MementoMori Review – A Gorgeous-Looking Idle RPG Mired in Underwhelming Gameplay


After a month-long delay, MementoMori: AFKRPG is now available on mobile storefronts as of October 18. Having released Mitra Sphere and Cryptract, Bank of Innovation brings to the table this RPG title opting for a darker, morose touch coupled with an overall casual gameplay experience.

Announced back in August 2021, MementoMori gained considerable amounts of hype behind its release upon Bank of Innovation’s reveal of its main visuals and soundtracks performed by Minori Chihara, recognizable from her voice role as Yuki Nagato in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. While more skeptical eyes noticed the lack of gameplay in the trailers, the visuals and audio work carried more than enough enthusiasm in most. Now, with the game out and released, we’ll be taking a look a little deeper into what else one can expect when booting up MementoMori.

Everything Starts with a Tragic Witch Hunt…

The premise of MementoMori centers on girls that possess extraordinary power, known as Witches. When calamity spreads throughout the land, witches begin to be feared and detested. Led by the draconian Church of Longinus, inquisitors have commenced a continent-wide Witch Hunt that has claimed the lives of most of these witches.

Taking on the mantle as lord of the lands you liberate, you band together with these forsaken girls in destroying the curse and calamity wrought by the ten powerful “Witches of Qlipha” from the afflicted kingdom, so that one day the world might be mended.

MementoMori Review 01
MementoMori Review - A Gorgeous-Looking Idle RPG Mired in Underwhelming Gameplay

Gameplay, or What Little There is of it

Technically classified as an idle RPG and even mentioned as being one on the storefront, MementoMori takes a relatively laid-back approach in the gameplay department, opting for a mostly hands-off, full-auto battle system.

Just as in other games in this genre, most of what you can do in MementoMori is right there in the name. You wait. Or more accurately, you let the gameplay itself, as you accumulate upgrade materials while your 5 member team goes about automatically fighting an opposing team of varying numbers in the main quest screen.

Your team will tirelessly keep grinding out encounters by themselves and after accumulating a bunch of loot, you can tap the pile of treasure to collect your winnings. The Main Quest of the game is pretty much the difference between waiting for loot to pile up and starting up the fights yourself in boss battles.

MementoMori Review 02

The core gameplay loop of MementoMori’s boss battles is yet again automatic. Zero input is required from the player throughout the fight. No commands, no active skills, no button prompts. Just how faster or slower you want the fight to go on. Hell, at a certain point the game allows you to even skip the entire battle sequence with the press of a button!

The game features some layers to the combat like the six elements for each character unit, and their respective skills ranging from heals to critical hits to inflicting status effects. While these at surface value seem to look substantial in differentiating characters much like more classic RPG-like classes, in the end, the passive nature of the game means there is no discerning mechanics to set the characters apart enough to merit any form of tactic besides maybe balancing heals and damage dealers in a team and matching their elements.

The lack of player engagement also means that in its simplest form, what players are left with in the end is to spectate a bare-bones fight go on for several seconds with a binary result of losing or winning, dependent ultimately on which team had the bigger number. Honestly speaking, the sheer amount of detail that the game goes into explaining its different skills leads me to even imagine that perhaps in its earlier permutations, MementoMori had a more conventional battle system than what we got.

Screenshot 20221020 153212 edited

Outside of the aforementioned Main Quest, the game also offers different game modes like a roguelike dungeon where you go through 3 separate gauntlets on a single life bar for your whole roster while picking up buffs and additional units to slot in your team. Other than this, to supplement its social aspect as a phone game, there is the raids, endless tower, and PvP mode that works in tandem with the guild system in place. All of these game modes, while enticing on paper, still use the bland basic combat, where players are instructed to do absolutely nothing.

QooApp Article MementoMoriReview32 edited
QooApp Article MementoMoriReview48 edited

While I disparagingly criticize the non-engaging gameplay of MementoMori and its employment of game modes, others may enjoy the fact the game asks for very little input from the player. Though I personally take umbrage with the lack of engagement, others may see the appeal in its simplicity as a piece of media, owing to the impressive presentation of the game.

Genuinely Outstanding Presentation

What MementoMori lacks in gameplay, it makes up for in production value. Appreciating the many fantastic art and music tracks is another valid way of experiencing the game altogether.

QooApp Article MementoMoriReview characterart1

Opting to employ a watercolor-like art style for almost all of its visual elements, MementoMori looks outstanding compared to its contemporaries. From the vibrantly colored characters to the sepia-toned hazy environments, the game truly delivers on selling the atmosphere of dark fantasy. Live2D animations breathe life into each character and help in selling their dialogues and moments.

