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Read Only Memories Neurodiver review: A reminder of the privilege of memories

Read Only Memories Neurodiver review: A reminder of the privilege of memories

Explore the importance of memories in this Cyberpunk-esque visual novel

Having lost a grandfather to Alzheimer's, I can only imagine having had the power to dive into his mind and return all his precious memories back to him. However, with that not being possible, my family and I were forced to watch them slip from his grasp and it was then that I fully realised the privilege of memories at all.

That is the basis for Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, a story-rich visual novel which tells the story of ES88 or Luna, an Esper who has the ability to create psychic links between herself and any intelligent life form with the help of an aquatic-like animal known as the Neurodiver.

With the ability to enter people’s memories, Luna can step in when the haziness we all experience when looking into the past occurs and after selecting relevant items, can restore a memory to the host’s mind. This can be as simple as finding a poster for a favourite anime which reminds us of our computer password or even blocking painful memories of those we have lost so they can’t hurt us anymore.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver /

Luna is joined by bodyguard Gate who, as well as looking strikingly similar to Overwatch’s Moira, also happens to be her love interest and the two spend the entirety of Neurodiver flirting. In fact, Luna gets flustered every time she comes into contact with a woman so it is safe to say that she is quite gay and I don’t blame her after hearing Gate’s sultry tone.

What drew me to Neurodiver was its nods to the Cyberpunk genre. As a self-confessed Cyberpunk enthusiast, I am always eager to explore more games that delve into the genre and this title managed to encapsulate it perfectly.

Not to mention that its developers, MidBoss, incorporated a unique soundtrack inspired by the “OPNA/YM2608 sounds of the PC-8801 and PC-9801 series of computers”. I may not be technology-minded enough to know exactly what this means but I do know that the 80s and 90s synth-wave vibes made the perfect accompaniment to the game’s futuristic setting.

As for gameplay, Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is your typical point-and-click visual novel. Players will need to scroll and most importantly click to find the clues in each room. However, thanks to its pixel-art style, some clues can be very difficult to spot. So difficult that it took me around 20 minutes to find an item that I needed in order to progress the story.

Additionally, although the game features a “hint” button, it mainly works to remind you of the current quest objective, rather than actually lead you to a hint. As a result, some moments when you have to use certain items to fix a memory fragment become complete guess work and can really get frustrating.

As with any visual novel video game, its success relies heavily on its story but with Read Only Memories: Neurodiver coming in at just around four hours, there wasn’t enough time to get heavily invested in the events. As a result, the big reveal took a while to get to but once it had, it was over in mere minutes.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver /

However, if the game had been a bit longer and the cat and mouse-esque chase between Luna and rogue Esper Golden Butterfly had higher stakes, I would have been more invested. As it stands, it was over too soon but luckily, the characters still managed to make an impact.

Featuring characters from Read Only Memories: Neurodiver’s predecessor 2064: Read Only Memories as well as some brand-new faces, the fully-voiced cast brings life to this Cyberpunk-style title.

From Luna’s excitable personality and Gate’s sultry tone to leader Fortuna’s authoritative demeanour and Trace’s lively Spanish accent with the occasional slip of the language, the main four characters carry the show. It is exciting to see the game headed by interesting female characters, especially considering it being set in a science-based facility in Neo San Francisco.

Other notable mentions include TOMCAT, a nonbinary hacker who enlists Luna’s help to find out what happened to their little sister, Lexi, ex police detective turned private investigator and Jess, a gene-spliced hybrid lawyer who fights for justice.

Although we only meet these characters for a brief amount of time, they still manage to become memorable and help Luna discover what is most important for her in her line of work and if she is willing to trade her morals for gain.

After all, as well as being able to enter memories, Luna also has the ability to erase them but through a series of dialogue and story decisions, the player is able to decide whether this is something Luna wants to do. After all, memories are an important part of being human and something that we are all entitled to.

As mentioned, Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is a sequel to 2064: Read Only Memories and features some returning characters. However, if you are yet to play its predecessor, you will still be able to pick up this title as a standalone.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver /

Overall, my time with Read Only Memories: Neurodiver will remain a memorable one. Although I had some issues with the puzzles and the story not being extensive enough, the game’s characters, setting, premise and soundtrack were enough to make up for it. After all, who wouldn’t want the chance to go back and review our memories?

Pros: Beautiful pixel-art visuals, perfect accompanying soundtrack, memorable characters

Cons: Confusing puzzles, story too short

For fans of: 2064: Read Only Memories, Cyberpunk 2077, Citizen Sleeper

7/10: Good

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is available on Steam (version reviewed). Code for review was supplied by the publisher. Find a complete guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here.

Featured Image Credit: MidBoss

Topics: Reviews, PlayStation, Xbox, PC