Part of a newly-popular genre we like to call 2D Puzzle Stealth Platformers About Living Through Hard Times – think games like Black The Fall or Valiant Hearts – My Memory of Us follows a boy and a girl trying to survive an invasion by the Robot King, which is an allegory for the Nazi invasion of Poland that began World War 2. Apart from a few gameplay frustrations here and there, it’s both a profound and enjoyable experience.
Stylistically, My Memory of Us is fantastic. Sir Patrick Stewart’s narration during cutscenes is great, but the visual style of the game in general really pops. Sure, it takes some pretty heavy liberties from Schindler’s List, using a black and white art style for the most part with splashes of red, but that doesn’t make it any less effective when mixed with a 1930s-style animation. The music in this game is excellent too, especially in the more moving moments.
Gameplay is based on a mix of puzzle and stealth, all underpinned by the relationship between the boy and the girl. You can switch between the two at any time, while pressing triangle makes them link hands, allowing them to run together. While the boy can sneak and use a mirror to blind enemies, the girl can run, jump gaps, and use a slingshot. It’s approachable but still gives the opportunity for some clever puzzles.
While things start off relatively simple in the game’s early stages, gameplay becomes much more stealth-oriented as the Robot King’s invasion progresses. A lot of the time you’ll hiding in the shadows, waiting for robot sentries to pass, but the game never feels bogged down. The constant threat creates constant tension, making My Memory of Us’ quieter moments feel more meaningful.
Puzzles get much smarter as the game goes on, too. Sometimes, puzzles based on finding the right code for a keypad can get old, but Juggler Games chops and changes in order to keep things interesting. With no dialogue or text, a lot of the puzzles are based on simply trying to make sense of the game’s world – something that feels pretty satisfying when you complete it.
Occasionally there are moments when things get a bit too obnoxious – the final boss fight, for example, gets into some pretty ridiculous territory – but for the most part My Memory of Us strikes a good balance between telling a historical tale and having engaging gameplay.
It could be argued that these more sci-fi-style moments of the game distract from its emotional impact, but it’s still pretty effective. Using cold, emotionless, and sometimes animalistic robots to illustrate the Nazis makes sense, because that’s how their victims would’ve seen them. They certainly acted that way.
As well as telling Poland’s tragic tale through the story, My Memory of Us also uses a collectibles system that unlocks historical information about the invasion. Collecting photos littered around the game allows you to read about important Polish figures or events that took place during the occupation. With games like 1979 Revolution: Black Friday also having a mechanic like this, it’s great to see developers encouraging their audiences to learn about history.
At the end of the day, My Memory of Us ticks quite a few boxes. There’s engaging gameplay, a fantastic story, and great art direction, and what’s more it’s pretty good value for its price. Most importantly, though, it tells a part of history in an appealing and emotional way, not shying away from its darker moments.
My Memory of Us is an exciting and emotional trip through a dark period of human history. Its bittersweet story mixes well with its tense stealth-based gameplay, while clever puzzles flesh things out. Fittingly for a game about memories, we won't forget our time with Juggler Games' project for quite a while.