Memoranda is inspired by the short stories of renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami and so you can expect plenty of odd characters set in a world that mixes realism with a kind of dreamlike fantasy. You’ll need to help the game’s protagonist, Mizuki, with her crippling insomnia and selective memory problems by pointing and clicking your way through some quirky puzzles.
The artwork has a gorgeous hand-drawn quality to it, which lends itself well to the unusual atmosphere of the world. Almost every new character you meet is intriguing, with their own lonely and bizarre story to tell. The further you get in the game, the stranger these seem to become. Whether you’re interacting with a creepy red-eyed sailor or a friendly human/cat hybrid, you can’t help but be entranced by their uniqueness.
However, the problem with having a surreal world setting is that some of the puzzle solutions can seem a bit nonsensical. Solving puzzles by just randomly trying to combine everything in your inventory and throwing them against every hotspot in the game is frustrating. There are also plenty of times where it’s just not very clear what you’re supposed to be doing next, despite Mizuki keeping notes in her diary about the things you’ve seen.
One system that is very welcome, however, is the ability to highlight all interactive points in a location with just the touch of a button. This means you don’t have to do the annoying act of slowly sweeping the cursor across every part of the screen to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.
Memoranda is a game for those looking for something a bit different. It’s only likely to take you an afternoon to reach its conclusion, but spending a few hours exploring this beautiful world is a unique and memorable experience. But be aware that you will likely have to resort to a guide during some of the game’s more surreal moments.