Daedalic is one of the few studios still keeping the traditional point-and-click adventure game genre going strong. Their latest release is yet another entry into The Dark Eye series of games. The Dark Eye is Germany’s version of Dungeons & Dragons and has been building its universe for over 25 years. Memoria is not only another Dark Eye game, but a direct sequel to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav. After Geron and Nuri’s adventure, Geron seeks to change the hand that fate dealt Nuri and is tasked with solving an ancient riddle in order to do so.
The adventure that follows is constantly dealing with dreams flashing back to princess Sadja, who discovered the riddle Geron must solve. Geron’s story, and even Sadja’s, is relatively small in the grand scheme of the world. While it may not sound like it, that is a compliment. Far too often is the entire fate of the world resting on the shoulders of our hero, whether this was a chosen responsibility or not. That isn’t to say Memoria’s plot doesn’t reach some grandiose levels, but Geron just wants to find a spell for Nuri, nothing more.
Memoria (PC [Reviewed], Mac)
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Deep Silver / Daedalic Entertainment
Released: August 29, 2013
It seems every time I review a point-and-click adventure game, I find myself talking about the importance of puzzles. It feels a bit rote, but those of us who love these types of games do so because of the story and the puzzles, since that’s all these games are. It also doesn’t help that the genre has been famously plagued by obtuse puzzles that nothing short of pixel hunts or brute force can solve. While they’ve never reached the obscure solutions that made this style of game infamous, Daedalic has had a few obtuse puzzles in their games before, though they’ve never been so bad that I haven’t anticipated each new release.
Memoria is an achievement on so many levels for Daedalic. Yes, I did find myself stuck on a few puzzles, but after some logical thinking I was able to solve every single one of them without having to seek outside help or getting intensely frustrated. The puzzles weren’t just there to give you something to do between story beats, they were genuinely entertaining, meaningful gameplay elements that went hand in hand with the plot.
Unlike Deponia or the recently released Night of the Rabbit, Memoria uses an artistic, painted art style that adds so much beauty and wonder to the fantasy setting. It reminded me of a softer colored version of the art from the Monkey Island remakes. Unfortunately, it also suffers from the same limited animation of them as well, but it doesn’t have a repainted game of the 90s holding it back. More animation would have been nice, but for the price, having such beautiful backgrounds to look at are a fair trade-off.
Point-and-click adventure games have seen such an amazing resurgence in the past few years. While the sheer amount of classic titles and new releases can make it easy to burn out on the genre, there are some incredible recent releases. Memoria, both in puzzle and plot, deserves to stand among the great point-and-click games.