Path to Mnemosyne – The Switch Island Review
Path to Mnemosyne (that’s Neh-mo-see-nee, the goddess of memory to those who haven’t brushed up on their Greek mythology) is a game with a very simple premise. Finding yourself in the role of a young girl, you must navigate a seemingly never-ending array of paths and corridors, solving multiple puzzles as you set out to restore your memories.
Other than the scrapbook art style, what really stands out is the game’s ‘infinite zoom’ effect. As you travel along a straight path, you’ll notice that the world is comprised of a single, continuous vanishing point. Whilst I could imagine that being a little nauseating for some, it succeeds in creating a genuine feeling of suspense as some of the game’s creepier artwork awaits you in the distance.
The game also builds on this effect through its soundtrack. Although limited to ambient noises for the most part, it does make use of the Shepard tone – an auditory illusion in which the pitch sounds as if it is constantly ascending, yet never seems to get any higher.
There is also some voice-acting and this comes in the form of both a narrator and a representation of your lost memories. These are not the best performances but don’t do enough to take away from the overall experience.
The team at DevilishGames appear to be fans of all things cryptic, and at no point did the game hold my hand during the 2-3 hours I spent with it. Although they do vary, a good portion of the puzzles in Path to Mnemosyne require you to step on buttons in a set order. Lighting each button up as you go, you are also required to avoid those previously lit by jumping over them. Failure to do that will reset the sequence and you will have to try again.
Your memories are represented by bright blue orbs that can be collected and used to unlock a series of point-and-click puzzles located at various points. Not only are these critical to your progress, the use of colour to symbolise memories contrasts nicely with the game’s otherwise grayscale visuals.
It may lack colour overall, but don’t be fooled in thinking that this game is a visual slouch. Even with an indie scene rife with original, interesting art design, I can’t stress how different Path to Mnemosyne looks compared to anything else I’ve played. The hand-drawn, scrapbook aesthetic really is a sight to behold, right down to the title screen which is as haunting as it is beautiful and will probably send small children running out of the room in terror.
In summary, Path to Mnemosyne is a solid entry in the puzzle-platformer genre. The art design and visuals truly are stunning and look at home on the Switch’s screen. The soundtrack is minimalist but perfectly suited to a game so abstract. Although there were instances where I had to solve some puzzles through simple trial and error, they are still well designed, challenging and have just enough variation to last you the length of the game.
Path to Mnemosyne could easily be lost amongst the plethora of “must-have” titles on the eshop, but if you’re looking for a one-off experience of great artistic merit with challenging puzzles to boot, then you won’t regret adding this to your collection.
Game: Path To Mnemosyne
Switch Release date: 16/04/2019