In Don't Forget Me, a woman suffering from amnesia stumbles into a building in a neon-lit city and falls unconscious. You wake up and find yourself in the company of Bernard, an expert in memory manipulation. Turns out the building is a memory clinic; a place where people go to back up their most precious memories. Which, as it happens, is illegal in this dystopian metropolis. There's no way to actually view these stored memories, but people like doing it anyway in case the tech exists one day. Think cryogenics, but for the mind.
With no memory and no place to go, you decide to stick around and help Bernard with his work, probing people's brains and scraping out the memories they want to digitally back up. Bernard might be an expert in high-tech memory extraction, but he's a sensitive, nostalgic soul too. While he works he listens to old jazz records, which gives the game a pleasantly mellow atmosphere. The overall vibe is quite nice, although the pixel art is too bright and cartoonish for the dark future noir vibe the developer was clearly going for.
As patients file into the clinic, you help them into the scary-looking chair that extracts their memories and keep them happy with polite banter. The more relaxed they are, the smoother the process goes. Memory copying might be illegal, but Bernard's clinic does a roaring trade in walk-ins. And as his trust in you grows, he even lets you roll up your sleeves and do some brain-digging yourself. There's a certain charm to your back-and-forths with Bernard and his clients, but I wish the dialogue had more edge. It's very flat and functional, especially for a game set in a dark cyberpunk future.
Half of Don't Forget Me feels like a classic point-and-click adventure game, with a lot of standing around reading dialogue, and a vaguely LucasArts-flavoured art style. The other half is more unique. To get to a patient's memory you have to type in words to form connections. You'll start with a clue about someone: say, a distinctive jacket they're wearing. Typing in 'jacket' will create a connection to 'logo', revealing a patch on the arm that will lead to yet another connection, and so on. And eventually, after hitting all the right words, the specific memory you're looking for will be revealed, letting you progress.
These deduction-based text input puzzles are pretty fun. It's similar to Her Story, but more linear. You have to pay close attention to the dialogue to figure out how to create the next connection. If you're having trouble, typing Berdnard's name will give you a hint, which is a nice consideration. You also travel inside people's memories and explore them, but interaction is minimal. Don't Forget Me has a lot of big ideas, and plays with some interesting concepts, but it never quite lives up to them in execution. It all feels a little lightweight.
The game is split between text puzzles and a conversation-heavy story where you occasionally get to make decisions or choose what to say. It's not a complicated game, but the story is compelling enough, if a little predictable—and overloaded with exposition. The developer describes the genre of the game as 'jazzpunk', although it's not very jazz, and not very punk. It's actually a pretty cliched cyberpunk story with a jazz soundtrack—which I guess makes it literally jazzpunk, if not spiritually, which would have been more interesting.
I'll probably play a little more of Don't Forget Me, but it hasn't grabbed me enough to make me want to rush to see it through to the end. The lack of mouse support is also kinda annoying, because I have a loud keyboard and having to smash space/enter to skip through the mountains of dialogue isn't a particularly pleasant experience. I'd ultimately recommend something like The Red Strings Club over this, which has a similar feel, but does basically everything better. However, if you absolutely must play every new cyberpunk game that gets released on Steam, there's much worse out there.