Review: EMMA Lost in Memories

EMMA Lost in Memories is a touching heartfelt puzzle platformer. Developed and published by SandBloom Studios.

Story

Told in a very minimal style. The story of EMMA Lost in Memories, is that of a little girl who sees and owl and follows it into a fantastical world. Based around memory, especially fading memory. With very little in terms of dialogue, A lot of EMMA is told via the visuals. This allows the game to take on a very dreamlike state.

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Gameplay

As a 2D platformer, EMMA involves a lot of running and jumping. The difference here though is that you cannot control the running. Each level starts with Emma, you then press the button and she starts to run. From this you need to get Emma to an ending point. The end point is commonly found on the other side of the screen either at the top or bottom. In order to get to this point Emma has a few skills. Namely jumping, double jumping, wall jumping, climbing and sliding. Each ability has its certain use. Such as sliding both speeding you up and allowing you under spikes and other such traps. Or wall jumping allowing you to go higher in the level and changing direction.

The other mechanic in EMMA, that adds a degree of difficulty to the levels. Is that each piece of the level will begin to disappear when Emma touches it. Now this acts as a somewhat timer for the levels. But it also allows for new ways to solve the puzzles. As sometimes you will need to remove an obstacle or avoid removing one to get to the end.

Additionally the game also has feathers located in the levels. These are collected by touching them and finishing the level in the same run. collecting them usually requires some abstract thinking. As routinely you’ll find that collecting them will make the level impossible unless you do it the right way.

Graphics

A minimal art style, EMMA is completely hand drawn. This adds to the dreamlike quality of the game. And somewhat makes up for the relative lack of variety in level design. Most levels are a static background with some platforms dotted around. It’s not the best looking game out there. Not even the best looking game of the 2D platformer style. However the feel of the gameplay, especially when paired with the emotionality of the story do fit with the hand drawn art.

Sound

Both the music and the sound effects in EMMA are very pleasant. As the levels are quite short yet very frustrating as well. It makes things a lot nicer to have the fun and chipper background music. As you play the music will likely melt so far into the background that you’re not consciously aware of it. Which is the sign of an effective game and soundtrack. I wouldn’t call it forgettable. But the developers rightly noted that the gameplay should be the focus. And so that’s what you get. The same with the sound effects. You have noises for the actions. But again they aren’t loud or obnoxious so they don’t pull focus.

Conclusion

In short, EMMA Lost in Memories, is a mixture of fun, relaxing and frustrating. The levels are short. And require a mixture of puzzle solving and reflexes to complete. Due to these two facts, the gameplay in EMMA is very, just one more try. Which is the highest praise for a game of this style. Having both the options for short bursts of game play or longer sessions. EMMA feels like it fits well on PC and mobile. You can pick the game up for PC and on Google Play and the Appstore. Although for this review we specifically played the PC version.

Deceptively simple. With the relative lack of buttons used. And the minimal art and music. EMMA is far more in depth an experience then you might first assume. Quite an enjoyable experience.

Rating: 7/10 – Short levels but a lot of them, and you’ll probably replay them a lot to collect all the feathers.

Title: EMMA Lost in Memories
Genre: 2D Platformer, Puzzle
Developer: SandBloom Studio
Publisher: SandBloom Studio
Release Date: 16 Aug, 2019

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