Memoria is a point and click adventure fantasy game from the studio behind The Night of the Rabbit, Deponia and The Dark Eye games based on the German answer to Dungeons and Dragons. In fact, Daedalic Entertainment's latest title is set within the same world as the German board game franchise. I recently got to play the first segment of Memoria and got a good glimpse at what it has to offer.
Like most of Daedalic's games, the emphasis here is on the story. Continuing on from Chains of Satinav, Memoria follows the tale of princess Sadja and her quest to overcome the demons inhabiting her lands. It's familiar fantasy fare, with magical talking staffs, wizards with long grey beards and mysterious gem stones. The preview build let slip some intriguing story strands (and one big spoiler), so take it from me that the core plot should be one of the best things about this title.
Despite this, the story of the princess isn't the only point of interest. Those who've played the previous Dark Eye game will be glad to see Geron make a return. The twist here is that Sadja's tale is set 500 years in the past and it's common knowledge that her quest was ended abruptly by mysterious forces. Geron, a bird catcher with more than a little magic in him, must discover what truly happened to the princess (through the classic form of flashback). It's the only chance he has of returning his girlfriend, who was previously turned into a raven, back to human form.
These events open the game, and it was at this point I was first introduced to the more unique aspects of Daedalic games. Magical abilities mix up the standard point and click mechanics. Not only can you combine inventory items and interact with the environment, but you can also cast spells that have varying effects on the game world. Geron's short introduction at the opening sees him break and reform a glass bottle with his magical ability. A little foreshadowing of the great ability shown later by Sadja and her magical staff.
There were some interesting puzzles in the preview build, and some were actually quite challenging. Thankfully, Daedalic have now implemented a proper hint system in which you're given a worded clue for every challenge presented. It can be a bit useless in certain situations, but can also be the perfect source of clarification in others. This works alongside a hotpoint mechanic where you simply hold down the spacebar to display key environmental areas.
So while the mechanics are generally familiar, and the quality of which is based totally on your personal opinion of the point and click style, the visuals are something fresh. Admittedly, the 2.5D brushed style is a calling card of Daedalic Entertainment, but the new settings look great. Animation is still a little on the tetchy side, but the overall art design is outstanding. I'm looking forward to seeing what other locations and designs the full game will contain.
Memoria is an interesting game that I (and probably you) have heard very little about. It's a shame, really, particularly considering games like The Raven are getting plenty of press despite an unoriginal and drab story. If you fancy something a little more original and far more interesting, then Memoria looks to be a nice surprise that could be worth picking up come release. It has to be said that for those who aren't used to the point and click adventure style then this could be a bad place to start, but I can recommend Daedalic's previous titles. This is shaping up to be a good addition to their portfolio and should be released late 2013/early 2014.