03/06/2021

๐Ÿ’ญ Don’t Forget Me | Review | PC | 2/10 | "As far as game titles go Don’t Forget Me isn’t half bad" ๐Ÿ’ญ @PixelHunted @TheMoonPirates #GameDev #IndieGames

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As far as game titles go Don’t Forget Me isn’t half bad. 

There’s an air of mystery: who might I forget… and why? 

But after playing the game it feels unhappily ironic as I will never think about Don’t Forget Me ever again once I wrap up this review.

Set in ‘yer basic rainy neon cyberpunk dystopia you play an assistant at a memory clinic. Clients enter, explain what memories they want to forget or preserve, then sit in a sci-fi chair while you get to work. The gameplay, such as it is, consists of tracking down the memory via keywords.

For example, the patient thinks: “I really enjoyed those nachos last night”. You type in “nachos” and move on to another sentence: “the nachos had a delicious salsa dip on the side”. Type in “salsa” and bingo bango you get the idea. You later gain the ability to travel into people’s memories to discover information, though this is limited to the point of silliness. You’re told: “Try to find his coat”. You walk over to the coat and click on it: “our work here is done!”. Well okay then.

Not having much game in a video game isn’t necessarily the kiss of death, but you’d better have a damn good story to fill the gap. This doesn’t: tossing together a hodgepodge of cyberpunk tropes and ideas that you’ve seen done better elsewhere a million times. There’s a sinister corporation, a group of rebels trying to take them down, and you’re caught in the middle.

Even then a decent story can overcome cliche with fun characters and dialogue. But the tale of amnesiac sofa-surfer Fran and sadsack memory doctor Bernard isn’t going to set the world on fire. The majority of the game is clicking through conversations between these two and neither are particularly interesting - the game doesn’t even care enough to reveal who Fran is before she lost her memory.

None of the side characters hangs around long enough to make much of an impression and the story is so perfunctorily told it feels like a synopsis - and anyway is all over and done in just over an hour.

I will grant that I didn’t see the ending coming, if only because it cut to black and rolled credits without any resolution or explanation of what happened. I played a patched version that apparently alters the ending to make it more fulfilling, but if this is the improved version I shudder to think of what it was once like. I’m not sure you can say the story technically ended. It just kinda stopped mid-sentence.

The counterpoint to all this is that Don’t Forget Me was obviously made on a small budget by a tiny team. For me that leeway only goes so far: I’ve played a whole bunch of impressive games made under severe restrictions and even bearing that in mind there’s an unattractive air of “eh, that’ll do” to damn near everything in this game.

The world isn’t hurting for cyberpunk indie adventures and this is left in the dust by relatively recent games like The Red Strings ClubVA-11 Hall-A, and 2064: Read Only Memories. Or even head back to the real classics and play through Snatcher on the Mega-CD. Now that’s a game that’s aged well.

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