It is August the 1st and you remember nothing. You don't know who you are. You don't know where you are. You don't know where you work. You don't know who your friends or enemies are. All you know is that a spirit, who calls himself "Orion", has attached himself to you and claims responsibility for your loss of memories. He claims that the only way to regain your memories is to interact with things that seem familiar. However, you must not let anyone know about your lack of memories because it could be dangerous. Your story begins with the clue of having a "boyfriend".
Age Rating: Cero C (15+)
Date of Release: 2011/08/18
Voice Cast: Hiromi Igarashi, Kakihara Tetsuya, Hino Satoshi, Taniyama Kishou, Ishida Akira, Miyata Kouki
The most notable aspect of Amnesia is how it combines mystery with the usual love-adventure aspect of visual novels. The mystery behind the heroine's memory loss acts as a powerful hook that will keep you playing until you reveal the answers. I was drawn to this game by its premise and how the heroine starts the game in an established relationship with her "boyfriend" rather than having to be introduced to the target before "capturing" them, which is the approach most games use.
Amnesia even manages to keep an overarching plot while connecting the rest of the worlds through small clues that you don't notice at first until you fully complete the game. For example, references are constantly made about the unusually cold weather since it is the middle of summer in the game.
Another interesting aspect of this game is that the heroine is mostly silent. She speaks when you make choices and close to the end of every route (because of plot reasons) which means that Orion, the spirit who is helping her find her memories, does most of the speaking and commentary throughout the game. Some people seem to have issues with the heroine being so silent, but the benefit of this is that the game is almost fully-voiced and therefore easier to understand.
CHARACTERS: There are 5 characters in total to capture and each corresponds to a card suit; Heart, Diamond, Clover, Spade, and Joker. The Joker is a secret character that unlocks after you complete the rest of the routes. Amnesia has a diverse set of characters which should be able to appeal to a variety of people.
Shin (Hearts) is younger than the heroine and appears to fit the tsundere archetype with how blunt and cool he can be to the heroine. This is his way of motivating her though and he has no qualms about expressing his affection for her in kisses. Toma (Diamonds) is a brotherly-type character who appears to fit the yandere archetype except he isn't disillusioned with his actions. He is very self-aware about what kind of man he is.
Then we have Kent (Clovers) who seems to fit the kuudere archetype with his taciturn nature. However, he's very outspoken about his logical observations. At first glance Ikki (Spades) appears to fit the playboy archetype perfectly but he doesn't feel enjoyment from his group of fans. In fact, the situation he is in is out of his control.
Lastly we have Ukyo (Joker) who is a mysterious man that appears to know more than he should about the heroine. At times he seems to be giving her helpful advice while at other times he seems to be trying to kill her.
GAMEPLAY: The system isn't very special since it employs the standard system that most visual novels have which is pure text with choices. This means the game is quite easy to play since there's no complicated system to remember. They even include a nice status page to show you the consequences of your choice.
The first bar shows you how much the character likes you. The second bar shows how much the character trusts you. The third shows how much suspicion they have on your lack of memory. And the last bar is a special Toma-only bar that measures how jealous he has become. The objective for most routes is to increase the affection and trust bar while keeping the suspicion bar low.
Overall, it isn't difficult to progress through the story with the use of this information. The characters in the game even give you feedback when you make choices. For example, when the heroine calls Ikki by his full name at the beginning of his route he is visibly surprised and lets the heroine know what she usually calls him.
STORY: The nice thing about the story is that there aren't any recycled plots for the men. Amnesia doesn't just swap out the men and send you on an adventure to regain your memory about them. All of the routes have their own sub-plots in addition to regaining the heroine's memory about her life in that particular world.
For example, Shin's route is very much like a detective story and you end up doing a lot of investigative work. Toma's route is about misunderstandings and overwhelming love. Kent's route is about miscommunication and learning to understand one another. Ikki's route is about his special condition. Ukyo's route is... revealing. It holds the answers to the question of why the heroine has Amnesia.7.0 Amnesia has a very interesting mystery premise and it deviates from the usual approach in otome games where you have to get to know the man first before you woo him. Instead, in Amnesia, you're thrown right into the middle of the story to rediscover your past in order to make sense of what is currently happening. The story was quite well-done because they kept and overarching plot while also giving allowance to the other characters to be just as "canonical" as the secret character through the use of alternate universes.
The reason I don't rate this any higher is because there are no themes to take away from this story. Nothing sticks with you after you have finished this game except for the charm of the characters. On the other hand, this same point is what makes it a nice game. The length isn't too long and it is great if you want a charming and fun story. Overall, Amnesia is a well-balanced otome game that has a variety of characters who should be able to appeal to a wide audience and I would recommend it to most people. It doesn't try to step beyond its goal, which is a mystery-themed love-adventure game.