Review: Spy x Anya Is a Spy x Family Pokemon Snap Game
Screenshot by Siliconera

Review: Spy x Anya Is a Spy x Family Pokemon Snap Game

While there are exciting, thrilling moments in the lives of spy Loid Forger, assassin Yor Forger, and telepath Anya Forger, a lot of the series is a day-by-day, slice of life experience. Spy x Anya: Operation Memories, the first major Spy x Family game, really gets that by putting the focus on Anya attempting to complete a school assignment. While the nature of getting every photo does mean a bit of repetition and there is an awkward launch into it, it ended up being a fun little sim about family and photographing Anya at key moments like she’s an ever-present Pikachu in Pokemon Snap.

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I was actually a bit thrown when Spy x Anya: Operation Memories began, since there was no introductory story setting the stage for the Spy x Family game. Rather, Anya Forger was in her class at Eden Academy and a tutorial went over controls right away. It didn’t even explain the whole purpose of the game until I went through learning how to move Anya, the camera, talk to people, and head home. It’s only once she was back home with her parents Loid and Yor that the whole purpose of the game was revealed in a flashback. One of her latest assignments is to create a diary. Because she wants to make it awesome and impress “Second Son” Damian Desmond to help her actually-a-spy father with his mission involving Donovan Desmond, her family agrees to help her with outings to create memories.

Screenshot by Siliconera

It’s an awkward choice, to be certain. I’m very familiar with Spy x Family, thanks to reading the manga and watching the anime, so I had no problem immediately catching up with what’s going on in the game. However, people who don’t have that familiarity are going to be completely left in the dark. Something as simple as a brief introduction with Anya explaining who she is, her telepathic powers, why her “father” Loid created the fake family, and that her “mother” Yor is actually an assassin, would be a big help and would help make the transition into the experience easier and smoother. 

Once you get past the many tutorials, it becomes fairly clear that Spy x Anya: Operation Memories is a Pokemon Snap sort of game that mixes minigames and opportunities to socialize with the cast of Spy x Family with dress-ups and photo ops. Anya will take part in a family meeting, during which the destination of the next outing will be selected. While waiting for that day to come up, she’ll go to school and spend time at home. At both locations, there are opportunities to talk with members of the series’ casts to form relationships with them and chances to make memories. There will also be chances to interact with items Anya finds especially interesting for a photo for her diary.

Said photos are their own minigame. You need to get the shot in focus, ensure the angle is correct to be able to catch all people or points of interest, then nail the timing to get the perfect shot. A visual indicator of three light-up frames let you know when that moment arrives. That’s also paired with multiple opportunities to repeat the moment, so you can be assured you’ll get a perfect three-star picture photo for the diary showing the focus, angle, and timing is just right. You get to do one of these at school each day, and another one at home every evening.

In the case of the outings in Spy x Anya: Operation Memories, those are a bit more involved. You get a chance to buy items from the in-game store with points earned from photos and minigames. These can be used at certain points in outing locations for special memories and photo ops. It also makes the prospect of purchasing or earning extra raffle outfits and accessories more appealing, since everyone’s appearance changes when you do. There are missions with rewards like raffle tickets for completing certain tasks. Plus taking photos with all three special items assigned to an area unlocks an additional shot. 

Unlocking actually comes up quite a bit, but it’s handled in such a way in Spy x Anya: Operation Memories that it doesn’t feel too burdensome. New outing prospects open up as you get through the tutorial and view existing ones. More clothing, accessories, and items do as well. Though honestly, in the case of the cosmetics, they’re more of a nice bonus than a requirement. Given how cute Anya is and how faithful Loid and Yor’s appearances are, it’s totally fine and doesn’t feel terribly limiting if you don’t completely splurge. 

The additional outings and such also unlock new minigames, which Anya can play in the evening to earn Play Points to put toward items in the store if she uses earned Eurekas. The qualities of these vary, to be honest. I wasn’t a fan of the Cooking with Yor experience, as the timing seemed awkward for cutting vegetables. I did enjoy the rudimentary beat’em up involving Thorn Princess taking down waves of enemies as she headed toward a boss. Dodgeball Day at Eden College and the Loid’s Escape stealth minigame also weren’t too bad. I appreciated there was an attempt to offer more variety and experiences tailored to the series than in most minigame collections. 

I suppose where Spy x Anya: Operation Memories succeeds is that the game really does feel like a true Spy x Family experience. It’s cozy in its way, mimicking what daily life is probably like for the Forger family. Anya is allowed to ham it up as a character, and her personality helps carry it. It also looks spot-on, with some fantastic recreations, and the voice acting helps sell it as well. The only downside is the repetitive nature, since you will need to repeat outings and go through a lot of the same minigames and motions to unlock everything for Anya’s awesome diary.

Still, I enjoyed Spy x Anya: Operation Memories more than I expected, even though this Spy x Family game occasionally feels a bit awkward and repetitive. I would have appreciated an easier introduction to the experience and less hand-holding, but it’s thoroughly pleasant and true to the series its based on. As long as you’re not trying to speedrun it or marathon it in a single weekend, I think it’d be a lovely game to play at a relaxed pace.

Spy x Anya: Operation Memoriesis available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. The Spy x Family anime is streaming on Crunchyroll, while Viz Media handles the manga outside Japan

Spy x Anya: Operation Memories

Anya Forger has to create a photo diary! Collect memories at school and other exciting locations. Play with over 15 minigames inspired by the popular manga series! Can you help Anya fill up her photo diary? Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

I enjoyed Spy x Anya: Operation Memories more than I expected, even though this Spy x Family game occasionally feels a bit awkward and repetitive

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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.