|Idea Factory, Design Factory
|Idea Factory International
|PlayStation Vita, Steam: Aug. 25, 2015
Nintendo Switch: Sept. 20, 2022
|Romance, Visual Novel, Otome
|PlayStation Vita, Steam, Nintendo Switch
I mentioned back in my Birushana review that I was getting back into otome games, and I return to you with not one, but two games to share! With the recent release of both Amnesia: Memories and Amnesia: Later x Crowd on the Nintendo Switch, I figured why not do a one-two punch of both games? So let’s dive right into this first of two parts series and see how well I’ll remember my time with Amnesia: Memories.
The game starts in a blue void, where our heroine awakes to find herself face-to-face with an elfen spirit named Orion. He accidentally runs into her during his trips between the worlds, you see, and now he’s sort of… stuck. Unfortunately for our girl, his collision displaced her memories, so much so that she can’t even remember who she is. Orion thinks that restoring her memories will also free him from their bond, so he encourages her to go back to her world and reconnect with the people there. There are multiple parallel worlds, each influenced by the various decisions of those who dwell in it, and so our heroine has to decide which world she came from: Heart, Spade, Clover or Diamond? Picking the world determines which route you’ll play, and I found the in-game reasoning for there being multiple love interests clever.
While you can pick any route you want, the game naturally encourages you to play them in order, so I did. I played each route twice: A blind run for my first playthrough where I picked what choices I felt were natural; and a guided route for my second to ensure I got the Good Ending for each love interest. Doing so unlocks a fifth route, Joker, and I wanted to see his the most. Each world shares several aspects: the maid café, Meido no Hitsuji, where the characters work; Myouga College and Seichi University, between which the characters attend; and a mountain resort, Shinanoji. Character personalities remain mostly consistent over every route with two exceptions, but their backstories and situations change, so you always get a new perspective on the boys, which was paramount for me even liking my first route’s love interest, because oh boy, first impressions are a thing. But let’s get into it.
Heart World’s love interest is Shin (voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara), the heroine’s childhood friend, along with Toma. He’s frank to the point of rudeness and comes off as instantly unpleasant, considering he lies like he breathes. I hated him. I like rude and assholish characters, but I can’t stand mean ones, and Shin’s attitude was often cruel, cold, and very off-putting. I spent my first playthrough of his route feeling constantly negged, and while I understand everyone has preferences, he definitely wasn’t mine. He is my least-favorite version of tsundere. His Good Ending route and seeing him in other’s stories softened my feelings a bit, but that first impression definitely was not pleasant. His route involves solving how the heroine was injured during a summer resort outing, and was genuinely intriguing once I got past my dislike of the main dude.
Spade World’s love interest is Ikki (voiced by Kisho Taniyama), a playboy college student with a rabid fan club. He’s suave, charming, and genuinely seems to care for the heroine when they’re together, but his public persona is a lot more distant. He’s best friends with Kent, and the two attend Seichi University. Ikki has a “condition” that makes it so that any girl who looks into his eyes instantly falls in love with him. I liked Ikki from the get-go and didn’t really mind the outlandishness of the eyes thing, seeing as the premise of the game is a spirit knocking out your memories. Leaning into the fantasy aspect gave Ikki a lot more appeal. His route involves navigating his fan club – both the responsibility he feels toward the women who join, and their cruelty towards the heroine.
Clover World’s love interest is Kent (voiced by Akira Ishida), a mathematics graduate student and Ikki’s best friend. He’s serious, stubborn, argumentative, and struggles with “irrational” concepts like love. He’s my favorite love interest and second favorite character overall. As someone who looks at the world in a cold and distant way, his route focuses almost entirely on learning how to communicate effectively with the heroine, so that he can properly express the irrational feelings he has for her.
Diamond World’s love interest is Toma (voiced by Satoru Hino), once again the heroine’s childhood friend alongside Shin. Toma is your typical Big Brother type: He’s caring, sweet, reliable, has a friendly demeanor, and is almost always peppy. Unfortunately, due to the whole childhood friend thing, he struggles to see the heroine as the woman she is, and still treats her and Shin like younger siblings. When the heroine is targeted by bullies, he shelters her to keep her safe. His route deals mostly with overcoming the “big brother” mindset and seeing the heroine for who she is.
