There’s a special level of difficulty when it comes to creating games that center around sensitive subjects. One of the most sensitive subjects to tackle is World World 2 era Europe and the atrocities that came along with the rise of Nazis and their subsequent invasions of surrounding countries. The risk factor is intensified when a narrative takes on this setting and includes first person stories from people who experienced the nightmare first hand. Somehow, the developers at Juggler Games and Crunching Koalas have managed to not only handle this topic with respect and care, but they’ve done so while creating a game that features a heavily stylized pen and ink sketch aesthetic.
My Memory of Us begins with the discovery of a photograph that has been ripped in two being presented to the narrator. This floods the narrator, who is voiced by none other than Sir Patrick Stewart, with a sea of memories about a time as a homeless child on the streets who found himself forging a friendship with a young girl in a red coat. The narrator and the girl in the red coat become inseparable and he eventually moves in with her and her grandfather. Things are good for the little makeshift family, but the world around them is drastically changing. There’s an encroaching robot army, the surrealistic stand ins for the Nazis that invaded Poland, that is actively working to convince the masses that people in red are evil and should be feared.
My Memory of Us gives players control over both the young boy and the girl in red, each of whom has specific skills that can help them solve puzzles and avoid the clutches of the lurking robot army. The boy, for example, is a skilled thief thanks to his time living on the streets and can effectively pickpocket key items or take cover, hiding among the shadows from the robots and drones. The girl in red is older, and thus she can run faster and jump over larger gaps in addition to having a slingshot that can help hit targets and switches that would otherwise be out of reach. The characters move independently of one another, with the player switching between the active character by pressing the right bumper button, but they can be moved simultaneously by pressing Y so that they hold hands. A single player controls both characters and there are no coop options available.
My Memory of Us is a surprisingly lengthy story spanning across eighteen chapters with sixteen collectable memories hidden within them. The memories you find can be accessed from the title screen and provide a little additional backstory to the characters that you come across. These memories are based on the stories of real life people who admirably stood against the Nazis during their invasion of Poland including brave soldiers and even orphans from the ghettos. My Memory of Us does have a chapter select feature, making it easy to replay parts of the story where you may have missed these memories.
The game plays exceptionally well, with the controls for the primary characters being fluid and responsive. While the main narrator’s lines are voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart, as previously mentioned, the actual campaign itself does have any dialogue between the playable characters and the NPCs, choosing instead to use a garbled gibberish and speech bubbles with imagery as opposed to text to convey a point. While the controls and gameplay itself is quite fluid, there are some issues with stuttering on the loading screens although the game never crashed or lagged afterward. In all, My Memory of Us is a charming, surreal and metaphorical look at Poland while in the grips of its occupation by Nazis that approaches the topic with respect and admiration for the seemingly unsung heroes that made everyday life a little more bearable for the oppressed. Its an incredibly well thought out experience, with puzzles that are intuitive and a narrative that will tug on the heartstrings.