Amnesia: Memories is a visual novel, if it wasn’t already clear, but more than that it is a dating sim. Not the one for guys like Katawa Shoujo or the more recent Huniepop, but the more traditional “otome” variety. Let me preface this review by stating that I didn’t quite understand what I signed up for when I first started playing through this VN for review.
With that out of the way, Amnesia: Memories thrusts you into the shoes of a college-aged woman that has recently lost her memories due to her soul having a collision with a random spirit called Orion. At the start of each playthrough, you must choose which “world” you want to go through, each choice representing the protagonist’s boyfriend, as well as the overarching story for that situation. After a player has completed each of the 4 “main” scenarios with a good ending—requiring absolutely perfect choices on each path—the “true” ending becomes available.
As far as “gameplay” goes, this is a standard VN—you have text, you have choices, you can review what has been said, quicksave and quickload, save and load, and rewind time to try and get the best endings possible in each route. You have good ends, bad ends, and endings that are somewhere in-between. Besides the obvious VN flair, the only really notable gameplay is a few minigames that are playable at the main menu—rock paper scissors with a twist and air hockey.
Regarding the story, each route is essentially its own separate story, and as a result instead of one story being seen from 5 different perspectives, there legitimately are 5 different stories being told here; the most overlap between the 5 routes are just links to the “true story,” which involves a bunch of spoiler-y stuff that I really can’t touch on in the review without giving away the “big twist.”
The characterization between each of the 5 boyfriends is well done, with the result being that players will probably find a favorite route that simply resonates with their subjective opinions on a romantic partner rather than any objective differences on which route is better. There probably are some routes that are objectively better, but any sort of difference seemed minor at worst, and I’m simply not un-biased enough to find them, as I ended up both hating and liking some of the characters on display, personally.
CGs and the overall artstyle for Amnesia: Memories lends itself a very modern aesthetic. One particularly noticeable artistic flair is how Amnesia: Memories shades its areas. Scenes tend to be predominantly black and white in nature, with one or two colors giving a water-shaded tone to the locales you’re currently in. It’s hard to describe exactly how this stylistic choice works, but not only has this undoubtedly made coloring scenes for multiple parts of the day easier, it helps work with the VN’s overall nostalgic tone and excels at helping the novel stand out from potential competition. CGs that unlock in the gallery tend to be a bit more colorful than the rest of the game, accentuating their significance.
Likewise, music is generally atmospheric—lowbeat, but just noticeable enough to help accentuate the rest of the VN’s features. It’s all very relaxing, only entering the anxious territory when absolutely needed.
If there’s one thing that Amnesia: Memories can be commended for over all else, it’s the fact that a lot of work seems to have been put towards really pushing the theme of “remembering.” Almost everything that the novel showcases exhibits an almost nostalgic vibe; artstyle, sound design, and the overarching story come together to form a rather cohesive VN. The only real complaint that can be leveled against it as a product would have to be the abundance of typos and misspellings throughout Amnesia: Memories‘s many slides of text. It’s infrequent enough that it should be easy to fix with an update, but it’s also frequent enough to really take the reader out from the experience. Regardless, Amnesia: Memories ends up fulfilling its goals in spades!
A review copy of Amnesia: Memories was provided by the publisher.
Amnesia: Memories shows off its 5 unique stories, and although it's not perfect, it still succeeds as a visual novel.