The Dark Eye is a German tabletop role-playing game whose origins start way back in 1984. An interesting fact, according to Wikipedia, “It is the most successful role-playing game on the German market, outselling Dungeons & Dragons.” The Dark Eye: Memoria (a.k.a Memoria) is a 2013 German point-and-click adventure game that was developed and published by Daedalic Entertainment. The game is part of the video game series based on the aforementioned role-playing game and is a direct sequel to Chains Of Satinav. Daedalic Entertainment is the mastermind behind a slew of strong games including the great Edna & Harvey which I reviewed back in July. So my hopes understandably were very high going into Memoria on the Nintendo Switch. Welcome to our review of The Dark Eye: Memoria for the Nintendo Switch!
Was It Me Or Something More?
Even though Memoria is an almost eight-year-old game you can argue whether or not it made sense to port it to the major consoles, including the Nintendo Switch. If Memoria is truly that popular, in Germany, then perhaps there is an audience out there that never played it on PC. I consider myself an adventure game enthusiast so I knew what I was getting into when I took upon this review. I never played the sequel, The Dark Eye: Chains Of Satinav, so I couldn’t predict how Memoria would play. There were just a few things that rubbed me wrong that unfortunately tarnished my experience.
No Denying It’s A Point-N-Click Adventure
In Memoria, you’ll travel through different time periods while playing two different main characters. You’ll play Sadja, a southern princess who wants to be a war hero, and also Geron, a bird catcher who wants to lift a curse from his girlfriend. All the typical point-n-click adventure game additives are here. Lots of story dialogue, lush 2D backgrounds, dialogue choices, inventory, walking around looking for hotspots, picking up items, combine puzzles, etc. And that’s all okay to me it’s what I signed up for.
It was nice to hear voice-overs for all the dialogue which also showed up as subtitles, but they are subtitles you can’t control the progression of, e.g. no ‘select B to proceed’ type support. Sometimes so much dialogue goes by so fast that even with the voice overs I felt like I was losing my comprehension of the story. It got to the point where I was breezing through large parts of the dialogue. In a good number of cases, the dialogue is just character fodder where one is trying to be funny or is complaining.
My biggest hurdle was a lot of the “combine items” puzzles just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Looking at Steam reviews of the original PC game I seem to be in the minority but even early on I got quite frustrated and had to resort to online walk-throughs to continue more times than I’d like to admit. For example, in the opening sequences of Sadja’s journey, there’s a screen where you need to examine a hook and then take the incense bowl from the hook. Use your bandage with the (now) bloody hook. In your inventory put the bloody bandage into the incense bowl.
Navigating through all the on-screen hotspots was a bit frustrating too. Especially when you’re trying to figure out what to do next. You can’t scroll through all of them on the current screen just the ones that are currently around where you’re character is standing. So walk, stop, scroll. Try some things. Walk, stop, scroll, etc.
The game ran really well in both docked and handheld mode. It certainly was highly playable undocked as all text was easy to read even for my aging eyes. While I really wanted to love Memoria the fun factor just slipped away from me. Maybe being more a fan of The Dark Eye role-playing game would have helped? The speed at which some of the dialogue is presented was faster than I’d normally like to consume.
Compare To: King’s Quest series
This review was accomplished using a Switch code provided by PR.