Joker World’s love interest is Ukyo (voiced by Koki Miyata), a photographer. He’s soft-spoken and gentle, but distant, constantly telling the heroine to stay away from him. At the same time, he’s constantly showing up to assist her and warn about danger, or awkwardly express his feelings. He is a regular at Meido no Hitsuji, because no matter how often he tells the heroine to stay away, he can’t seem to follow his own advice. He’s my second favorite love interest. As the “true” ending, his route requires getting all Good Endings on the previous four, and is tied pretty inextricably into the overarching question of why Orion fused with the heroine in the first place.
Outside of the five love interests, the cast is comprised of Orion; Sawa, the heroine’s best friend; Mine, a coworker at Meido no Hitsuji; Waka, the cafe’s manager; and Rika, leader of Ikki’s fan club. Waka’s personality changes every route: In Shin’s, he acts like an okama; in Ikki’s, he’s a militant hardass who calls all their customers the enemy; in Kent’s, he’s the silent observer who only speaks when the need arises; and in Ukyo’s, he’s supposedly an assassin, but that’s never confirmed. He is the only character to have wildly different versions, and they are all immensely enjoyable. Hidenori Takahashi does a superb job making each one distinct. Rika is the only other character to have a personality shift, but only for Ukyo’s route. In all other worlds, she’s a haughty, possessive woman who will do anything to help Ikki out, but in Joker World, she is the heroine’s genuine friend. I would usually scoff at that sort of character 180, but Rika actually manages to pull it off, and I found it endearing.
As your main companion and the reason you’re in this mess, Orion deserves some extra mention. He is, hands down, my favorite character in the game, which is something considering I found him annoying at first. He’s excitable and childish, and as the only real “voice” for the heroine, he talks a lot. You will hear Orion more than anyone else, but at some point, his incessant chatter went from being intrusive to comforting. He’s the only constant through all worlds, the one person who never leaves your side and supports you through thick and thin. He’s genuine, sweet, and desperately wants to help, despite being unable to do much other than listen to you or offer advice for how to navigate the strange relationships you find yourself in. Orion ended up being the emotional core of the game for me, more than any single love interest, and only Kent came anywhere near being as good an overall character in my eyes.
Back to actual gameplay. As the name of the game is Amnesia, the main gimmick here is that the heroine has lost her memories. During each route, she has to balance restoring her memories by spending time with her love interest while also keeping those around her from being suspicious of her memory loss. She also has to build trust with others and her affection toward the chosen love interest. All three of these determine which ending you’ll get, and Amnesia: Memories has plenty of Bad Endings to go around. In theory, these three parameters can go up and down, but during my playthroughs, I rarely saw any negative change in each Parameter. Outside of your dialogue choices, there’s little other interaction, save a quiz you can take during Kent’s route, and the two minigames you can pick from the main menu.
The art here is all impeccable. I love the look of every character and I dig the absolutely bonkers gothic fashion. The music was fitting with a couple really memorable songs, and the voice cast did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed the presentation overall, and the ability to choose whichever route you wanted from the git-go was a plus. I still can’t decide if starting with Shin was a blessing or a curse, but I thoroughly enjoyed the other routes. I also liked how they got progressively more difficult to hit the Good Ending, with a ton of twists and turns.
Each route took me roughly three to four hours to complete once, and there’s plenty of replay value to get all 20 endings. The Switch version of Amnesia: Memories also comes with the Japanese PSP-only interactive CGs, where you can “touch” different parts of the picture and have the love interest talk to you. It’s $49.99 USD on the Switch, but considering this is a re-release of a game currently available for $9.99 USD on Steam, I feel like it’s a bit pricey, even with the Japan-only additions. That being said, I recommend giving this one a go if you enjoy a bit of fantasy and mystery in your otome.