Having been a gamer in the ’90s, I’m a fan of point-and-click adventure games; you kind of had to be in order to survive the era. And although technology has moved on (along with the industry, in fits and starts), there are still plenty of solid adventure games being made. Daedalic Entertainment has released a good number of them, and Memoria is one of their best so far.
What is it?
Memoria starts with you playing a young fellow named Geron. His girlfriend, it would seem, has been turned into a crow, and Geron—shallow fellow that he is—preferred her as a human.
A merchant named Fahi has the ability to turn her back, but in the traditional “first, you gotta do something for me” method of adventure game dealing, Geron has to solve a puzzle that Fahi saw in his dreams. This puzzle plays out as a second story in which a princess named Sadja disappeared while fighting in a war some 450 years earlier.
You will play both characters, and their stories will become connected in a way that may not prove too pleasant for Geron.
How does it work?
Memoria is a bit unique amongst its point-and-click adventure peers in that it also incorporates some light RPG elements. Yes, the gameplay centers around inventory management (find stuff, combine stuff, use stuff), but throughout the game your characters will learn new skills that allow them to solve puzzles they couldn’t before, such as the ability to manipulate distant objects. You’d think this wouldn’t vary much from simply not being able to solve a puzzle until you find the right object, but these skills become a permanent part of your characters, providing tangible progress as you work through the game.
It helps that the puzzles are so well balanced, too, following a sensible stream of logic. You’ll often know right away what you have to do, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to do it. I did have to resort to trial and error in some places (and use the in-game hint system and the occasional walkthrough), but not so much that it became frustrating.
Is it contagious?
Memoria is actually a sequel, of sorts, to the PC only game The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav. I never played that game, and didn’t feel I was missing anything while working through Memoria. With beautiful graphics, thoughtful but challenging puzzles, decent voice acting, and an emotional story, Memoria delivers pretty much everything adventure gamers wants and expect.
More importantly, the RPG twist brings something new to the genre that finally makes it feel like you’re not playing a remake or an homage a bygone era. Memoria belongs at the top of the wish list for all Mac gamers, no matter what their preconceived notion of adventure games may be.