Memoir Blue Game Review

Memoir Blue Game Review.A complicated family history, a beautiful soundtrack and many memories to relive; this is A Memoir Blue, a new interactive fiction that drinks from proposals such as Gris, Journey or That Dragon, Cancer. Its intimate narrative, its animated feature film aesthetics and its moving story have enchanted us, but is it at the level of the great contemplative works of the video game? We tell you in our analysis.

It is not my intention to revive the controversial and cyclical debates in the industry but, once again, the question always arises: do video games deserve the status of art? I believe that, as in most cases, the absolute answers are not very clear ; In the same way that not all movies are artistic, not all video games have aesthetic ambition. Things get complicated when we start to think about it and discover that there are many forms of art , as well as countless channels and methods to delve into: for example, the realism of Red Dead Redemption II and The Last of Us: Part IIit has something artistic, without a doubt, but so does the chromatic beauty of Ghost of Tsushima, the cosmic horror “lore” of Bloodborne, or the thematic motifs of Undertale . Everyone is artistic in their own way. And that’s not counting perhaps some of the quintessential “philosophical” titles, which are generally done through introspection , that is, as a reflection on our own emotions, memories or thoughts, in order to find meaning in them and better understand ourselves. ourselves.

The video game as a means of artistic expression has evolved a lot in the last two decades, especially in terms of introspection. It is true that there have always been reflective or emotional titles, such as Myst, but it has been in these years that we have seen a renewed interest in discovering the world’s own channels of expression. Here I can think of a few examples, but I’m going to keep two: Gray , probably the most symbolic work of recent times, and What Remains of Edith Finch , a beautiful combination of magical realism and playable discovery. However, we cannot separate both games from all the precursors of that “deep current” to whichthey owe him so much . His heritage, in addition to other arts, goes back to titles such as Braid, Dear Esther, Limbo, Kentucky Road Zero , Journey or That Dragon, Cancer , whose common thread is their heartbreaking and moving stories about life, loss or loneliness. . Cloisters’ debut project, A Memoir Blue, may not have such lofty aspirations, but it continues in that reflective vein and offers a highly engaging journey through the realms of memories and family relationships. In the following lines I tell you what I thought.

Immersed in memory.

The core of A Memoir Blue’s plot is found in mother- child relationships . Our unnamed protagonist is a celebrated Olympic swimmer who, on a gloomy, rainy afternoon, dives into the stormy seas of memory to understand her origins and come to terms with her troubled family past. Of course, don’t expect extraordinary human dramas or impossible tragedies, because here everything revolves around those small details of everyday life that, for one reason or another, end up determining a large part of our life experiences. Separation, loneliness at home, stress, compassion, and disappointment are some of the core emotions of the adventure, and I especially like how the plot manages to beemotional and intimate without falling into unnecessary topics. What’s more, A Memoir Blue is completely right when it comes to exploring the plot limits of the medium because, being devoid of texts and dialogues of any kind, it expresses itself completely through the videogame’s own channels : the audiovisual and the playable .

This minimalist, almost essentialist narrative was defined by the studio itself as interactive poetry and, although a priori I had my doubts about it (after all, it would not be the first project to hide behind literature to cover up other shortcomings), I must say that I do not think it is a pretentious assessment, but rather an honest one. A Memoir Blue is, above all, a niche worktotally contemplative, perfect for those nights when the memory feels a little restless. The elements based on real situations and the strong symbolism of the title are continuously intertwined; in fact, the underwater aesthetic itself and the representation of an unknown ocean are still a metaphor for the psychological deepening carried out by the same protagonist. There are dozens of meanings that are there, waiting without attracting attention, but placed with a sensitivity that seems very brave and authentic to me . Suggesting without explicitly explaining it is more complicated than it may seem at first, and Cloisters manages to do it with a naturalness that I did not expect.

