Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories Review – The Juicy Return of A Cult Classic
Just say yes to melons!
Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories on PC
Story-driven games have always been known to add a few twists and turns, exciting the player enough to want to play more. But, in the case of Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories, it instead gives a new meaning to unexpected moments with its surprising outcomes and dark-humoristic dialogue scenes.
If you aren’t familiar with Melon Journey, the game originally made its debut in 2012, in which it eventually became a cult classic as an RPG maker. It would then lead to a rise in popularity for the developers, Froach Club, who continues to make even more adorably designed games over the years. And now, they are returning to the classics with the re-imagination of Melon Journey, featuring a green-tinted 2D pixelated world from the publishers XSEED Games and Poppy Works.
Although the main storyline doesn’t offer anything too sustainable, the energetic presence of Hog Town is where the heart of the narrative truly lives, from the chaotic Cavity Crew gang to the power couple Kitten Princess and Strong Dog. Each time I had a discussion with a resident, I would be thrown off guard by every word they said, given how blunt and anomalous characters can be. You can see an excellent example of this at the start of the game when a co-worker belittles you for not knowing where your workplace is, differing from standard tutorial phases that try to help you in the beginning.
As the story goes, you’ll learn that melons are essentially a drug that causes many harmful side effects. While Hog Town deems it illegal, Ham Town relishes its sweet flavor and produces a soda factory to use it for profit. Players will take on the role of a marketing employee of this sugary establishment as they decipher the mystery of what happened to their missing friend, Cantaloupe.
You’ll mostly search for your companion at Hog Town, a strange place with unique characters and locations. When exploring the grounds, I was surprised at every turn since nothing was quite like it seemed. Sometimes I would stumble upon a Cheese Cult in a cemetery, and other times, I would find a dog expressing its admiration for the shape of a hydrant.
If you’re the type who wonders why video game characters get away with breaking and entering, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy what happens every time you enter a house in Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories. In most cases, residents will not take kindly to players going inside their homes and will call them nosy or downright weird. I found it refreshing to see this side, as it offers a more realistic and comedic take on this typical game mechanic.
There’s also a hint of fourth-wall-breaking moments in various scenes that often made me question what was real or not. In particular, when interacting with a specific object, you’ll get the basic ‘Do you want to pull the lever?’ prompt, only to find out that it’s actually the lever talking to you and not the game itself.
The gameplay mechanics are relatively easy to follow since it primarily focuses on exploration and decision-making tasks. As you may expect, choices heavily impact the story’s outcome, even if it may seem minor or inconsequential. Something as simple as grabbing a bowl of chili could help you later down the road and open the door to alternative narratives for side characters.
I occasionally ran into trouble when I wasn’t sure where to go due to the absence of a map and mission tracker system. However, it didn’t take me too long to figure out the next plan while roaming around, and sometimes it would lead me to one of the character’s questlines for achievement completions.
The outcomes from decisions may also surprise you because they never really go as planned. For instance, a “good” decision could lead to a horrendous accident, while an “evil” interaction could turn into a heroic act. Just when I think I’ve figured it out all out, the game throws me a curve ball and makes me question my decision in a virtualized world.
Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories’ traveling mechanic may come off as slow at first, but you’ll get to unlock Rollerblades to make the process much quicker and entertaining. Players can also expect others to join their party, providing them with funny scenarios that the group frequently gets themselves into. On top of that, the outline of the small screen can change throughout your journey, where it takes on many forms and expands further during horror-esque instances.
Don’t worry; it’s not a scary game in a way, considering that it mainly lies within the cozy game genre. Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories even has an electronic and jazz-inspired LoFi soundtrack to make the overall experience relaxing and fun to play. With over 90 songs, I would bob my head or fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the game’s composer, markeryjane.
At its core, the characters are what truly drive the story, with all their bizarre dreams, complicated relationships, and riveting origins. My personal favorite is Ham Ghost Jr., who started as an annoying character until he eventually wormed his way into my heart. There are still, of course, a variety of other residents that I enjoyed talking to, and I’m confident that every player will at least find one of their own favorites with each passing act.
Those who are achievement hunters will have some fun with the game’s story-driven and hidden trophies. I spent about three hours in total with the Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories, and I still have yet to do another playthrough to get a few that I missed. The achievements are also relatively unique compared to other games, as you have to think outside the box to earn them.
In a gaming world filled with violence and war, it’s nice to sit back and relax in an adorable universe like Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories. So, if you are looking for your next cozy game, you should absolutely pick it up for a meager price and get to know all these adorable characters. But be sure not to overindulge too much in those sweet, juicy melons.
- Eccentric and cute cast.
- Oddly funny dialogue moments.
- A surprise at every turn.
- No directional map to guide players.
- Side stories overshadow the main storyline.
April 6, 2023
Froach Club & Poppy Works
Poppy Works & XSEED Games
PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
About the author
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