A Memoir Blue review (PS4)

Developed by Cloisters Interactive and published on all major systems by Annapurna Interactive, A Memoir Blue is a short interactive narrative with excellent audiovisual storytelling. Here’s our take, based on the PlayStation 4 version.

We’ve grown to be fans of Annapurna Interactive as a publisher over the past few years. Their knack for picking out original and impactful narratives in gaming really makes them stand out from the crowd, and A Memoir Blue fits right into that mold. After Twelve Minutes became one of our favorite releases of 2021, we couldn’t wait to try it out.

In A Memoir Blue, the story is all about our protagonist’s childhood and her relationship with her mother, which had to undergo a period of strain as the pair struggled with the complexity of being a single mother and having to manage a household at the same time. Even for those of us not used to living in a single parent household, it’s a story that is easy to relate to, as it builds on modern life and the expectations and demands that come with it – giving an insight into what that means for small families while hitting especially close to home for others.

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As you’d expect, it’s a story in which the emotional aspect is very important, and it’s dealt with well in a very ‘artsy’ and powerful way – telling us the story visually rather than having it delivered through dialogue. It invites players to interpret what’s happening on screen, making the journey all the more personal as a result – though the story’s length is definitely a downside. At about an hour long, it’s shorter than a typical feature film.

Perhaps unsurprisingly with a game that’s this short and has a heavy emphasis on narrative, A Memoir Blue is light on traditional gameplay. Things are fairly linear, and although there are echoes here of a classic point and click adventure your biggest ‘stumbling blocks’ are going to be a few very streamlined puzzles that shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. It keeps the story flowing nicely, but those looking for pure gameplay might be underwhelmed.

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This is a game for the more narratively-inclined though, and the visual style of A Memoir Blue is gorgeous – especially for a game being launched at this price point. In addition to looking great, things are also well-animated, with a distinct and original flair that feels unlike anything else out there – sitting somewhere in between Ghibli, comic book and “Life is Strange” – though others will see different influences, we’re sure.

Add some atmospheric music into the mix (which unlike the game itself does feature vocals), and it’s an audiovisual trek that may be short, but very worthwhile. If you enjoy games that place the narrative front and center, you’ll want to check this one out.

Score: 7.8/10

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