faces and bugs to more creepy images like skeletons and fetuses. You CAN go left and right from time to time, but those are generally used to access other lanes which rotate the path your on in order to solve the puzzles placed before you. There’s no diverting from the destination your character has in mind.
Early puzzles are quite straightforward, but as you get towards the end of the game, you’ll have new puzzle mechanics such as the teleporters which blast you around at fast speeds. Some of the puzzles can get quite confusing, especially as the game only assists you VERY lightly on how to solve some of them. Later on, it gets even more cryptic as the hints stop and you’re left to your own devices to try and solve the problems that Path to Mnemosyne presents to you. The puzzles at the end of each section are where you will really have to put on your thinking caps and activate your little grey cells.
One of the things I really liked about Path to Mnemosyne is that each puzzle is unique in the actions you need to do to pass it. The first puzzle, for example, requires spinning a set of lines so it creates a specific design, yet later on, there is another puzzle in which you have to time pressing the button for a specific moment – one misstep will reset the puzzle! If you know the solutions to each puzzle I imagine you could probably make your way past each one in under a minute.
That brings me to my biggest issue, the game itself is disappointingly VERY short. On my first playthrough, I made it from beginning to end in about 45 minutes. Upon looking on Youtube, I saw how there were players who were able to beat the game in between 20-25 minutes. Granted, that is with knowing the solutions to the multiple puzzles you come across within Path to Mnemosyne. That said, the fact that I was able to make it to the end in under an hour is disappointing because I would be interested in how much further the game could have gone.
I surprisingly had multiple performance issues while playing on my PlayStation 4 Pro. It would be, without fail, that every time I reached the end of each sections big puzzle that I would have to exit the game. For some reason, I would start the puzzle and I would not be able to move anything around on the screen! Once I saved and restarted the game, I regained control and I could now do the puzzle without any issues. Considering this happened to me six times throughout my playthrough, I wasn’t very happy with the situation – hopefully, this is something the developers can fix? However, closing and reloading did let me progress with no loss in data, so there does seem to be a workaround until an official patch comes out.
There’s not much to say about Path to Mnemosyne as it is a very simple and short game. I know I have detailed how there are multiple aspects that I was not a fan of, but at the end of the day, it is excusable. Path to Mnemosyne really is special in other ways. The artwork is fantastic and it’s also nice to play a game that gets you to think about things, rather than just mindlessly shooting zombies. I’m looking forward to seeing what Devilish Games does next – hopefully, it’s in a similar art style and a bit longer in terms of gameplay.
Path to Mnemosyne laid some decent groundwork, perhaps a sequel could build on it!?