Rio Alto: forgotten memories

The text is "played" character by character rather than delivered all at once, which would normally mean no review from me. But the presentation and user interface was really charming, and the text playing was fast enough that I was never in a position of having to wait for each successive word. Also, it wasn't so rude as to take the text away when it guessed I should be done, so there's that. I decided to give it a chance.

All right. So we're an artist taking a bit of a rest cure in a remote village. It's all translated from Spanish, apparently, so the writing tends to be just a bit off in parts: enough to feel unique and interesting, but not so much that it feels silly or difficult. The user interface involves dragging cards representing thoughts, people, objects, or places onto each other. So far, so good. We get to the plot fairly quickly: our landlady's husband disappeared many years ago after the death of their son, but none of this is at all straightforward and I think we're being slowly poisoned. It's an interesting story. I didn't finish it, but I wonder if it's going to turn out that we're actually the missing husband, back with amnesia.

The problem started when I found myself in a place with, seemingly, no way out. Maybe there actually was, and I didn't think of it; or maybe it really was a death ending. The trick here is to quit to the main menu and then "continue remembering" -- ie, continue from where you left off, which the game interprets as being either just before the fatal action, or the moment you first enter the room -- but it took me a while to figure that out. The first time I hit this, I restarted from the very beginning, and the various animation effects felt quite a bit more annoying this second time around.

There appear to be different ways of treading one's way through the story. It's possible to unwittingly lock yourself out of parts of the plot: for instance, once you get the priest into the confessional, you can't get him out again and can't ask him about the one lit candle in the church. I'm not sure, but I suspect you can actually choose sides here, which would be very cool if true.

On the other hand, it appears we begin by getting poisoned at breakfast, which is just not on.

I imagine this as fried bread and mushrooms for breakfast, with rooibos on the side. Charming and a bit culturally specific, and delicious in properly sized helpings; but it's probably best you don't go back for seconds.