I played this for two hours, and I will never play it again.
I am going to bounce off some longterm thoughts regarding a maiden game I played last year called Amnesia: Memories. A maiden game, or otome, is a visual novel catering to women, where the female lead can fall for one of the male leads. This type of fan service fulfils the romantic desire for an ardent love. Amnesia: Memories, a highly rated game available on PS Vita and mobile, fits into this category and I bought it for $3.99. I was skeptical choosing this game at first because it was an outright romantic game with very little problem-solving. I reasoned in my head… I love when two characters fall in love in RPGs and other games. This game doesn’t seem that long, so let’s give this a shot.
(Please note, this article contains spoilers for Toma’s storyline)
Let’s start off with the concept of Amnesia: Memories. The player has four romantic relationships to choose from, symbolized by card suits (diamond, heart, spade, club). After choosing your suit, the game’s prologue introduces the heroine and a spirit named Orion. Orion is like a conscience, and he will disappear after you regain your memory. After the prologue ends, the story begins with the heroine meeting a male character based on the suit chosen. You control dialogue decisions, which affect the storyline ending. If you’re unsatisfied with the ending, each storyline takes 1-2 hours depending on pace and easy to replay.
I was attracted to the soft art style upon start. Depending on which suit you choose, each storyline is associated with a color motif that follows throughout the game. The environments are depicted well and contrast the characters. I love these pleasant colors especially when the protagonist is in her bedroom at dusk.
Now we get to the storyline…
To put it bluntly, this is the second game in my history I never finished and the first game I ever stopped playing because I disliked it. I started the game with the diamond storyline and meet my childhood friend Toma, and it was definitely the most intense one to start with. Toma takes an aggressive approach to sheltering the heroine, a mechanism to make sure I don’t talk to anyone else, like my other childhood friend Shin. The moment of passion arrives when Toma locks the heroine in a cage so she can’t escape his obsessive love. I was curious how this storyline would turn out, and I was hoping it would end with an escape route. Instead, the heroine regains false memories from Toma’s manipulation and Orion starts to fade. My storyline ends with Toma dressing the heroine into a maid outfit and keeping her in the cage. Forever.
Aaand… *turn off PS Vita*
An hour and a half wasted for an ending like that, and I was done playing the game. I cringed thinking about how my character was hopelessly locked in a cage against her will… I almost half expected this storyline to end with Toma killing her and truthfully would have preferred. “This is a 4-star game?!” I double-took reviews to read how amazing this game was and how charming these men were. People even admire Toma’s passionate love. A game where the heroine is treated terribly and the man is easily forgiven for love?
Flash forward months later, and I’m talking to a friend who played Amnesia: Memories before and likes dating sims. While she loved the game, I discussed my reasons for disliking it and the heroine’s lack of control in a game about decision. First, she tells me the rest of the storylines are not as wacky as this. Fair, but that won’t get me to replay this game. Second, she asks me how I would have wanted Toma’s storyline to end.
“For me, if you’re going to have a bad ending, you might as well kill her off instead of be in this fucked up relationship forever. Or, a different male lead comes in and saves the day by helping her escape the cage.”
“I think you need to take a step back and see the romance from a different light. If you get the good ending, Toma will release her from the cage and the two fall in love.”
“What is romantic and attractive about being drugged and kidnapped by a creep?”
“…” No response.
Yeah… get this game away from me.