Tokimeki Memorial – forever with you (aka TokiMemo) is a dating simulation game published by Konami of Japan for the Sega Saturn. It was what basically spawned the Dating Sim Genre in Japan, and gained massive popularity in Japan, not only TokiMemo, but the Dating Sim Genre itself. And if you haven’t guessed already the overall premise of the game is to date beautiful Anime girls, and no they don’t take their clothes off for you, or get raped by large tentacles. Sorry, you wont find any hardcore hentai here.
You play as a teenage boy in Kirameki high school and your main objective is … well, to get a date, of course! One of the characters, Shiori, is the girl of your dreams, but if things don’t go well with her, you can always go for one of her twelve friends! In TokiMemo your attributes are measured similar to those in an RPG game, with stats for science, arts, athletics, stress, humanity, knowledge, etc. if, for example you spend too much time playing sports, your studying stats will decrease and all of the girls will think you’re a dunce. The key to success is to keep your popularity high without getting a “bad rep” amongst the girls. A girl’s feelings toward you can be gauged by her expression when she faces you. She can either be sad, indifferent, happy or just plain “sparkling”! With help and advice from your buddy, Yoshio, you strive to reach your ultimate goal: Love.
The game play of TokiMemo as you might of already guessed, could be quite challenging, due to the language barrier, and although the game is entirely in Japanese (for the most part) it does remain quite easy to play, just not follow along with the dialogue. And most of the time it’s just point and click type playing, you simply access menus and what not. But something that made TokiMemo so much fun is all of the Mini games, that were thrown in along the way. For instance, during certain parts of the year they have you partake in the Annual School Athletic Meeting. And that ranging from activity’s like the 100m dash, 3 Legged Race and a quite challenging event where you balance a ball, on a tennis racket. Something else I found hilarious along the way, is that when certain events take place, it will trigger a fight, which is basically a huge Final Fantasy Spoof, got to love getting the chance to beat up on the school bully! And finally, something else that is added for enjoyment is a really fun over top shooter, that you can get by attending the Computer class long enough. So as you can see, the game doesn’t entirely remain a simple point and click game.
The graphics in TokiMemo are very well drawn Anime styled pictures, and pallets. Although the anime sequence does remain to look a bit grainy on the Saturn it’s really nothing to complain about. You will not find any revolutionary 3D graphics displayed, it all remains in a classic 2D form, which moves very smoothly on the Saturn. I really enjoy the chibi style in Animations, and add’s that classic Anime feel to the game, which I for one enjoy.
The sound and voice acting for TokiMemo, couldn’t have been better! even if you don’t understand a word of Japanese, just listen to the emotion and true vocal composites which were displayed in TokiMemo, at times, you might catch yourself off guard and really think you are talking to one of the girls. The music, was arranged superbly, if you let the game sit idle for a moment in the beginning you will be treated with a really catchy song, which was an A+ on my list, as well as a Video to include with. The in-game music, are definitely rpg influenced scores, which in all actuality go quite well with the pace of the game. I can’t really complain here.
And now for the cash crop of the game, the Entertainment! yes, this is where the game scored the mother load. I myself only know a few simple Japanese phrases, and don’t know a single piece Kanji, but this game still stands as one of the most fun and addictive games, I have played yet. The idea of dating girls, and building up your character on the popularity chain is just too much fun to pass up. Although often times, you will be kicking yourself, wondering what the heck is going on, it still remains very fun throughout the whole game.
Overall, I would highly suggest this game to anyone who fancy’s themselves in Anime, or Simulations. I can guarantee once you get started, you will not be able to put the controller down. The only gripe I can clearly point is the huge Language barrier, so if you think loads of Kanji, and Japanese dialogue will effect your gameplay, then stear clear of this title.