Always Remember Me
Gameplay 6
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Always Remember Me has the distinction of being the first Otome Game on Steam, so how much you enjoy it will depend very much on whether you like the genre or not. The story is interesting, but the focus is more on training stats which can result in repetition, especially after multiple playthroughs. For an older game, Always Remember Me still holds up well and it is quite a relaxing experience, so if you are in the mood for something different it is worth seeking out.

Gameplay: The focus is more on juggling stats than interacting with the characters.

Graphics: The artwork still holds up well.

Sound: The soundtrack is decent, but the speech snippets can start to become repetitive

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Always Remember Me

Developer: Winter Wolves | Publisher: Winter Wolves |Release Date: 2011 | Genre: Indie / Casual / Simulation |Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

It is always hard when a relationship ends, but usually there is at least some closure. For the heroine of Always Remember Me, Amy, things are not that easy. She and her boyfriend Aaron were still very much in love when they were involved in a motorcycle accident and ended up in hospital. Aaron took the brunt of the impact to protect Amy and in the process lost his short term memory. This left Amy with the possibility that the love of her life might never remember her and to make matters worse, she can’t reveal their past together because it might be too much of a shock to his system.

Always Remember Me is an otome visual novel played from the perspective of Amy and is set in the aftermath of the motorcycle accident. With you in control she can either try to rekindle her relationship with Aaron in the hope that he will regain his memory or instead pursue one of the three other guys in her life. It might sound like an easy choice, but there are a couple of factors that complicate things even further. Firstly, Aaron’s father never approved of the relationship and blames Amy for the condition that his son is in. Then there is Aaron’s manipulative ex girlfriend Abigail that also appeared back on the scene and is milking the fact that Aaron still thinks they are a couple for all that it is worth. It is enough to make anyone thoroughly dejected which is where you come in.

Amy starts out very low on energy and morale, which means you have to revitalize and cheer her up again in order for her to get on with her life. The game begins in June and you have until September to either hook up with one of the guys or end up all alone. To achieve this you are presented with a town map highlighting all the locations that you can visit and a list of statistics such as the date, time of the day, money, culture, creativity, romance, discipline, moral and energy of Amy. Each action that you perform will influence these stats and determine which one of the nine endings you end up with.

Amy works at an ice cream parlor during the summer, so you begin each week day earning some cash, before deciding where to go next. Each location has a certain amount of activities you can perform to influence your stats, but you might not always be successful and some actions are only available certain times of the day or even days of the week. Each action takes up one turn and at the end of the day you are shown a breakdown of how your actions influenced each of your stats.

Apart from Aaron, you will also encounter three other guys who you can spend time with instead if you feel Amy should move on. There is Eddy, the young doctor at the hospital where Aaron is recovering, Hugh, a designer at the mall and Lawrence, your co-worker at the ice cream parlor. Spending time with these guys will raise your relationship meter with them and if it is filled up before the summer is over you will unlock an ending where Amy ends up with them. However, each of the guys also has a particular stat that they favor, such as culture for Lawrence and creativity for Hugh. Maximizing the correct stat along with your relationship with a guy will unlock a special ending. To achieve this you have to focus pretty much exclusively on spending time with one guy and using all your spare time boosting the stat that they favor. Don’t worry if you end up alone though, the next time you restart the game you will get a boost to your relationship and stats to make things a bit easier.

Despite the rather interesting story, most of your time in Always Remember Me is spent boosting stats and not really engaging in conversations with other characters as in a typical visual novel. The downside of this is that it can become rather repetitive as you will be doing mostly the same things every day depending on who you are trying to woo. So, if your sights are on the disciplined Eddy your days will be spent in the gym or jogging while if you are gunning for Aaron it’s all about poetry and writing a romance novel. There are a couple of instances where some event occurs that shake up your schedule or reveals something new about the story, but these are few and far between. The nine different endings provide plenty of replay value, but there are a few inconsistencies, such as references to events that I never encountered in the game.

Always Remember Me is an older title, but the artwork still holds up rather well. It features the same 2-D character art found in most visual novels and while well drawn the cast is rather small. I really liked the Chibi version of Amy that is shown with her stats to indicate her mood and the drawings of the different activities that she can engage in are also rather cute. The backgrounds are rather sparse though, and don’t expect to see any animations. The game is suitable for all ages, so don’t expect to see any fan service.

When it comes to audio the game fares quite well with a rather nice theme song (complete with vocals) and a couple of catchy tunes. You’ll also find a nice remix of the theme song tucked away in the “Extras” menu.  Once again, I would have liked to hear a bit more variety, but at least the songs never became annoying. There isn’t any speech, but Amy does have some catch phrases along with squeals and yelps that she utters depending on the success or failure of her actions. These are cute the first few times, but after playing the game a while they can become annoying. The game is powered by the Ren’py engine and you can control everything using a mouse, so there aren’t any issues with the controls.

I had fun playing Always Remember Me and played through it multiple times to check out the different endings, but there is no denying that it can become repetitive. It would have been nice if there were a few more random events thrown in to shake things up and if the stats had more consequences, so you don’t just focus on the same activities over and over. Despite its shortcomings, Steam isn’t exactly overflowing with Otome titles, so if you are interested in the genre it is worth seeking out Always Remember Me. It is a pity that the story and characters weren’t a bit more memorable, but it does provide a nice introduction to the genre and is certainly a very relaxing game to play.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c

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