Quell: Memento Review (Vita)
Quell: Memento may not be the most enjoyable time ever had digging through an old man’s brain, but it certainly has been the cleanest. The interface to Quell: Memento is very simple, clean, and completely without glitches. For a puzzle game which primarily relies on the touch screen for its interface, having everything nice and smooth is a great way to win over players. Quell: Memento offers a few ways to operate its puzzles; via either of the Vita’s touchscreens or the regular analog and d-pad. All interfaces perform superbly.
Puzzles in Quell: Memento involve sliding droplets through mazes while avoiding dangers, collecting pearls, turning on lights, and other odd things meant to reflect the inner workings of the human mind. Levels are grouped into stages, which in turn are grouped into themes. This ties nicely to the narrative found within the game, which begins with melancholic reflection and features a man in his later years attempting to forget the painful parts of his earlier lifetime. As the player completes levels, the old man briefly talks about the past and his need to separate himself from it. The backdrop of the game is a dilapidated attic filled with old furniture and mementos, a clear indication that solving these puzzles is unlocking the old man’s memories. The narration is welcome, and helps with the game’s feel. However, the narrative is very limited and often features only a line or two of dialogue in between themes, with some small resolution at the end. The music is very well done, and definitely adds to the overall feel of the game.
Quell: Memento is just the right amount of clever for the puzzle genre. There’s nothing here trial and error won’t overcome, and since score is based on the number of moves made and not a timer, players are free to take their time. The word “score” is used, but in reality players either accomplish the stage in the minimum amount of moves each stage takes to complete, or they don’t. There are unlockables along with bonus stages, and any scoring is based on how many objects have been collected or stages completed. Scoring is also uploaded onto PSN leaderboards.
Overall, Quell: Memento is nice and a good way to kill a couple afternoons or trips around town. There is replay value here, as each stage has a hidden gem and a score to beat. Trophy hunters may even be kept busy for another day or two. The only downside is that this game brings nothing new to the puzzle genre. That’s not to say that all games must be groundbreaking in order to be good — they don’t — but there comes a nagging feeling like you’ve played this before. Despite this, Quell: Memento is an above average representation of puzzle games, and should not be turned down if the opportunity to play it comes around.