SPY X ANYA: Operation Memories – Review
Follow Genre: Life sim, mini-game collection
Developer: Groove Box Japan Co. Ltd
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5
Tested on: Switch

SPY X ANYA: Operation Memories – Review

Site Score
Good: Varied mini-games
Bad: Expects players to be familiar with the anime beforehand
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

No matter if you’re a fan of the hugely popular anime SPY X FAMILY or not, it’s likely that you at least know who Anya Forger is. The little girl with the pink hair and over-the-top facial expressions is massively popular, popping up in memes and gifs all around the internet. Being as popular as she is, it’s not a surprise that Anya is the star of the first SPY X FAMILY video game, SPY X ANYA: Operation Memories. We did see family patriarch Loid make a cameo appearance in Captain Velvet Meteor, but if you’ve been clamoring for additional time in the company of the Forgers, then Operation Memories is your best bet. But can Operation Memories stand on its own two legs as a game, or is it just a cash grab like so many licensed games?


Rather than revisit the story of the anime, Operation Memories presents a new standalone adventure for our young heroine. Well, we say standalone, but the caveat is that if you’re not familiar with the manga or the series, you might end up feeling lost here. There is no recap or context given about who these characters are or what their relationship with one another is. Granted, the story isn’t all that difficult to follow, but not having seen the series for ourselves, we had to rely on the aid of a series fan who gave us some context. Our story focuses on Anya, of course, who is tasked with keeping a diary as a school project. The young girl is dedicated to making her diary “super duper awesome” so that it will impress Damian, one of her classmates. Anya’s ulterior motive is to befriend Damian, for reasons that are explained more in-depth in the anime. It involves Loid’s job as a spy needing to get close to Damian’s father, although this isn’t really made clear in the game. Now, how do you make a diary “super duper awesome”? By filling it with loads of pictures of family outings of course! So, together with her adoptive family, Anya sets out on all sorts of fun activities.


Being an adaptation of an established franchise, Operation Memories absolutely nails its visuals. The transition from 2D animation to the 3D video game setting works well, with the game seamlessly implementing some of the more dramatic and expressive elements from the source material, like Anya’s exaggerated facial reactions. Granted, there could have been some more polish here and there, with objects occasionally clipping or not looking as smooth as they should but this might be more of a Switch-specific issue. Still, Operation Memories looks appropriately accurate, capturing the aesthetics of SPY X FAMILY to a tee.


We assume that Operation Memories’ music was directly taken from the SPY X FAMILY soundtrack. The jazzy tunes do sound nice, although they don’t always seem to fit with what’s happening on-screen. Operation Memories also boasts a fairly significant chunk of voice acting, from the original series’ cast, so things don’t just look as they should, but sound like it as well.


The gameplay loop of Operation Memories is quite unlike that of any other game we’ve played. What you’re getting here is a roughly 50/50 mix of a very simple life sim and a selection of minigames. The game is structured around Anya’s day-to-day life, where she goes to school, talks to classmates and her teacher to build up relationships, and returns home to do homework and interact with family members. Every few days, the family goes on an outing, and here you’ll take pictures to add to your diary. Your ultimate goal is to complete your diary and make it as super duper awesome as possible. At each of the locations, you’ll need to find each of the so-called Cool Items and snap the perfect picture of these, as well as bring a selection of specific purchasable items for even more photo opportunities. Successfully snapping pictures earns you Eurekas, which you can spend on playing mini-games, which in turn earns you money. Money is spent on outfits for Anya and her family as well as those all-important purchasable items. Outfits can also be obtained through a raffle system, with tickets being earned by completing specific objectives, such as taking every possible picture in a specific location. You can use these to spiff up the in-game photos.

While you’ll be spending a significant amount of time on the diary, the gameplay of this aspect actually feels fairly limited. The bulk of what most people would actually consider a game can be found in the selection of mini-games instead. Well, we say “mini” but most of these are fairly substantial, often taking upwards of 10 minutes to complete rather than the 2-3 minutes you’d expect. They are quite varied too, ranging from a simple Fruit Ninja clone, where Anya’s adoptive mother Yor needs to chop vegetables for dinner, to a full fledged dodgeball game complete with special moves. Our personal favorite was a beat ’em up where Yor has to fend off several waves of yakuza within the time limit, leading up to a boss battle. There are different unlockable difficulty tiers for each mini-game, and given how some of the later items in the shop can get quite pricey, it’s worth it to try the higher difficulties to earn more cash. Thankfully, each mini-game also boasts a practice mode, meaning you won’t have to give up your precious Eurekas if you’re only testing the waters.

We should note that Operation Memories isn’t a very difficult game in the first place, of course. The overall flow of the game suffers a bit from slow pacing, and surprisingly lengthy load times for how simple everything appears. Of note is that the game’s tutorials in particular are awkward, with a lot of time spent on the most intuitive and basic of controls, like moving Anya around or repositioning the camera. This contrasts with the explanations of the minigames, which condense a ton of information and don’t always go in depth enough. Granted, they aren’t all that difficult once you get to grips with them, but Loid’s heist mini-game did take us a couple of tries to get right. Being a full-priced game, Operation Memories is probably too expensive for what it has to offer in terms of gameplay. However, as is typical for licensed games, we expect the price to drop to a more reasonable level soonish. There’s also a paid DLC option, but it seems to consist of more outfits for the Forgers as well as some in-game cash to speed things up. It’s probably worth it for the fans, but we didn’t feel like we were missing out on a whole lot by skipping this.


As far as licensed games go, Operation Memories definitely is one of the better titles out there, although we did feel like we weren’t the target audience. We wouldn’t outright recommend it to anyone who isn’t familiar with the source material. It doesn’t serve as a good introduction, nor does it have enough substance as a game to justify the RRP. However, if you happen to be a fan of the anime, your experience is likely going to be a lot more enjoyable, since the game omits a lot of information that it assumes you know already. Should this be the case, then Operation Memories is worth a look, although we’d still advise waiting for a price drop.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.