Memories – My Story, My Choice
iOS / Android
Dive into one of many tales and take control of the heroine’s destiny. Fashion, other worlds, vampires — these gals’ lives are about to take an unexpected turn, but perhaps they’ll find love along the way!
Like a lot of people, I really got into otome games thanks to Hakuoki. While they found a market in the West, with the rise of mobile gaming, a lot of female-oriented romance games have shifted to that format versus a console, buy-the-whole-package-at-once release.
Memories – My Story, My Choice (also styled as Memories: My Story, My Choice) is one of those mobile games, developed by Indonesian gamemaker Agate. This is outside of my normal zone, but since I was invited to try it out, try it out I did.
Firing up Memories leads to a screen with several different “books”. With so many options choose from and offer popups (all against an ugly, boring white background), it can be overwhelming as to where to start. Clicking on a book will take you to an info page where you can see the author’s name, whether the story is ongoing or complete, your progress, how popular it is through a view count and like number. The latter can help you zero in on a title to dive in, but more importantly, once you start sifting through the options, you will realize several are actually sequels. So they will likely be low on your list. You can go straight into one of these, but it seems like you choose from which guy’s ending you are picking up from.
So why would anyone start out with a sequel if there are other choices? Well, Memories has is a freemium game with two main revenue flows. More on that in a bit.
As you might expect from a game with sections divided into books, each book is made up of chapters. There are three main types of stories: traditional visual novels, short fandisc-like bonus tales, and chat novels.
Chat novels are just what the name suggests: stories recounted in the style of text messages for both online and offline communication. These are more realistic tales with matching visuals (pictures of people, altered Google Maps images, etc.). The web novels remind me of K-dramas, and to choose the best option only requires watching an ad, the same as proceeding to the next chapter. I’m not going to focus heavily on these since there are only three available. You do have to keep tapping to get the next text-style dialogue or emoji. But hey, all it costs you is 60 seconds’ worth of ads and perhaps some sore fingers.
The other books have anime-style art for characters and are presented in more traditional visual novel format. These are the central focus of Memories, and the rest of the review will focus on these episodes. I completed one in full and started a few more, so there may be variances in other tales.
The first chapter in each story is free, but if you want to proceed, it will cost you a Key. Bonus episodes have 2 to 5 chapters per tale while the other two categories range from 10 to 22 chapters. Restarting a chapter or story will also cost Keys. And no, you cannot unlock any further than the next chapter.
Once you start a book, most of which have have fantasy elements, players read through the unvoiced dialogue. During the game, you can see what story/chapter you’re on, access a read history, or share a screenshot. You can exit the game at any time to jump back where you left off.
For most of the dialogue, a portrait of the speaker pops up in a bubble with a colored background that corresponds to their mood or tone. Blue is happy/neutral, orange for irritated, etc. Then when another character talks, the previous person’s bubble leaves the screen so that the new one can come into view. If you are a fast reader, it seems like these operate like ping pong balls. The dialogue box appears right below these bubbles, so it can feel like much of the screen is wasted, that you see more of the background than anything else. At times, there will be a large image of a character (or item), and quite often, the screen will be replaced with a cell phone to represent calls and texts.
Eventually, you need to select an option to continue. The first will be the heroine’s physical appearance. After that, some of these choices seem to just alter the dialogue, and certain choices will raise a hidden meter (romance, friendship, confidence). A number are timed decisions. For a lot of these, the choices didn’t seem that different. Like, choosing between ducking, fleeing, and attacking is a clear different path. But choices like “What do you mean?” or “What are you saying?” have a similar tone and meaning, and it felt like I was flipping a coin if I would get a boost or not. Some options would be like “hide” or “scream”, and I would choose “hide”, and the next line would involve a scream. I don’t know if raising those levels earlier in the story sort of covered for these choices and prevented any bad ends, which I don’t know if exist in this game or not. There are also options where you can enter text, including the name of the heroine.
But certain bigger choices will require Diamonds. Diamonds are used to get the more significant romantic moments, and using them will unlock a CG for your virtual album. You can also spend Diamonds to get character cards (a picture of the character’s portrait). Usually, the former costs about 28 diamonds while the latter is about 12. The game always warns you before one of the Diamond options come up, and plus the Diamond cost is highlighted, so you shouldn’t accidentally spend them unless you’re really not paying attention.
Players can get a login bonus. It’s usually Diamonds, and players can also watch ads to earn a limited amount per day. Completing a chapter and doing a small survey can also add a couple of Diamonds. Keys can also be given out, but less often. Rather, they refresh at a regular interval, but you are limited to how many free ones you can have at a time (2 for me, not sure if this can be raised).
So to complete a story in a timely manner will cost money. Keys range from $.99 for 1 to $14.99 for 50 while Diamonds are $2.99 for 30 to $89.99 for 1500. There are limited time offers that pop up along with special packages that include Diamonds and options like no ads.
