Amnesia: Memories & Amnesia: Later x Crowd – Review
Follow Genre: Visual Novel
Developer: Otomate
Publisher: Idea Factory
Platform: Switch, PC, Android, iOS, PSVita
Tested on: Switch

Amnesia: Memories & Amnesia: Later x Crowd – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun minigames in Crowd
Bad: Switch version is ridiculously overpriced
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Rating: 5.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Although we consider ourselves to be quite familiar with visual novels, the so-called otome subgenre is a different beast altogether compared to previous titles that we’ve looked at. In Japanese, the word otome literally means ‘maiden’ and likewise otome visual novels are typically geared towards a female audience, with a heavy focus on romance. Amnesia: Memories is considered an absolute classic when it comes to otome visual novels, and a decade after it originally made its debut, fans can now enjoy this VN on the go. That’s right, Amnesia: Memories has made the jump to the Switch, alongside Amnesia: Later X Crowd, a pair of fan disks previously exclusive to Japan. While publisher Idea Factory put these titles on the eShop separately, they are intrinsically tied together, so we’re taking a look at both releases together. How does Memories hold up? And is Later X Crowd in particular worth that hefty price tag? Read on to find out.


The title already gives the biggest plot point away: our unnamed protagonist, a young woman is suffering from amnesia. This is the doing of the spirit Orion, who has accidentally knocked the memories out of the protagonist’s head. Unfortunately, Orion doesn’t really know which reality holds the right memories, so there’s no option but to visit different realities and piece together everything in hopes of restoring our heroine’s memory. Memories hits the ground running and presents players with their first choice pretty much immediately upon starting a readthrough, asking players to choose one of four realities. These are named after suits of cards, and each one offers a very different turn of events. Unlike most visual novels, there isn’t a single main storyline with branching choices here but instead four separate stories. There is some overlap, of course, and a lot of material is reused throughout the different storylines but implemented in different ways. Reaching the ‘good’ ending in all four ten-hour-plus routes opens up the true ‘Joker’ route as well, so you’re definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck here, and because each of the romance options has a distinct storyline, Memories manages to keep things fresh and avoids feeling repetitive, despite that overlap. Without delving into spoiler territory, we did like several of the plotlines here, even if we aren’t necessarily the target audience.

While Memories was written as a standalone title, the unexpected success of the visual novel prompted developer Otomate to release a pair of fan disks that continue the story. As such, there is very little reason to pick up Later X Crowd if you haven’t read through Memories first, but given that this is the first time the fan disks have officially been localized, existing fans of the original VN will probably consider Later X Crowd the main course of this dual release. The Later fan disk allows players to further explore the romances set up in Memories, up to marriage with their love interest of choice. The Crowd half takes things in a different direction: this fan disk offers more story content, but instead of pushing the romance angle further, you’re presented with a survival horror scenario of sorts in the SUSPENSE storyline, and a variety of mini-games in the TRUMP and WORKING storylines.


Both Memories and Later X Crowd draw from a shared same pool of images, although each release also has plenty of unique artwork as well, of course. As you probably already suspected, the unique content of Later X Crowd tends to lean more towards fan service, though what’s present here is still very tame and doesn’t go beyond characters kissing or depicting one of the love interests with an open shirt. Additionally, Later X Crowd introduces Chibi-style artwork of the characters as well. Amnesia’s characters are defined by a specific art style, with each individual character design clearly matching up with the stereotypical personality they are meant to portray. This makes them easily identifiable at a glance, but the color-coded and big-eyed pretty boys felt a bit too in-your-face in terms of character design, regardless of whether these were the “normal” or Chibi designs. Your mileage may vary about the art direction, and as we mentioned earlier, otome games are typically geared towards the female crowd, so we’re definitely not the target audience. The fact that this is a decade-old visual novel meant that there were no graphical performance issues here as the VN isn’t taxing on modern hardware in the slightest.


Given that a visual novel tends to be around, well, reading, we often get the feeling that the soundscape is an afterthought, so we were very pleasantly surprised when we found that Amnesia went all out. The atmospheric, ambient music is fantastic and the game’s Japanese voice acting really helps with immersing oneself in this world and with these characters. Of note here is that there is no English voice cast. If you watched the dubbed version of the Amnesia anime, you might have expected the voice actors to reprise their roles for the game, but given the sheer cost and scheduling challenge of recording new audio, it makes sense that publisher Idea Factory didn’t bother with this.


Whenever we review a visual novel, it’s always a bit odd to discuss gameplay, these technically aren’t games in the truest sense of the word. In the case of Amnesia, there are a handful of mini-games implemented, however, both in Memories and in Later X Crowd, although these aren’t the main draw here. We’ll get to those minigames a bit further down, as there is another budding issue that we feel we should mention first. While we aren’t familiar with the original English translation of Memories, which was released seven years ago, we did feel like the overall quality of the writing was lacking. The translation is rather rough, with odd phrasing and poor word choices. To make matters worse, there were a handful of instances where the text was cut off by the on-screen box, and we had to go into the text log just to find the missing ends of sentences. This does come across as sloppy, given that there was ample time to go over the text of this re-release and fix up any errors remaining from that original release.

Each route has a “good” ending and your goal is to make the right choices to reach the desired outcome, although we did feel like the “good” ending of the DIAMOND route was questionable, to say the least. There are two important things to keep in mind here though: Memories was written for a Japanese audience first and foremost and a decade has passed since its initial release. Many plot elements haven’t stood the test of time and things that would then have been deemed acceptable or even romantic are now considered iffy and could definitely make people feel uncomfortable. Some of the design philosophies that are now commonplace with visual novels are also absent, such as choices you haven’t selected being automatically highlighted or an in-novel choice flowchart, but thankfully Amnesia has a very dedicated fanbase, and guides that aid you in making the right choices towards the “good” endings are plentiful online.

Memories’ minigames aren’t integrated into the story but feel like a tacked-on extra. Playing these will unlock more exclusive CGs, which is a good incentive if you’re eager to ogle more artwork. The games found here include a rock-paper-scissors variant and an air hockey minigame, so there isn’t a whole lot of depth here. Fortunately, Later X Crowd is better at scratching that minigame itch, as it offers a wider variety including card games like blackjack and poker and even a quiz about Amnesia’s story content. All of these reward you with Orion points, which can then be used to unlock even more content. All in all, Later X Crowd offers a surprisingly comprehensive package for those that were enamored by Memories, but ultimately, this is still a niche release for a niche audience.

Which brings us to that other elephant in the room: value for money. Each of these releases comes in at a whopping €49.99/$49.99, which feels incredibly overpriced. The argument can be made that you’re getting around 50 hours worth of content out of Memories, and another 35-40 hours out of Later X Crowd, but in the case of Memories, you’re looking at a straight-up port of a seven year old visual novel, which you can pick up on Steam for a fifth of the price on the Switch. Even if you were to bundle Memories together with Later X Crowd as a single package, and offer that for the same price, we feel like it would be pushing it. Unless you are a diehard Amnesia fan that absolutely has to have the localized version of Later X Crowd, we really suggest waiting for a sale. While you’re waiting, you can read through the Steam version of Memories and save around €40/$40 in the process.


For fans of Amnesia, having an official localisation of Later X Crowd is probably a dream come true, and being able to read these stories on the go is the icing on the cake. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, however, the purchase becomes more difficult to justify. An unpolished translation, the absence of common visual novel QoL features, and most importantly, an eye-watering price tag make it difficult to justify picking these games up.

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Amnesia: Memories & Amnesia: Later x Crowd - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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