Without leaning on even a single line of dialogue, A Memoir Blue, the debut title from Cloisters Interactive, effectively conveys its touching story through stunning presentation and a uniquely approachable structure.
Described as an interactive poem, A Memoir Blue is far from what many would consider a typical gaming experience. You won’t find intense combat sequences, there are no elaborate puzzles to rack your brain over, nor is there a significant challenge of any kind.
Instead, the heart of the project is in its story that’s elegantly told in more ways than one. Through charming hand-drawn animations mixed within a range of interactive environments, not only do cinematic moments cast a spotlight on the narrative but so too do the many layers that unravel in each of the finely-crafted stages.
While brief and fairly straightforward, A Memoir Blue’s accessible design marks an exceptional debut for a brand new development team looking to make an immediate impact.
A Memoir Blue details
- Price: TBC
- Developer: Cloisters Interactive
- Release Date: March 24, 2022
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, & iOS.
A Memoir Blue trailer
Stunning presentation sets the melancholic tone
A Memoir Blue centers around the complex relationship between protagonist Miriam and her mother. Through a number of distinct memories, the game loosely pieces things together without explicitly defining each and every detail along the way.
Miriam is present for the emotional ride just like us during these flashbacks, actively revisiting some of the more notable chapters of her youth. Beyond that, further story details are best kept vague to allow for your own unspoiled journey.
Mapping out the timeline of this relationship and coming to understand the game’s many motifs and underlying themes is what keeps you hooked through the relatively short, 90-minute experience.
Despite being the first interactive creation from this team of developers, you would never imagine that was the case from a quick glance.
A Memoir Blue is an incredibly well-realized title that’s often captivating with its visual presentation.
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On the surface, you’ll visit a wide variety of gloomy locales, be it decrepit underwater trains or moss-riddled houses. These backdrops serve to contextualize not only the particular memory, but its lasting impact on the surrounding characters.
It’s through this abundance of similarly downtrodden areas that sporadic moments of vibrancy become all the more touching.
Every so often, hand-drawn animations come to life, lifting the mood and lighting up any scene they step foot in. The juxtaposition is a genuine delight time and time again, in large part, thanks to the meticulous detail in said animations.
Point and click through memories
While its intriguing structure is constantly throwing you into new locations at different points in time, gameplay helps keep it all simple with a familiar level of engagement throughout. A Memoir Blue is effectively a point-and-click game, allowing you to interact with objects in your immediate vicinity.
Whether it’s tearing down posters on a wall to reveal secrets hidden beneath, or neatly arranging furniture to set the scene of a particular memory, the game makes good use of its adopted genre. Each chapter has you morphing your surroundings in completely different ways, keeping the full experience from growing stale if you happen to be along for the ride in a single sitting – which is highly recommended.
Given the extremely approachable nature of these systems, A Memoir Blue is an experience fit for absolutely anyone on any platform. Regardless of whether you’re playing on a high-end PC or a handheld device, the same game design can be effortlessly enjoyed by all who dive in.
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Playing on PlayStation did lead to one minor issue in relation to how the game controls. Using the analog sticks to guide an on-screen cursor mostly worked as intended, but in a few visually cluttered scenes with dozens of objects appearing all at once, the cursor had a tendency to be overly sticky. It would attach itself to certain items, making it a challenge to disconnect and lock on with the desired piece of the environment.
A Memoir Blue’s simplicity is its biggest strength as players spanning any piece of modern hardware can easily dive in and get swept up in its wondrous creativity. Not to mention, the title even launches on Xbox Game Pass, making it all the more accessible for those seeking something a little different without wanting to risk the price of a full game.
Cloisters Interactive’s first outing isn’t necessarily a mind-blowing indie hit that everyone will connect with right away. But it is a tremendous debut from a small dev team experimenting within the medium.
Its unique structure, gorgeous presentation, and approachable game design are well worth the price of admission alone, but its touching story is what will stick with you long after the credits roll.
Reviewed on PS5