Game Review: Quell Memento (PS Vita)

Quell Memento PS Vita

Quell Memento is a puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita. The game is a sequel to Quell, which was released for iOS and Android devices in the summer of 2010 to outstanding acclaim. This is purely a puzzle game and will certainly test your intelligence in figuring out how to reach the end of some of the levels and to a higher degree in regards to reaching the end of a level within the set amount of perfect moves.

There are nine chapters consisting of four stages with each stage consisting of four levels, which total to 144 levels. You unlock each level as you complete the previous level as is the case with every stage and chapter too. There are also bonus levels that are accessible from revealing a bronze ring by hitting a particular block three times within certain levels. Each of the nine chapters looks rather different and introduces new gameplay elements within each of their four stages. If you ever become stuck on any given level, then you can unlock the solution for two coins and you can be shown the location of jewels for one coin or alternatively if that method does not work for you, then you can buy your way onto the next level for two coins. Coins are earned from completing levels within the set limit of perfect moves. The backgrounds vary in focus on a particular area of a picture from level to level within each stage, such as a tree in the first chapter or a forest in the second chapter as rain drops gently fall, which provides a nice peaceful quality to the game.

The story seems to be told from the perspective of a lonely elderly man who is recalling better times from his youth and various earlier points in his life. This is especially evident due to some of the comments made during the narration that you will hear between levels, such as the narration from Cut Down, “Once upon a time, I cut my thumb on a rose. Life is full with little pains, that I am happy to forget.”

When you have completed an entire chapter with the perfect set number of moves; you can actually watch your perfect run in a replay mode via selecting the golden flag icon that appears to the right of the four stages on the stage selection screen for any given chapter that you have completed within the perfect set number of moves. It is an unusual feature that you may not always find in a puzzle game and it is that attention to detail that testifies to the quality of the game.

The accomplishments menu is quite helpful as it includes details regarding: the current amount of pearls you have collected and the maximum amount of pearls available; the current amount of jewels you have collected and the maximum amount of jewels available; the amount of coins you have been awarded; the amount of completed levels; the amount of completed levels within the set number of perfect moves; trophy progression; and a full breakdown of where the jewels have been found.

There is also an extras menu in which you can view the credits; replay the cut scenes from the narrative of the game that you have so far unlocked via your current level of progression through the game; and visit the developers’ (Fallen Tree Games’) Facebook page, Twitter profile and official website to keep up to date with all of their upcoming projects and their previous games.

The controls are so well mapped that they are as good as self explanatory, although a screen displaying the control configuration is lacking. The face button controls consist of: pressing triangle to reset the level back to its original state and start from the beginning of that particular level; square to view the current objectives and ask for a solution to the puzzle within the level; O to pause the game and view the options menu and O again to quit the level and go back to the level select menu; changing the direction of the left analogue stick will move the droplet left, right, up or down; and pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad will also move the droplet. The touch screen controls are used as an alternative method for some of the controls that are assigned to the face buttons and d-pad, such as swiping your finger left, right, up or down will move the droplet in any of those directions; tapping the pause icon situated on the top left of the screen to pause the game and view the options menu; tapping the question mark icon situated to the immediate right of the pause icon to view the current objectives and ask for a solution to the puzzle within the level; and tapping the re-do icon situated on the top right of the screen to reset the level back to restart from the beginning of that particular level, although you can also use a swipe of a finger to dust off old paintings in certain levels. There is an option that can be enabled at anytime from the options menu for the rear touch pad to also be able to control the droplet by swiping your finger to the left, right, up or down along the rear touch pad without disabling the use of the d-pad, left analogue stick or touch screen.

The graphics are simple yet effective and pretty good for what they are meant to be. The graphics are vibrant and colourful with the gameplay mechanic of lightbulbs changing colour from the second chapter onwards resulting in lots of additional colour and the variety of charming and peaceful backgrounds.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus such as the main menu, extras menu, accomplishments menu and options menu, which also incorporates support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad, face buttons and rear touch pad. The background of the menu screens looks very colourful and vibrant as they contain what could only be described as a dilapidated house with a broken window, daylight shining in through the roof and lots of foliage growing around the house.

The audio is amazing as there is a voice-over that provides narration between levels throughout the game from the perspective of an elderly person. The first narration is the speech at the introduction of the game, which takes place even before the main menu screen as you hear an old male voice saying, “Fragments… That’s what my memories feel like now” and even before the first level he is commenting on how he has collected so much clutter across the house and pondering why he keeps it all. Combine that with hauntingly atmospheric music from a stunning soundtrack by Steven Cravis and various sound effects for the droplet that you control and you can tell that a lot of effort and care has been taken to set the perfect mood for the game via its sound.

The trophy list includes fourteen trophies with eleven bronze trophies, two silver trophies and one gold trophy. The trophies are mostly quite easy and are earned naturally through playing the game, although you may have to play through some of the levels more than once to reach the requirements of certain trophies, such as trophies that require you to complete a chapter within the set number of perfect moves. There are a few easier trophies as you will earn the Stagehand bronze trophy for completing a stage within the perfect number of moves; the Eskimo bronze trophy for breaking ten ice blocks that contain objects; the Lightspeed bronze trophy for completing a level within five seconds; the Thorough bronze trophy for completing a chapter within the perfect number of moves; and the Vanity bronze trophy for watching a full chapter replay. There are harder trophies that you will achieve given time and exploration, such as earning the Father Time bronze trophy for collecting twenty-four time pieces; the Royal silver trophy for collecting every jewel; the Clear Thinking silver trophy for completing every chapter; and the Momentous gold trophy for completing every chapter in perfect moves. I would estimate depending upon skill and a good trophy guide covering the locations of the collectables that it would take between three to five hours to 100% the trophy list.

There are no difficulty levels, but the difficulty of the stages are naturally increased with the addition of a variety of new gameplay elements, such as navigating around gates that can only be passed through once; having to switch control between multiple droplets within the same stage; avoiding spikes; changing the colours of lightbulbs to blue; circular golden collectables that will turn the droplet gold and in doing so turn all of the lightbulbs that the droplet passes by into a gold colour, rather than a blue colour; strategically timing when to switch batteries on and when to switch them off in accordance with the colour of the droplet; and more besides that increases the difficulty beyond that of which you have become accustomed to.

There is no proper online multiplayer component, although there are online leaderboards accessible from the accomplishments menu that allows you to compare the amount of pearls and jewels you have collected and the amount of levels you have completed with a perfect number of moves with players globally. The online leaderboards focuses on global rankings with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and the amount of pearls, jewels or perfect levels dependant upon which online leaderboard you have chosen.

The replayability of Quell Memento is very obvious even within your first ten minutes of gameplay as it keeps on drawing you in for another level. The charm of the game is so great that you will even be drawn in to continue on playing when a level seems to be impossible; you will always find yourself playing on and strategising how to reach the end within the perfect set number of moves. There is a huge amount of levels at 144 in total with collectables, such as pearls and jewels; plus bonus levels containing more collectables in the form of time pieces; and a set number of perfect moves for every level, alongside online leaderboards which will collectively have you coming back for an even longer period of time.

Overall, Quell Memento certainly has the charm and content to keep you playing for a significantly long time. If you are a fan of puzzle games, then Quell Memento is an absolute must buy and is exceptionally easy to recommend with such incredibly good value for just £2.99!

Jason Bonnar

At A Glance

  • Title: Quell Memento
  • Publisher: Fallen Tree Games
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes (Online Leaderboards)
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 188Mb
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