MementoMori Review 04
MementoMori Review 05
MementoMori Review 06

Each track runs the gamut from saccharinely cute songs more tuned for a midnight anime, all the way to emotionally charged ballads that would perfectly befit an epic JRPG title. These character songs, dubbed ‘Laments’ are told to you as being exactly that, a track that expresses each character’s own personal woes being branded the title as a ‘Witch’ that would bring ruin to society. A neat attention to detail is how the game features the full written lyrics for each track as well.

QooApp Article MementoMoriReview54 edited

Though presented in different music genres, all of them are beautifully performed by industry professionals that contribute to the soundscape of MementoMori. And what’s more, every single character gets one! Not just the prized SR characters that appear from the odd pulls from the invocation gachas, but even the common Normal and Rare characters as well. Seriously, give it a listen!

It should also be pointed out that the game boasts this level of music production for both audio language options, as each song has a complete English alternate version which is a nice touch.

Dark Character Stories with No Plot to Work off of

Since the musical tracks and memory chapters for each character are entirely optional and supplemental to their respective character, the game rather bafflingly lacks any narrative impetus. What you get instead is mostly confined to these memory sections.

Animated to some degree, these memory chapters mostly give backstory and context to each character, and why they came to possess powers of their own. Many of them rather aptly handle heavy stories of betrayal and despair.

QooApp Article MementoMoriReview1 edited
QooApp Article MementoMoriReview20 1 edited

Though the story and worldbuilding offer potential, the game virtually runs out of an overarching plot by the end of the first chapter. Having played up to the fourth kingdom myself, I haven’t encountered a single morsel of a plot. The introduction to the game posits how there are ten Witches to be defeated but provides no other direction other than the occasional tutorial suggestions by your companion, Ilya.

MementoMori Review 07

Incentives to Pay Lacks Nuance

While MementoMori, like any other game, touts that the game is in fact free to play, eventually you’ll catch the not-so-subtle glimpses of how the game pushes its microtransaction elements. Components of the game that otherwise require downtime can be entirely skipped by spending gem currencies. This feels doubly odd, especially seeing as a particular daily mission asks you to use the auto skip as part of the daily missions.

Not to mention, the game never forgets to remind you whenever the occasion arises. This first starts around the time when hitting rank 20, announcing that you can pay up a couple of bucks for some materials, gems, and gacha tickets. While the option to opt for such a pack would be fine, the 2-hour time limit feels a little manipulative.

Screenshot 0036 BURST20221019123154019 edited 2

The game also rather strangely features a VIP system in its microtransaction. These are, while not necessary, investments that frontload rewards that would require regular players to get to certain points in the game to unlock. This means that some features that would otherwise be mainstay functions for a game like MementoMori, are arbitrarily locked out initially. These feature lockouts appear to be completely superfluous and only serve in enticing a very niche, hypothetical customer.

QooApp Article MementoMoriReview56 edited
MementoMori Review 08

MementoMori Does A Lot Right But Misses the Mark

With how much anticipation there was built up over time from the picturesque visuals to the fantastic music that serves to enhance the overall experience, what is there to be played or engaged by the player is left to a bare minimum.

The game may obfuscate with different sub-activities such as the roguelike mode and the boss raids, but ultimately the core-game play that MementoMori builds upon is that of a bland auto-battler. It almost feels criminal to see how much care and attention went to the artistic side of the game only for it to fizzle out at the gameplay department.

In its current state, the game feels unbalanced at best. Where the title carries many aspects that make it an easy recommendation, but also an equally large amount of shortcomings. What you’re left with is a product polished to a mere sheen in terms of performance and presentation that leaves players wanting to interact with it as a video game rather than an app to simply admire the art and music.

MementoMori Review 09

Follow QooApp official Facebook / Twitter / Google News / Reddit to get the latest ACG information!

dxeOgN7ld 4BnfylbaQabLgJF3nhmsmNCCmnic vUIXweJL IRwYKkD6V3o9DpFww Memento Mori Bank of Innovation, Inc. Rate: 3.8 Install
MementoMori Review – A Gorgeous-Looking Idle RPG Mired in Underwhelming Gameplay
MementoMori Game Review

MementoMori opts for a rather passive idle RPG formula that virtually traps the otherwise phenomenal art and soundtrack.

Operating System: iOS, Android

Application Category: Game

Editor's Rating: