PAX East 2024: Memory’s Reach Sci-Fi Puzzle Solving Brings Free Roam Approach To The Genre

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In many genres, puzzle solving continues to bring new opportunities for games to overcome hurdles. And while this has evolved many franchises and the tied genres, puzzle-focused experiences remain in a standstill. Although new titles are presented offering unique experiences, there is a demand for a greater evolution for the genre. That is where Memorys Reach comes in.

From developer 100 Stones Interactive, the game is a follow-up to 2016s The Eyes of Ara. At PAX East this month, Rectify Gaming spoke with the developer and creative director Ben Droste to understand where the game differentiates itself from its former. One of the largest aspects of the game is the scale. Compared to the teams first release, 100 Stones Interactive is going big in a literal way.

Droste explained that The Eyes of Ara was a schematic for the team with the studio still being very green to working in game development. But what bridges both games is the storytelling. Despite the shell of the games setting, The Eyes of Ara is a sci-fi story. And when it came time to work on a follow-up, Droste expressed [we] wanted to expand on that. Memorys Reach from its presentation certainly embraces the subject matter.

From the Steam page, the description reads: Explore labyrinthian megastructures, solve mind-bending puzzles, and wield fantastic alien technology in a puzzling metroidvania adventure. Towering monuments and fractured relics are all that remain of a world devastated aeons ago in a great cataclysm. Explore the deserted remnants of an alien world in a quest to discover the source of the calamity and uncover the legacy of a doomed civilization.

One excerpt from the synopsis is eye-catching: metroidvania. Pressing Droste on the topic and some evident design elements in Memorys Reach, he confirms that Metroid is a big influence on the project – specifically Metroid Prime. He says that the series was a big inspiration and wanted to tackle a large-scale project with the teams own coat of paint. Moreso elaborates to leave a footprint on the first-person, 3D space.

Moreover, Droste goes on to elaborate that being a big fan of sci-fi and the puzzle game genre did sway in the birth of Memorys Reach. On the plus side of the decision, he shared that world building also benefited from the choice thanks to the minimalist appearance. This led to a faster output for the overall development. Moving forward, there were three key goals in mind when creating Memorys Reach:

One: more interesting puzzles. The first game’s biggest weakness was the weak puzzles. So going into Memorys Reach the plan was for more-involved puzzles – less, but will be more interesting and fun, Droste tells me during the event. Two: feature free roaming allowing players to explore the puzzle and incorporate the environment in solving it. Three: more focused release for console. The first shipped on PC at the beginning and later to console. Memorys Reach was made with controller input in mind.

From my demo of the game at PAX East, Memorys Reach does feel to be landing its hits. Although a brief playthrough, the world on display does encourage exploration with a greater storytelling underneath the skin. Alongside progression with more demanding puzzles, there is a bevy of items to scan and learn about this new world which did increase engagement to keep looking. The puzzles itself starting off are straightforward and the climax set piece did not overwhelm me nor other attendees in reaching the end either.

If youre interesting in Memorys Reach, there is a demo of the game available on its Steam page. And it is encouraged you go ahead and wishlist the game by heading here.

Memorys Reach is currently listed for PC.

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