“Of all ruins, that of a noble mind is the most deplorable.” – Arthur Conan Doyle
We’ll Always Have Paris is a short but emotional game told from the perspective of Simon Smith, a man whose wife has dementia. It is a moving narrative experience about loving somebody with memory loss.
Developer: Cowleyfornia Studios
Released: 27th April 2022
Price: £2.59 – £3.99
The narrative is undoubtedly the focus of We’ll Always Have Paris and as such the gameplay is quite casual and minimal, with interactions being used to impress the emotional nature of the story and connect the player to the characters. Most of the game consists of clicking through dialogue and narration with a few minor choices that do not appear to have too much impact overall. There is a small selection of puzzles to complete such as a jigsaw of a ripped-up photo and a Scrabble-like word game. These increase the level of interactivity but remain relevant to the story and do not detract from it.
The simple mouse controls are intuitive and although the game is best played in one sitting there is an auto-save feature. This proved very helpful as the game did crash a couple of times while I was playing the word game – this seemed to happen when placing a letter tile in a certain position on the board.
We’ll Always Have Paris follows a man, Simon Smith, in his daily tasks as he comes to terms with his wife’s dementia. It is, unsurprisingly, a very emotional narrative told through both the minimalistic gameplay, the character’s internal monologue as well as conversation and interactions with others. The story is told in a sensitive but effective way that really conveys how difficult and upsetting such a situation can be.
We’ll Always Have Paris features simple 2D artwork in bright, block colours with no linework. The text UI sits at the bottom of the screen with the depiction of each scene above, all on a vibrant turquoise background. The visuals are clean and easy to look at and fit the style of gameplay, as well as the narrative, very well. The music consists of a single piano track, gentle and melodic with a subtle melancholy to it. Again, this fits the story and characters well and adds to the emotive nature of the experience.
We’ll Always Have Paris makes a large impact in its 30 – 60 minutes of gameplay and is a truly emotional experience. It offers simple block-colour visuals, immersive music, and a nice level of interactivity. It tells a harrowing but sadly all too common story of love, illness, and loss and does so in a respectful but honest way that really impresses the complexity and sadness of the situation. Despite the crashes and the fact that it brought tears to my eyes, I very much enjoyed this game and found it incredibly moving. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for something short, and simple but full of honest emotion and sincerity.
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