Title: Always Remember Me
System(s): Windows, Mac, Linux
Release Date: April 22, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Winter Wolves (Winter Wolves)
ESRB Rating: N/A, I’d say it’s appropriate for players ages 12 and up.
Pros: Two difficulty levels. There’s a bubblegum pop theme song (though it is a tad hokey) by Cristina Vee. Great character art. There are four different, dateable guys. There’s an ending gallery with some fun extra features. Icon appears over areas you need to go to. Going to an area doesn’t mean you’re committed to spending time there. There’s a quick intro option, with a shorter introductory segment. There’s no stat requirements for basic romantic endings.
Cons: Attempts to work and perform other actions can fail even if moral and energy are both over 70. Action outcomes are pretty random, so if your moral/energy are over 50 you can save before an action and reload until you get what you want. Even on the normal difficulty it can be hard to max out some stats. Hanging out with guys or doing certain actions doesn’t always boost the stats it says it should. There is the occasional, awkwardly phrased line or description, but it’s usually something minor.
Overall Score: One thumb up and one thumb sideways, 83/100, B, * * * out of 5
Winter Wolves Games has been trying to focus on pleasing its female audience. Ever since Spirited Heart, its surprisingly successful, Princess Maker style life-sim, the company has been toying with creating visual novel, adventure and simulation games for girls with strong female characters and light dating sim elements. Always Remember Me is the latest endeavor, a dramatic story about a young woman who, after an unfortunate accident, must decide whether she wants to try and pursue a love that could be lost or build a bond with someone new. Don’t worry – it isn’t as depressing as it sounds!
After a tragic accident, do you try to reclaim a lost love or search for a new one?
Amarantha and her boyfriend Aaron were happy together for a long time, and everyone thought they had it all. One drunk driver changed all that. After a date, the two were heading to the ice cream shop where Amy works and a car plowed into Aaron’s motorcycle. Amy was fine, but only because Aaron shifted the bike at the last second so he took the entire brunt of the blow. When Amy wakes up in the hospital, she finds Aarons injuries were much more severe and his short term memory was affected by the accident. He has trouble remembering what’s happened the past few years, and so doesn’t remember her.
Amy then has a difficult decision to make. Aaron’s memories won’t just magically reappear, but she can stay by his side, gradually work with him to try and perhaps find a way to rekindle their romance. Or, she can accept the tragedy that has occurred and find solace with Eddy, Aaron’s doctor, Lawrence, her coworker, or Hugh, an old friend and fashion designer. Each path will be a difficult one, and will require Amy to build relationships and improve herself to recover and rebuild over the next three months.
A dramatic little life sim that may push you to save, load and reload.
Always Remember Me is a nice transition game, and a good way to get new players interested in visual novels or the otome (girl’s dating sim) genre since it blends both elements with a rather simple simulation game. The game covers a three month period, during which you help decide what Amy does and who she spends time with every day. She has four stats, culture, creativity, romance and discipline, each of which corresponds to one of the bachelors (Lawrence, Hugh, Aaron and Eddy, respectively), as well as morale and energy levels. The key to decide which guy you want Amy to end up with immediately, then work on keeping her morale above 50, energy above 30 and getting the guy’s applicable stat to 100.
It may sound like a lot of work when I put it like that, but Always Remember Me really moves quite quickly. Unless you use a little tactic I mention later, time will fly and it will be September 7 in the game before you know it. Plus, there are little events that happen at various locations in the game with the chosen bachelor, as Amy’s relationship grows with him. Plus, the game isn’t as melodramatic as the opening suggests, which is helped by the fact that the character Amy is a rather optimistic girl.
There’s really only one problem in Always Remember Me, which is that some actions don’t boost the stats they claim to boost regularly. For example, the fancy restaurant costs $50 for a meal and claims to boost morale, energy and creativity, but on the two occasions I tried eating there it didn’t boost my creativity. Since Romance and Creativity are two of the hardest stats to boost, it was quite a blow to spend $50 virtual dollars and not get what I needed. Actually, $249, since I had to get Amy the $199 dress to even eat at the restaurant. The same can be said for spending time with certain guys – hanging around with them is supposed to boost certain attributes, but most often it just boosts relationships and morale. It wouldn’t be such a big deal, if attribute points weren’t so difficult to earn. Thankfully, standard romantic endings don’t have any attribute requirements.
The addition of two difficulty levels does help a bit, since on the normal difficulty in Always Remember Me it is very easy to unlock the basic endings. The best endings are quite trying, no matter which difficulty level you choose. Normally, I don’t advocate cheating in games, but there is a way for patient players to even the odds. Usually, if Amy’s morale and energy are above 50, you can save before performing an action, then load and reload until you get the optimal result and stat increases.
Always Remember Me works well for both casual and hardcore players
Here’s what’s probably going to happen if you decide to pick up Always Remember Me. Your first time playing will be the experimental run, where you get used to helping Amy through a rough couple of months and decide whether she attempts to help Aaron with his recovery or move on with her life. I’m guessing most people will go with Aaron, but I won’t judge you if you go with Hugh, Eddy or Lawrence instead. After that, casual players will probably go on to see the other storyline options in additional replays and hardcore players will do their best to see each best ending for Amy and the guy of her choice. Either way works well and will leave players feeling satisfied – especially if they get the Aaron or Eddy best ending.
Granted, anyone who chooses decides to try for the best ending may go a little crazy attempting to max out the necessary stats in Always Remember Me. There’s no shame in ignoring the harder difficulty level and settling for achieving perfection during normal playthroughs.
Site [Always Remember Me]