The world of gaming is all about innovation and breaking new boundaries, but for many of us you just can’t beat a well-made classic. The phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was indeed invented by a wise person. Daedalic Entertainment aim to show us just how good traditional point and clicks can be as they add to their portfolio with their latest game, Memoria. With a touch of magic and some epic story-telling, voila, it’s time to get clicking.

Having retreated to a garden outside time, she vanished.

Memoria is the sequel to the 2012 game The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav and sees the return of protagonist Geron in his homeland of Aventuria. He’s not alone, however. In an interesting decision, Memoria has two protagonists: one, birdcatcher turned unlikely hero Geron, exists in the present, whilst the other, feisty Princess Sadja lived 450 years ago. As the game opens, Geron’s love, a fairy named Nuri, has been transformed into a raven. The longer she spends in this form the more she loses her fairy self, including her memories.

Desperate to save her and willing to do anything, Geron must solve a riddle given to him by a travelling salesman. The riddle is part of a series of events that have haunted the salesman’s dreams, the story of Sadja. Sadja was a keen warrior, who aided by a mouthy magic staff, set off to turn the tide in a war against the demons. Having retreated to a garden outside time, she vanished, forgotten by the world and never heard of again. Only through solving the mystery of what happened to her can the answers of the past and presentbe found, the salesman satisfied, and poor Nuri returned to fairy form.

Graphically, Memoria is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Daedalic – painstakingly hand-drawn designs that draw you in and make you appreciate it’s beauty. Luscious backdrops really help to engulf you in the fantasy world, and coupled with the soothing music create a creat atmosphere.

The gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a point and click, although spells are able to be cast in both timelines. This can be used to manipulate the environment to solve puzzles, and often make you think outside the box. A great example of this is Geron’s build and destruct power, a starter spell in the modern world. Whilst many uses of this spell are pretty obvious I enjoyed removing a gem from under the floorboards with it; having destructed a rat, the ashes are put through a hole and then rebuilt under the gem, bringing it up through the hole, and into your reach. As you progress new spells become available with both characters. Some puzzles, such as long maze-like sections will give you a prompt to enable you to skip them, although this will involve you losing a little of the story. There is a hotspot indicated to avoid the pesky clickfests that often arise fromthe genre, and the addition of a combination helper, which will tell you which objects can be used together, can really simplify choices for those not as adept at the genre. I had some strange moments where the subtitles didn’t match the dialogue but other than that, the game was flawless.

I had to fish for a piece of paper and a pen.

The puzzles are well thought out and provide a challenge without becoming too frustrating, the result of which is a game that flows well from start to finish. A couple of later puzzles meant I had to fish for a piece of paper and a pen, but I always see that as the mark of a good puzzler (after all, you should have seen my notes from Fez). The story seemed to comprise of 75% Sadja, sandwiched between mere fragments of Geron, which left me wondering why they were partnered for much of the game, but by the end the two storylines pulled together seemlessly to create a fantastic experience with two possible endings, and all my doubts had vanished.

Although considerably shorter than previous Daedalic titles I’ve played (around 10 hours), Memoria is a heart-warming tale that feels much-loved. Some slightly wooden acting detracts from some scenes, but smooth gameplay mechanics and super storytelling make this game a pleasure to play. It’s not going to be a classic through the ages, but for those who can’t get enough puzzles it is definitely well worth your time.

The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav







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