“Desta: The Memories Between” Review: A Dreamy, Sentimental Strategy


How do you leave the place where you grew up? With a drunken departure and promises to return often, or a quiet departure, heavy with unspoken goodbyes? Desta: The Memories Between, a turn-based puzzle game from Ustwo, is a touching exploration of the latter.

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You play as the titled Desta, who returns to his hometown for the first time after the memorial service for his father. They did not leave the city in the best way, and as a result, their return is marred by anxiety about impending reunions and — at the heart of the problem — finding the right words to say to the people whom Desta left.

This is a situation that many of us probably find ourselves in, but “Memories in Between” solves it from a more surreal point of view. The main cycle of the game takes place every night when Desta travels through her recurring dreams, trying to mend relationships and resolve conflicts that weigh on them. These dreams take place in floating, tiled fragments of their childhood — a nearby street, the beer garden of a local pub, a sunny forest — and, although each level looks great, a lot of unpleasant conversations take place on them, as Desta is forced to face problems. who were left to fester in their absence, hoping to revive friendship and dispel the anxieties of Desta.

In addition to harsh words, the fight in “Memories Between” revolves around Desta and their allies throwing balls at the villains —a sentimental relic of the time when they discussed their problems with their father while playing ball. In these dreams, the playful armpit on which Desta has grown is replaced by a fiery hand, where the goal of the game is to destroy the opponent’s health bar by beating the ball away from him. Since this is a mobile game, you throw balls by pulling your thumb back and adjusting the angle you want to go to — in Desta’s dreamy state, they can hit targets by bouncing the ball away from their hiding place or ricocheting between the heads of two opponents to damage both. once upon a time, as a sports Terminator. It’s beautiful and simple, but if you master the mechanics of fishing in The Memories Between, then as you progress through the game it will only get better.

However, throwing the ball is only one half of the “Memories in Between”, and the other half is to make sure you have it at hand. A smart player can sometimes make a throw at an angle to get the ball back into his hands, but this is not always possible — this means that while you are trying to reduce the health bars, you are also fighting to keep a limited number of balls in each level. in your hand. In later levels, it’s not enough to just smash your enemies — you need to deprive them of access to the ball or risk them winning an easy victory. There is a deceptive depth to delve into, which is further concretized by a number of different abilities and equipment items.

As you progress, Desta will rebuild more of their relationship by convincing her former friends, enemies, and art teachers to join them in their quest to eradicate their anxieties. All of these group members have unique skill sets — for example, James can teleport to almost any place on the level, and San can spend an action point to prepare a furious counterattack for anyone who hits him on the next turn. Along with Desta, you can only bring two buddies into each dream, which means there’s plenty of room to explore which characters match well with each other’s abilities.

If you can’t stay on top of Desta’s dreamy ball game, it’s routine—and you’ll have to try again the next night. The Memories Between is a roguelike game, which means you’ll have to start over if you lose your band members. The roguelike format actually seems a bit awkward for The Memories Between — the more you invest in Desta’s healing journey, the less fun you can find in revisiting the same identical levels. There is also not enough variety to make it interesting to replay the same levels — enemies and maps remain the same, and as you progress you have to listen to the same dialogues.

This corresponds to the theme when Desta beats about the same dreams every night, but for the player, even a thoughtful battle is not enough to prevent things from becoming a little stale. The 2020 Supergiant hit Hades proved that it’s possible to weave a continuous narrative using the roguelike “live-mind-repeat” formula, and it would be nice to see the two of us exploring more ways to harmonize the history of The Memories Between and the nature of roguelike. .

However, the problem with repetition in The Memories Between is not enough to turn the game into a nightmare. In addition to the exciting battle cycle of each level, there is a lot of entertainment — each map is just great, and The Memori


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