True remembrance is a Japanese visual novel originally released in 2006. In the future, humanity is struck by a pandemic of sorts: The Dolor. It causes its victims Psyche Corrosion, a term that could be used to describe what we know as depression, which usually leads to the infected killing themselves. The “doctors” who can treat patients affected by The Dolor are scarcely found individuals are known as Mnemonicides or memory-killers. As the name probably tells, treatment involves removing the painful memories causing the Psyche Corrosion. All treatment happens in a sleepy, unnamed town known only to the players as The City.
The story begins when Blackiris, a talented young Mnemonicide, gets assigned a new patient, who in general are referred to as Guests in The City. The patient, a beautiful young girl named La, and him move into a small house at the far end of the town. As time passes La begins opening to Blackiris, and the two start to grow close. The player can soon realize, that La is not the only character in town with a mysterious past and sometimes it might actually not be better to forget.
True remembrance is quite a melancholic game, which by the premise should not come as a surprise. Clocking in at about six hours, it’s a relatively short visual novel. It’s also a kinetic novel, meaning that the player doesn’t make any choices during the game: you’re simply in it for the story. If that doesn’t sound like something you would like to pay for, worry not: the game is free and can be downloaded online.
The story is truly the best part of the game. It lures the player in with its strange premise and captivates you to stay and see the mystery unfold. The backgrounds, which are real-life images for the most part work surprisingly well at creating a fascinating atmosphere of a town in which time has stopped and to which memories come to die. Music plays a crucial role in this too, but it sometimes got quite repetitive when looping for the fifth time during one scene. The character designs and drawings were a bit bland but passable.
Surprisingly, for such a short visual novel it sometimes felt quite stretched. As I said before, the story was great, but it could have been more concise in my opinion. The world–building in the game is believable enough, but I would’ve loved to learn a bit more about what life was like outside The City. Still, I’d consider True Remembrance as an excellent way to spend an evening, when you just feel like getting buried under a ton of blankets and eating a tub of ice cream. The game is free, but you might need to buy some tissues.
Developer: Shiba Satomi
Publisher: insani (English version)
Designer: Shiba Satomi
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS
Release: Windows JP: June 15, 2006, WW: February 14, 2008, Nintendo 3DS JP: February 22, 2012
Genre: Kinetic novel
PEGI: The game does not have an official rating, but it deals with mature themes such as depression and death.
The images are taken from the game’s official website or the game’s image gallery.