What if you had the power to go inside people’s minds and tinker with their memories? It’s a fairly ubiquitous concept, with stories of memory-altering devices and magic tracing their way back through history and mythology for hundreds of years. Don’t Forget Me, the freshman offering from developer/publisher The Moon Pirates, decides to take that idea and give it their own unique spin.
You play as Fran, a young twenty-something woman who wakes up one evening in the home and office of memory manipulator Bernard. He takes Fran in after she passes out on her doorstep, is perplexed to find that she has total amnesia, and then makes her his assistant at his underground memory manipulation clinic. As a premise, it’s excellent. Who is Fran? Why was she at Bernard’s? Why does she have amnesia? Why is her “memory chip” erased? All great questions, it’s just too bad that the game doesn’t bother to answer any of them.
Instead, the plot of the game focuses on a revolution attempting to take back the world from its dictators who plan to use the memory chips installed in everyone’s heads to erase their personalities and turn humanity into a hivemind. You say that’s just as interesting as the first plot, if not more so? Well it’s a shame it’s built out of toothpicks. We meet two revolutionary members, are told the extremely ridiculous and unbelievable plot, and then go erase or copy their memories. The plot takes place over the course of a handful of days, apparently all that’s needed for a revolution to throw down a dictator who’s been in power for decades, and we’re not given much detail as to how anything works, with an almost complete lack of worldbuilding done on the story.
The characters themselves are very boring. Fran has no memory and a blandly nice personality, but she never gets any real character depth. Bernard, her chaperone and boss, is just as bland. He is revealed to have a few skeletons in his closet, but he talks about these in a passing way that fails to give them any real emotional weight or give him any depth of character. For an underground rebel who’s openly defiant of the government and makes a living rearranging and copying people’s memories, he’s very boring.
Other characters that Fran and Bernard encounter are just as boring as themselves and usually just crude archetypes – the grieving mother, the repentant super-scientist genius, the half-cocked revolutionary leader. They all have the potential to be much more, but with the game’s runtime of just under two hours, we barely even get to meet them.
Now, poor story and uninteresting characters aren’t always the kiss of death for a game. After all, the game page does promise some interesting gameplay, letting you go inside people’s memories and playing an interesting puzzle that’s “designed to test your observation and deduction skills.” Unfortunately, just like with the premise of the game, the puzzles promise you a log and deliver a toothpick.
Looking through people’s memories consists of reading Bernard’s description of the memories and then picking out one word from what he said to determine what the next “bubble” is, as you work your way across the screen in a fairly linear tree diagram. Considering that his descriptions are only a few sentences long, it’s not that hard to figure out the five or six words you need to move across the screen.
The pixel art of Don’t Forget Me is also, well, forgettable. It’s not ugly, but it’s missing the charm of something like Lamplight City, and everyone looks like they’re wearing skinny jeans for some reason. Additionally, the original music score is missing the “punk” part of the promised jazzpunk and ends up sounding more like slightly jazzy elevator music than anything else.
All said and done, Don’t Forget Me lacks any real redeeming qualities, unfortunately. There are much better adventure games out there and better dystopian games to boot. The characters are boring, the story has an excellent premise but it’s so poorly written and crammed together that there’s no opportunity to actually follow through on anything or explain the ideas properly, and the art and music are subpar at best. My advice? Forget Don’t Forget Me.
TechRaptor reviewed Don't Forget Me on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.
- Great Premise
- Everything Else