Blink And It’s Over

HIGH Suspending enemies in mid-air before blasting them with a shotgun.

LOW The knight boss fight is torturously slow.

WTF I don’t know why anything is happening!

Less a game and more a proof-of-concept vertical slice, I’m surprised to see Bright Memory offered as anything other than a demo.

The experience begins with a female commando attacking a lab of some kind — no context is offered — before she tumbles into a wormhole that takes her to a floating island above the North Pole. There she fights mutant tigers and undead warrior-demons until the credits roll less than an hour later. Those credits are also quite short, as the game was developed by a single person — impressive, but not an excuse for what an empty experience Bright Memory winds up being.

A first-person ‘stylish’ combat game, Bright Memory lets players control Shelia — she’s an agent of some kind who kills people and monsters for reasons that go unexplained. There’s a guy in charge of some sinister commandos who Shelia seems to know, and she talks about reporting back to a Doctor, but beyond that, I’m at a complete loss. It’s clear that this is just a tiny preview of the full game that the developer intends to make, but that’s no excuse for the complete lack of context offered.

The action, thankfully, is smooth and easy to follow. In addition to three basic guns, Shelia has a magic sword and a few unlockable powers. The priority seems to be making the player feel as dangerous as possible, and it’s quite simple to go from shooting to slashing and back again, with a few time freezes and EMP stuns thrown in for good measure. The player’s performance is measured on a scale from D to SSS, with higher ranks achievable by doing damage to enemies without interruption.

Unfortunately the enemy AI doesn’t make much of an impression. Other than some commandos who wield rifles and can use the same quick-dash dodge motion that Shelia can, the rest of the enemies are beasts and zombies that simply charge straight at the player, forcing them to constantly backpedal while waiting for their special ability cooldowns to reset. It’s not particularly satisfying, especially when dealing with bosses who can do enormous amounts of damage if the player is unlucky enough to back into a corner while perpetually retreating.

Despite its brevity, there’s a decent amount of variety in the gameplay Bright Memory offers. There are two boss fights, a couple of arena battles, one puzzle, and a parkour sequence. With a boost jump and the ability to grapple on to specific points, it’s remarkably easy to move Shelia around the world as well. The skeleton of something interesting is clear to see, but these bones don’t have any meat on them.

Again, I can’t stress enough just how short Bright Memory is — I beat it in less than an hour, and fifteen minutes of that was dying over and over in the annoying boss fights. I’m confident that a more skilled player (or someone doing a a New Game+ run) could wrap the whole thing up in around 20 minutes.

Bright Memory looks fantastic and the action is strong, but there’s just not enough actual game here to recommend it. As interested I am in seeing a full-length version, I can’t say this taste is worth the price when all it has to offer is six rooms and a couple of hallways’ worth of content.

Rating: 4 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by FYQD-Studio and published by PLAYSIM. It is currently available on PC and XBX. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBX. Approximately 1 hour of play was devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed.

Parents: The ESRB has rated this game M for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, and Language. In fact, there’s little content other than the constant bloody violence, but it doesn’t feel particularly cruel or transgressive. Players only ever fight zombies, monsters, or guys in a full-body suits, so even younger teens should be able to play it without much trauma.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There are no significant audio cues. Being able to hear when a new enemy has spawned in is useful, but not necessary for success in the game. All dialogue is subtitled. Subtitles cannot be resized.

Remappable Controls: No, the game’s controls cannot be remapped.

Daniel Weissenberger
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AJ Small
2 years ago

Until a week ago Bright Memory was actually on my top ten list. A comment on the quality of titles for this year, or did I really like it? A bit of both really.

Agreed that I wish this had been an actual demo instead of a ten dollar purchase. I actually can’t wait for the full game and look forward to the full game making even less sense