This is the type of game where you don’t want to dive straight it. You don’t want to waste resources on a story you’re not that into. Try out several (maybe all!), choose which one you want to complete, and figure out what you will need to finish it. You know in the info screen of a book how many chapters it has, so calculating Keys is easy, and you can just wait it out if you don’t want to pay. Diamonds, you can average about 30 per chapter (+12 or 24 for optional portraits, which I think are a big waste of money), and with 15 free per day, you can do the math from there. You don’t want to be so close to finishing a story and then realizing you’re short on Diamonds and have to use a Key to replay a chapter to get a CG you’d like. The album does show the list of CGs for the game and where they are, but assume Diamonds are needed for every one. Price-wise, items seem in line with other mobile games, but if you want to avoid paying, you will have to start and stop a lot. There’s nothing else to do to keep you occupied if continuing is not an option for you.
Anyway, back to playing the game.
It seems like you can choose the most romantic options for multiple male interests with no consequence. In the one story I completed, it was possible for the heroine to make out with one and then go straight to the other and make out with him. It wasn’t until the very end there was an option to choose which ending I wanted. While this doesn’t give the game separate routes per se, you likely only have to repeat one chapter to get the other romance CG option(s).
The visuals I saw weren’t risque, but the text certainly can be. The game is rated T, and if there was a 16+ rating for games like an OT, I bet it would have gotten it. That’s also due to some harsh swearing, mainly the f-word.
The CGs are certainly beautiful to look at, and if you unlock/save one, all the versions for the heroine’s skintone will be available. Good news that you don’t need to replay chapters to unlock the same image with different skin colors. You can choose the heroine’s outfit at times, but you won’t get CGs if you don’t pay for the Diamonds when it’s required. You will see similarities between main characters in the different stories, with perhaps more differences in the CGs versus the portraits. That happens in many games, so I’m not knocking Memories. I do hope to see a bigger variety of heroines in future updates (say, the cutesy type), as the ladies here tend to be very beautiful. But they do appear a little older than most of the Japanese-originated otome games I play, so that plays a factor as well.
I was intrigued by the stories I started, and I think I would have enjoyed playing through any of them. However, I started with Red White Cinderella, and it did seem to employ some Indonesian fairy tales I was absolutely not familiar with. I mean, I ended up gleaning the gist, but I chose Vampire Sonata since vampires are common in both Western media and Japanese animanga. Vampire Sonata was also comparatively short.
Anyway, it employed some common plotlines and familiar twists, but things were fresh enough that there was room for doubt as to what was going to happen. I didn’t find any characters there or elsewhere that were annoying (I mean, outside of villains being villains), and the heroines avoided going being either extremely powerful and kind or naive and weak. Love interests will likely fall into the kind and doting vs tsundere. In Vampire Sonata, the one that fell into the latter category had a Ranmaru from Uta no Prince-sama feel, and considering his routes in All Star/All Star After Secret are so good, that’s a testament to the quality of the characterization here. Chapters were also of good length, and depending on your reading speed, you could be spending half an hour to an hour on a typical one.
The app recommends using headphones, but since this game does not feature voice acting, I didn’t find it necessary. Probably the only real time you may want to bust them out is during the occasional song. Otherwise, the background music was good, maybe even rather loud compared to most. The sound effects were the most impressive by far, with actual cheering and such.
I played this game on an Android tablet. Depending on how you close the game, there may be some loading, but otherwise, the game chapters as you need them. You can see the progress bar as this is happening. The game was stable, and I had no crashes. Signing up for an account saves your data, which you probably want to do just in case.
This will just be an editing section, and yes, another editor or two would have helped clean up the dialogue. A lot of the errors are just typos. For example: “Prince Claude dan Prince Lee” (instead of “and”), “Can we switch life?”, “her mom” when it should be “his mom”, tounge, evereyone.
But there are things that are either grammatically incorrect or just awkward. Samples:
“This really reminds me of any step siblings from every fairy tales.”
“A terrible old memories just flashed through my mind.”
Nothing that prevents the text from being hard to understand or game-breaking, but I think a native English speaker probably could have helped for a final polish.
Memories – My Story, My Choice is a game where you get a lot to sample, and that should give you enough to decide what you want to do. The chat novels are perfect for those who want a quick Asian drama-like experience, but as for the main tales, you will either need to do a hefty amount of waiting if you want to get the full romantic experience. For me, I enjoyed my time here, but I simply have too many other visual novels to play to spend time earning enough resources to get through a 20+ chapter tale.
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Definitely sounds pricey if you want the whole adventure but I’m impressed at how long each of the books are. 20+ chapters is certainly nothing to sneeze at. The dialogue options being so similar at times seems annoying though, like you may as well not have an option at that point. I’m midway through the new Pokemon Legends game and while I’m having a blast, that’s my one pet peeve. Every single dialogue option is like that. Like someone will say “Will you help us?” and your options are “Of Course” or “…..Okay I’ll do it” and that just doesn’t change much at all.
This seems good if you have the time though. I suppose if this game had been downloaded first in the genre then you’d be really tempted to stick with it the whole time.
Yeah, you make a good point about being first. People usually do have strong affinity to something that got them into a genre/hobby, but there are so many of these types of games it’s hard to decide which one to invest your money into.
But as far as length wise, even each chapter I was seriously impressed by how long it took me to finish one. It’s not just like a couple of clicks and you’re done; you’ll be reading for a while.
I’m playing Twisted Wonderland right now, and the dialogue choices not making a difference is also disappointing. But sounds like compared to Pokemon Legends (or Memories), Twisted Wonderland does have some snarky options that feel fun to pick.