Games that are akin to visual novels and dating sims like Long Live the Queen, Katawa Shoujo, and so on have a reputation for being rather dreary and strange for a lot of people, especially for those who don’t regard anything that doesn’t have a dynamic enough gameplay to be an actual game. Notable titles in this genre though do have some pretty good writing and some mechanics that make worth noting. But perhaps Always Remember Me may better than the usual anime-laden stuff like Conception II.
Always Remember Me is a dating and life sim by Winter Wolves, a developer with a portfolio full of other visual novels and adventure games. Life sims in the in general have similar mechanics as Long Live the Queen, with activities that can be done throughout each day (or week) and various stats that can be increased. They’re typically not combat stats, but more realistic ones like physical, academic, or social stats that are helpful to the lead character in various ways.
This particular visual novel is what’s known as an otome game, which basically means “girl game”. It’s targeted to female audiences who would appreciate its romantic story more, and the title of this game serves as a clue to the overall tone of the story. This game as a lot of similarities with old visual novels and life sims like Tokimeki Memorial and Gainax’s Princess Maker in both style and mechanics. You may even compare it to The Yawhg in how you can travel to other places and potentially raise your stats through related activities and situations.
You play as Amy, a girl with a boyfriend named Aaron. Unfortunately, her father disapproves of their relationship, so they meet in secret while Aaron works towards her father’s approval of him. Amy herself is a rather impulsive and temperamental heroine, so she tends to get emotional rather quickly. The couple would get into an accident and Aaron gets amnesia as a result, which plays on a bit of irony in relation to the title of the game. It does have some well-written characters, so the tension and
The artwork featured in this game is not the most refined you’ll see in a while. It’s the usual style that you’d expect from an indie visual novel game, but it does illustrate the characters in most in-game situations. There is some inconsistency, even when considering that it makes use of both its base style and chibi/super-deformed style. As for the interface, it does show most of the information you need to know at any given moment in clear and readable enough font.
Beyond the gameplay and visuals that a lot of people may have problems with, the main focus of this game is the story that actually does deliver in terms of sweetness and suspense. There are a total of nine endings to unlock, with each being accessible depending on your decisions throughout the game. While it does give some replay value, each playthrough can be completed in around two hours on average. But then again, you may take a bit longer while thinking of what to do next whenever you reach a flag event.
For those who may be skeptical, take note that one of the best games from 2012 was Katawa Shoujo, a visual novel that told a compelling story. Always Remember Me may not have as much of that universal appeal, but those who enjoy a good love story will definitely appreciate this game for its content and characters. It does have a specific target audience though, so those who do get this game better like sappy stuff, or visual novels for that matter.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 6.5/10