Amnesia: Memories is yet another visual novel with amnesia theme. It seems almost silly to say it, but once more there is a good game behind that cliché. This is an otome game and if one is completely turned off by sweet nothings whispered to your ear by androgynous bishounen with soft voices, this game probably isn’t for them. The story also has some serious darker tones which sometimes strongly contradict all the fluffy romance stuff.
On contrary to most visual novel plots, this one will immediately reveal why the player has lost their memory. Because a spirit bumped into the protagonist and got stuck inside her, pushing out her memories from before. The spirit also reveals that there are several alternate realities that she might be from, and these will form the different routes of the game. It’s rather refreshing to actually start the game with this kind of certainty, and while having a helper with you too.
The various routes are also refreshingly different. In some of the routes the protagonist will try to hide her amnesia as long as possible, while in others she gets caught immediately and the dynamic with the other characters is completely different. Interestingly all the routes also focus more on the protagonist falling for the guys that she no longer remembers, as they seem to be already into her – even dating in several of the routes.
One route is an attempted-murder mystery, another is a bickering couple rom-com, another a horror story about bullying fan club. And, ehm, then there’s a couple of routes that are somewhat disturbing but not much can be said about them without spoiling them horribly. These are definitely not the most twisted things I’ve seen, but they certainly are of acquired taste, especially in this kind of otherwise pretty sweet slice-of-life otome setting.
In some routes it is incredibly hard to get the happy ending, guides are most likely needed. The happy endings are very fluffy and rather innocent, kissing is the most sexual thing that happens in the game. The fluff is fine but personally I don’t appreciate the cliché of guys having hard time “controlling themselves” around girls they like. The bad endings are mostly pretty grim, usually ending in the protagonist’s death, sometimes even in the hands of her love interests.
The production values of the game are great. The sprites and CGs are beautiful, only the backgrounds are rather forgettable. The game is fully and quite brilliantly voiced. I played the Japanese version and could listen to it again and again. The stories probably wont rock anyone’s world but they are interesting and sometimes even touching, the fifth unlockable route trying things together. They certainly should fulfill the romantic needs of otome players.
All the romantic interests have their own thing going on, though I wouldn’t be surprised if some players hate one or two. Their characteristics are rather emphasized, and in a way they’re all idiots of some kinds. Though some of their traits are definitely more easily forgivable than others. Strong recommendation to any otome fan that can stomach some questionable behaviour or at least not let the more controversial routes spoil the sweeter ones.