The developer, Paplus Games out of Warsaw, Poland, has created in Ghosts of Memories a mobile game that has beautiful art and a pretty soundtrack. You play as a female figure with a scepter, and you move through the puzzles by touching where you want the figure to go and manipulating various features of the environment to solve puzzles. When you are standing in certain areas you can switch between two intertwined worlds. Objects you move, open, or reach in one puzzle world can change things in the other puzzle world. So you’re constantly switching between two worlds to complete the levels.
As in Monument Valley, the puzzles sometimes feel like Escher paintings. “Each riddle was designed separately and game worlds are diversified as well,” said developer Aleksander Lusina. “Environmental designs refer to nature, astral cult and Persian civilization, to name a few. We did everything we could to make the art both stunningly beautiful and practical at the same time, so that the players can enjoy these exotic worlds while still being able to easily navigate through the vast assortment of game mechanics.”
Monument Valley was criticized by some for being rather short, with only four levels to begin with. Ghosts of Memories, with 15 levels, is shorter than most mobile games but certainly provides more hours of gameplay than Monument Valley.
However, I have to take issue with the developer’s assertion that the game is innovative. When Monument Valley was released, there had been nothing like it. If there had ever been a question about whether video games could be art, Monument Valley put it to rest.
Ghosts of Memories feels to me like it owes a lot to Monument Valley, and I don’t think it innovates much beyond Monument Valley in terms of gameplay or story. That said, Ghosts of Memories does have satisfying puzzles, beautiful art, nice music, good sound effects, and a bit of interesting narration. The story is minimal and enigmatic (though more explicit than Monument Valley’s in some ways). It involves freeing a mysterious female from a crystal prison.
I ended up enjoying Ghosts of Memories quite a lot. It made me wonder if Monument Valley essentially has started a new genre—let’s call it the “atmospheric puzzle game.” Ghosts of Memories is a lot like Monument Valley, but in the end that’s not a bad thing at all.