Developer: 3-Fold Games
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Before I Forget is the story of Sunita, who suffers from early-onset dementia. As you look around her flat trying to find her husband and discover notes left behind by Sunita's caretaker, you learn about her work as a cosmologist and her husband's career as a concert pianist.
It's a short game, but all the more impactful for it. The perpetual sense of unfamiliarity and loneliness that Sunita's apartment invokes never loses its sting, and the bittersweet moments where she discovers some kind of memento of her past and struggles to remember what they mean remain touching until the end.
As you explore the apartment, colors grow more vibrant or fade away depending on Sunita’s memories. There are also flashbacks to her childhood in India, where her aunt taught her about constellations and you hunt for particular stars in the night sky.
As you amble around in Sunita’s apartment, you often end up investigating the same items more than once, triggering repeated voice lines, unfortunately revealing the artifice of the experience. Since Before I Forget has such simple gameplay, every inconsistency detracts considerably from the whole.
Unfortunately, the ending doesn’t do the experience justice. It is unexpectedly bombastic, but fails to be dramatic since the resolution is rather obvious and neither cathartic nor particularly resonant. It makes sense, but is simply not particularly engaging.
Before I Forget makes an admirable attempt to both simulate and explore dementia, and it is both earnest and honest in its treatment of the condition, and never wavers from the essential melancholy of its story or subject matter. If you can forgive the weak ending, the rest of the game is full of memorable moments and reminders of how precious memories are.
- Heartbreaking narrative
- Honest portrayal of dementia
- Striking use of color
- Disappointing ending
- Repetitive voice lines