For such a simple premise, EMMA: Lost in Memories sure knows how to dial up the frustration. Out of its 50 main levels, I’d say more than half had me stuck on how to proceed. Not necessarily because the solution wasn’t clear either, but rather some vague collision detection left me failing at the mere idea of hitting an obstacle at times.
Played from a 2D, side on perspective, we need to get Emma from point A to B via navigating the platforms in each single screen puzzle. She doesn’t control how you may expect though; a press of the A button sets her off running, and we need to jump, slide and climb all while she continues her forward momentum.
Of course, it’s never that simple, is it. As soon as she sets off, the surface she is on starts to disappear behind her. This follows on in every surface we touch, so while she’s perpetually moving forward, we need to be mindful not to touch a surface early and set it off before we need it. Some of the later levels are incredibly tight to manoeuvre in, and it’s all too easy to knock a platform or wall and fail the stage. It doesn’t always feel like we it was our fault though, and the hit box seems to be bigger on both Emma and the environments than they appear. Spike traps are the worst offenders of this, barely even glancing them forcing a restart.
The restart is quick though, meaning we can try again promptly, but when playing it never feels that great to control. As we progress she gets access to a double jump, slide and climb ability but these are randomly activated per level for no clear reason; one stage might make use of all three, before the next only one, or none at all. I actually grew to prefer the levels with no extra powers at all, as they were generally the most fun to complete without too much frustration.
Even with many retries under my belt, I beat the main story in a couple of hours. There is a vague tale being told along the way, but it didn’t really capture my attention or have as much impact as I think they may have hoped for. Visually I found EMMA to be quite dull, with simple, repetitive assets used repeatedly and very little in the way of variety. I also had to mute the music fairly quickly such was its monotonous tone.
EMMA: Lost in Memories simple premise means it is easy to get to grips with, but some vague collision detection and dull visuals/music lead to it all round feeling rather bland and frustrating to play.
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.