This is because, in general terms, we are facing a plot with very little objective exposition, but it is precisely that narrative paucity and its conceptual background that makes it possible for each player to draw their own conclusions in A Memoir Blue. The interpretation is essential at all times, so despite the fact that the title proposes a relaxed adventure, with little playable interaction, it is not a passive experience, far from it. I think that part of the magic of Cloisters’ work lies there, and to a certain extent I wonder if that approach has not been what has earned them to publish their first project under the Annapurna Interactive label , a sign of qualityon the independent scene. On the other hand, it is true that the story is very short (lasts around an hour and a half) and hardly replayable, beyond giving some additional twist to the same events, something that I understand can throw more than one back. That yes, although its argument does not evolve the world of the videogame nor is it the best of its style , it manages to leave sensations as special as they are lasting.

A relaxing interactive fiction.

At the playable level, A Memoir Blue is somewhat difficult to define. I think the most sensible thing is to consider it as an interactive fiction in two dimensions, with some very basic elementsof graphic adventure, see solve some other puzzle of the stage or interact with certain elements of the scene to advance. In this sense, there are different mechanics related to the environment, such as adjusting the dial of a radio that appears in various bars of the adventure, rearranging the furniture in the room or putting the spotlights on a stage, for example; however, there is no kind of freedom, since these small doses of environmental interaction are very guided and never pose a challenge, although I do not think they intend to. In fact, except in rare situations, you can’t even control the movement of the protagonist, so a little more ambition is missing .in this way. In any case, I believe that the gameplay of the title serves two purposes. The first has to do with making the player part of the story, while the second is a matter of rhythm and narrative cohesion, since the interactive segments usually start or end the visual scenes, which are the real highlight of the game. formula.

These scenes combine models generated with the game engine, with sometimes somewhat debatable finishes, with beautiful animated shorts , with soft colors and shapes; the style is a bit reminiscent of mid-20th-century Asian cartoon tracing (after all, the studio has Taiwanese ancestry), or the classic Disney era, for good measure. For this reason, A Memoir Blue often gives the sensation of being made up of short animated films, and that is where he feels most comfortable, and even leaves some snapshots to remember. The use of light and the configuration of the planes are also very well studied, but I’m afraid that sometimes they are overshadowed by the animations of the graphic engine or by its textures, which can be flat. In any case, these rough edges are due to the fact that the project is quite modest, and outside the technical sphere, A Memoir Blue manages to be captivating in the audiovisual field.

In addition, the music is sensational , and I can already tell you that it accompanies perfectly at all times; the song of the prologue and the epilogue stand out for their human, evocative cut, to the point that they remain engraved in the memory for a few days. Perhaps its soundtrack, as a whole, does not shine as much as that of some of the aforementioned titles, but it matches perfectly with the aesthetics of the story and does not resort at any time to empty melodramatic techniques. Exceptional work in the sound field and in the artistic field, without a doubt.

Emotional and captivating.

A Memoir Blue may not be a video game for everyone, in the same way that Gris, Braid or Journey were not either; however, there is nothing wrong with that because from time to time the medium that we are so passionate about needs to breathe freely and give rise to proposals of various kinds. In general terms, I think that the first work of Cloisters is very successful when it comes to following the trend of the most contemplative titles of recent years, but perhaps it has lacked a bit of ambition to be able to place itself on the same level as them. Of course, its beautiful story, its intimate and essential narrative, and its moving animation scenes have captivated me from beginning to end, so if you are able to overcome its visual roughness and its short duration, or if you liked things like behind the frame,

5 Things you should know:
  • Very intimate story about family relationships.

  • Minimalist narrative, without text or dialogue, which leads to interpretation.

  • Very simple gameplay, it is practically an interactive feature film.

  • Sensational soundtrack and artistic design.

  • Very short and perhaps lacking in ambition.

Duration: 1 – 2 hours

Players: 1 (Competitive: No / Cooperative: No)

Language: Texts in Spanish and voices in English (songs).

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