Rememoried Review
Rememoried Review
Despite stunning surrealist visuals and innovative game mechanics, Rememoried is painfully frustrating.
Posted: 09/26/15 | Category: Review | Developer: Vladimir Kudelka | Publisher: Hangonit | Platform: Windows, Mac

Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure
Release date: August 31, 2015

The representation of dreams in any medium, be it literature, film, or music, has a complex history of successes and failures. For every worthy representation, such as the late Satoshi Kon’s Paprika, we have half a dozen miserable ones like the sequels to A Nightmare on Elm Street. Video games then might seem to be the ideal way to represent a dreamlike state. A player can be dropped into an ever-changing world and stumble through it in much the same way that they might stumble through a world of their own subconscious. Rememoried (developed by Vladimir Kudelka) successfully creates an abstract environment that mimics the surrealism of dreams; the problem, however, is that it also mimics the immense frustration of confusion.

Upon being dropped into the first level, I was overcome by a sense of déjà vu for Proteus (2013), an exploration-based game that got me through several cross-country bus rides. And after a little bit of research I found that this was by design; Vladimír Kudělka, the sole member of Hangonit, designed this game after experiencing other “Walking Simulators” such as the aforementioned Proteus and the unavoidable Dear Esther. Rememoried, was originally intended to be a much smaller game, but along the way Vladimír devleoped ambitions that caused the game to expand.

Gameplay
 

As a rule of thumb, a game of this nature has very few gameplay elements. Rememoried is about moving and jumping, and that’s all it needs. The game shines when the only task is to experience the environment, and deteriorates into a frustrating platformer when the task becomes climbing a tower of stones or dangling between cosmic cubes.

I never thought I’d have a chance to say this about a game of this nature, but here it is: this game is unforgiving.

The gameplay design is simple — things change when you’re not looking at them, much as they do in a dream. For example, there could be no possible path upwards, but then you turn around and suddenly there’s a new step where there used to be a dead end. Despite the possibilities opened up by Rememoried’s core game mechanic, the game never feels like it takes full advantage of its innovation.

One of the early levels in the game tasked me with climbing up. At least that's what I assumed it wanted me to do. There were rocks all around me and all I could think was “Up and to the right,” from Thomas Was Alone. So I began to climb. Whenever I reached a dead end I would turn away and then look back hoping that a new block would appear. It didn’t. I’d look away again and then look back. Still no block. I’d spin in circles over and over again hoping eventually something would appear, and after a dozen revolutions, a path would finally open.

Innovative game design is only fun when it works. Nothing is more frustrating than playing a game where you have solved the puzzle but still can’t proceed. Not to mention that every “death” in Rememoried restarts the level. After I spent half an hour climbing rocks but missed one jump, I was moved back to the very beginning to start over. It took me almost a week to convince myself to return to the game.

Audio and Visuals
 

Surrealism is woefully underutilized in video games, but Rememoried proves that it can be used to great success. The game begins in a dark forest, complete with picture frames, lounge chairs, and bioluminescent trees. Later the player is tasked with climbing rocks and clouds toward a giant eye in the sky. It is without a doubt that Hangonit has artfully crafted each level to be visually unique, all the while not overstepping the boundary of good taste. The levels are inherently simplistic (objects against a black background), and for those partial to aesthetic theory, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Rememoried sublime.

Though each level may be unique, there are certain recurring motifs that establish a concrete through-line. As you move between surreal landscapes, the interconnectivity of these simple design choices further mimics the feeling of a dream.

The audio is equally well done but hardly anything special. The ambience does well to support the dreamlike atmosphere, but it’s difficult for me to actively remember any melodies. And don’t mistake that for a slight against the soundtrack; the audio mixing is harmonious with the visuals in a way that shows an acute awareness regarding which sense is in the spotlight.

Conclusion
 

Rememoried is a stunning foray into artistic game design and shows the real promise of Hangonit. However, frustrating gameplay will leave you wishing for both a more complex game and a less punishing one. It's easy to get swept away by the visuals, but it's even easier to be so frustrated by repetitive tasks that you stop noticing the exquisitely crafted world; the game becomes its own worst enemy by giving players a Sisyphean task and then placing them in the Garden of Eden.

Grade: C+
Stunning surrealist visuals
Innovative game mechanics
 
Painfully frustrating
Puzzles that don't utilize core mechanic
 Logo
 
 
System Requirements
 
MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
Processor: Dual Core (2.5 GHz)
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: Shadow model 3.0 (1 GB VRAM)
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
 
 
MINIMUM Mac:
OS: Mac OS X 10.7+
Processor: Dual Core (2.5 GHz)
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: Shadow model 3.0 (1 GB VRAM)
Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
 
Specials from Digital Download
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