My Memory of Us Review

By Mark Delaney, 1 month ago
People aren't born racist or seeking to discriminate. They're taught those things as they grow up. It's something with which I've been grappling lately due to my son starting kindergarten this year. His innocent worldview is now exponentially more in danger of becoming corrupted if the wrong influence gets in his head at school. I've treaded carefully around these subjects with him because I've not wanted to shatter that innocence too soon. I've explained to him that the world is mostly good guys, but there are some bad guys, and one of the things these bad guys may do is treat people poorly because of the way they look. It's an immensely important topic to discuss with your kids and for that reason, I'm so thankful for My Memory of Us. It's a fun 2D adventure game, but more than that, it's a touching allegory with an important message built for teaching.

My Memory of Us

My Memory of Us tells the story of a nameless pair of children, one girl and one boy, who become friends amid their city's invasion by evil robots. After an assault leaves the town shaken emotionally and structurally, these robots patrol the streets and segregate people, labeling some as second-class citizens and donning them in red clothes so they may easily stand out as pariahs in their neighborhoods. Sometimes they kidnap these red people and take them away to ghettos. They ensure everyone knows that these red people are to be avoided and disregarded no matter their needs. The children, not understanding any of what's going on and only seeking to find safety, go on the adventure of their young lives dodging and later fighting back against this robot army and their tyrant king.

It's a classically child-like setup, but in case you miss it, the game's collectibles point to the fact that it's all an allegory for the German invasion and occupation of Poland in World War II. As the game is narrated and its story reflected upon by an elderly man, portrayed by the great Patrick Stewart, the parallels are made clear. Innocent people are taken away not on trains but in hovercrafts. Nazis are now robots, and their means of labeling some as outcasts is not a yellow star but a red coat or hat. The game admirably presents all this through the lens of imaginative storytelling that kids will certainly enjoy, but every major moment is a teachable one for those playing along with family at home.

There are scenes that will bring tears to your eyes. Others will easily promote discussion on important topics like how something like this could've ever happened and what must be done to prevent it from happening again. The story is the game's greatest asset, and even when it ends where you might predict, the journey is a memorable one and interesting the entire time.

Screenshots

Wrapped up in this historical allegory is a game that will feel familiar to some players. Looking at screenshots, you may be reminded of Valiant Hearts, Ubisoft's indie-flavored WWI game from a few years back. It's more than just looks as the game plays very much like it too, although it's all presented in black and white with the exception of red highlights to stand out and thrust forward that symbolism. Using the girl's quickness, the boy's stealth, and a simple yet heartfelt hand-holding function, the pair of best friends solve puzzles of an impressive variety across the game's three to four hours, battling the robot army and coming to its emotional conclusion.

These puzzles come in many forms, although much of the game will be spent in small hubs where you'll need to acquire different items to access new areas. What one character needs another may have, but they'll ask something of you too, eventually giving you tasks to complete in a specific sequence in order to progress. They'll all tell you using pictures inside speech bubbles and brief mumbles too. There's no doubt the team at Juggler Games played and appreciated Valiant Hearts.

Many one-off puzzles are seen throughout the game and they remain interesting even if they're often not so difficult. This is the game's greatest detriment as it's not going to be much of a challenge for puzzle fans looking for one. If played as a family game and the occasionally easy puzzles are forgiven, My Memory of Us is much more enjoyable. Even then, some may stump you for a bit longer, but this isn't a game that is meant to have you rifling through guides to find solutions. It's a good 2D puzzle adventure that shines most brightly due to its story and message.

Screenshots

The achievement list is a pretty simple one provided you pay attention to the many missable moments. There are a few for story unlocks, a few more for collectibles, and many that demand you complete puzzles in certain ways, like using very few moves in a moving block puzzle or getting through a labyrinth in under 45 seconds. It can and will be completed by many on TA in under four hours, and for some, even under three.

Check out our Best Xbox Adventure Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

My Memory of Us is a game that may sneak up on you. What begins as a whimsical tale of kids versus robots ends up dealing with some pretty dark material, although the game rarely reveals that darkness on its surface, instead letting players draw the parallels and explore the real-life history via the collectibles. It's fun for most audiences, but if you have kids of a certain age, My Memory of Us is a fantastic game to play together as it offers good puzzles for younger players and important themes worth your family time. Teaching kids about the worst parts of humanity is a delicate subject but also necessary so that they may grow up more loving and intelligent than some people in our history books. My Memory of Us is at its best as a teaching tool that reminds players of the power of love over hate.
4 / 5
My Memory of Us
Positives
  • A touching story built for kids and families
  • Fun moments come by utilizing each character's abilities
  • A fantastic allegory to introduce history and the wrongs worth correcting
  • Collectibles explore the history of real-life heroes and villains
Negatives
  • Very derivative gameplay and presentation
  • Puzzles are often too simplistic for many players
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent three hours in the land of robot invasion, teaching his son about the wrongs of discrimination and the power of love. He gathered 17 of 22 achievements for 775 gamerscore. An Xbox One review code was provided by the publisher.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is the host of the community game club TA Playlist. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.