Review: Read Only Memories: Neurodiver Is Worth the Wait
Image via Midboss and Chorus Worldwide Games

Review: Read Only Memories: Neurodiver Is Worth the Wait

When a game is delayed once or twice, it can seem like a natural part of the process. Multiple delays? That might leave someone a little concerned. Read Only Memories: Neurodiver initially had a 2020 release window. That got bumped back to 2021. Then, it was delayed to 2022. That was followed by a 2023 window. The release date trailer even lampshaded all this. But now it is finally debuting on May 16, 2024, and it feels well worth the wait.

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In Read Only Memories: Neurodiver’s future, there exist espers with special abilities that allow them to tap into other people. One of them is Esper-8801, a young woman working with a company called MINERVA that is on the cutting edge of all types of technology. As the game begins, we see her preparing for an exam that will allow her to freely work with the Neurodiver, a bioengineered organism that she works alongside to step into people’s memories, repair them, and uncover valuable information. After the prologue that sets the stage, we flash forward to a more confident ES88 who is comfortable in her role and dealing with a menace called Golden Butterfly. This individual is messing with people’s minds, and it is up to ES88 and the Neurodiver to set things right.

Like the original 2064: Read Only Memories, Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is again set in a colorful, cyberpunk world and features a diverse cast of characters. It also mixes point-and-click adventure elements with visual novel staples, what with ES88 interacting with the real world, speaking with individuals, and obtaining items in people’s memories to repair anomalies and uncover truths. There’s a lot of exploration here and opportunities to interact with environments and folks, which I appreciated. 

Especially since it all looks and sounds so gorgeous. Neo-San Francisco is a lavish and detailed world, with elaborate sprite work making everything feel unique. It’s otherworldly, which is appropriate given how the supernatural elements like espers and high technology mix. At the same time, it’s familiar and reassuring in ways, with otherworldly spaces still feeling comforting and familiar due to natural elements like trees or seeing that people still enjoy things like magical girl series. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it is a well actualized, so that even it can almost feel alien due to the color schemes, technology, and types of encounters, the combination of the work put into the lore, design, and art makes it feel plausible. 

Of course, a big part of what makes Read Only Memories: Neurodiver work so well is the script. The story is absolutely fantastic, and it’s engaging and thrilling. Characters’ personalities are handled well and make them all feel memorable, even if you only interact with them briefly in the grand scheme of things. The mystery is handled well, with a climax that builds up in a satisfying way. Not to mention I found it quite well-paced. Add a stellar cast of voice actors, and it really is a delight to play. 

Now, it’s been years since I played the original 2064: Read Only Memories. So long that, by the time I played Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, I admittedly forgot a lot. But the good thing about this is that it almost made me feel like I was coming in as a new player. As such, I can say the game is incredibly accessible and friendly to someone who didn’t play the first game. There are references to events and returning characters, but it really does feel like a new experience, with new heroine ES88 helping us ease into things.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is worth the wait. As you play through it, you can see why it took Midboss so much time to craft the adventure, its characters, and its world. As I went through different people’s memories and delved into the mystery, it constantly felt like a labor of love for everyone involved.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver will appear on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and PC on May 16, 2024

9
Read Only Memories: Neurodiver

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is a story-rich adventure and the sequel to 2064: Read Only Memories. Explore the rich world with an intuitive point-and-click interface as you take on the role of a young psychic agent tasked with tracking down a mysterious antagonist hiding in people's memories. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is worth the wait. As you play through it, you can see why it took Midboss so much time to craft the adventure, its characters, and its world.


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Author
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.