PEGBJRE: Imperishable Memories and The Floor Is Jelly

One game of harsh realities and one of soft dreams, both in varying degrees of surrealism.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the amount of angst/edge? Par for the course, mind you, but still. We be angsty.

Imperishable Memories is a bullet hell narrative experience made by Jennifer Raye, a solo indie dev. Players follow the surreal adventure of Roy, a character on a platform attempting to destroy all of his memories through combat. Through his dodging of bullets and enemies, he comes into contact with various characters from this memory world as Roy demands to know what is going on and why they are trying to stop him. As the game unravels, however, Roy is confronted by that which he is attempting to destroy, and must determine just what he is actually trying to eliminate.

The big talking point in my mind is the imagery that is used to convey this memory world, as it is in fact a personified version of a young preteenager’s journal. The characters are all drawn and flat, with highlighter and marker to colour in each one with the trademark smudging and streaking when two opposite colours accidentally touch. Each character feels like something I might’ve drawn back when I was a kid, between the cool spikey haired protagonist, the possible crush I might’ve had at the time and the ‘dark’ version of me in all black and red. It speaks to anyone that had a wild imagination that took root on the pages of a secret book, one that you would keep secret from anyone for fear of embarrassment and may have already destroyed as an adult. This immersion helps to get players to relate and empathize with Roy, to draw players in until we find out that Roy may not be the character we should be empathizing with, at least not yet.

True to its name, Imperishable Memories starts the game by underlying a question: does destroying the memories of your past actually destroy them? For Roy it does, and is his great motivator to make amends for his past. As we shoot through bizarre characters and meet bosses that give details, it becomes increasingly clear that this world that Roy is stuck in is more of an internal conflict that our main character is personifying through their journal. His removal of all things that were contained in this journal and subsequently his memories is justifiable in his eyes, yet those he imagined have been brought to life to question if he’s destroying everything for the right reasons. It’s a harrowing piece for those that have come into their own crossroads, with different pieces of oneself arguing to determine the best foot forward toward a better future. Can one destroy their past and completely remake themselves into a new being, or is there comfort in remaining the same, blissfully ignoring ones faults and deflecting it to the world? And what of those that have been victimized by those actions, are they to accept the change that has occurred?

These are questions that are posed to Roy, to which he originally has no answers. His quest to destroy his own past and his memories becomes conflicted as he realizes his current strategy helps no one but himself. Anyone he may have hurt will remain hurt.

This is where Imperishable Memories shines. By utilizing an aesthetic of childish nostalgia, it demands the player to question their own past and actions of one that has now grown into a (hopefully) respectable adult. Was your journal just doodles to be thrown away later, or does it contain pieces of your soul that gives a window into how you thought and felt about certain people and the world around you? What has been left unfinished and only left within a journal to be hopefully forgotten, but cannot be?

I cannot state that I am completely confident in my understanding of Imperishable Memories — there are many themes that I cannot completely relate to, nor understand them in the way that they should be. If you are looking for a game that personifies a childhood journal while asking if it’s as ‘innocent’ as people believe them to be, you’ll want to give this a try. Just be warned, it is quite surreal — but the messages aren’t.

The Floor is Jelly is a comfy platformer made by Auren Snyder, another solo dev. Unlike the title earlier, there is no name for the protagonist. In fact, there’s not even arms on this protagonist. Players take control of this tiny gray object with legs with only a singular objective: get to the window. True to its name, the floor is in fact quite gelatinous adding a certain bounciness to everything around them. Is there an end in sight? Who knows? Bounce.

Now saying The Floor is Jelly is an accurate title is slightly incorrect, as the entire world is made of the stuff. Platforming throughout each level is influenced by the Non-Newtonian fluid’s movements and how players interact with them, from getting a boost from jumping constantly to sinking into the floor to run past an object before springing back up. Progression throughout the levels begins to utilize other aspects to incorporate this terrain, such as the turning device to rotate the entire stage 90 degrees so that one can wall jump up an actual wall instead of fall to their deaths.

What makes this game so much enticing to an anti-platformer such as myself is just how cathartic and soothing the experience is. The wibbles and wobbles of the world are beautifully adorable, and honestly I could just jump in place for a few minutes just to watch as the world resets itself .There is no death counter that I can see, no expectations or time limits, just a destination and a dream. The soundtrack is just pure peace and calming, what one might expect from those playlists that you are supposedly to ‘study and relax to’ and match the colour palettes that each zone gifts to the player. While in the cave area, the echoing of the music was a brilliant touch and just a singular example of the attention to detail that The Floor is Jelly brings.

This isn’t to say that it doesn’t give a sense of achievement — like with all platformers The Floor Is Jelly gives a sense of accomplishment and cleverness upon figuring out a solution to a level. There are many that have multiple solutions, and ‘cheating’ the game utilizing the mechanics is always something fun to try out. It’s not a long game, but for those of us that aren’t good at platforming it certainly can take a while. For anyone that is looking for a comfortable platformer that can be left on in the background for its soothing soundtrack along, give this one a try and enjoy the bounces.

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Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.