Read Only Memories: Neurodiver Review

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver Review – A Cyberpunk Noir Overflowing with References

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver Review
Subtitle: A neo-noir adventure with a quirky cast and a penchant for video game references
Developer: Midboss
Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
Release Date: May 16, 2024
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Available On: Steam
Price: TBA
Reviewed On: Intel Core-i7-11700F, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, Windows 10

Cover art of Read Only Memories: Neurodiver featuring main character Luna.
Image Credit: GamesHorizon


Read Only Memories: Neurodiver plunges players into a world where the creators’ passions for anime, manga, and pop culture aren’t just sprinkled in but are poured in with abandon. This neo-noir adventure is both an ode to and a critique of our media-obsessed culture, wrapped in a vibrant pixel art aesthetic. While the game is brimming with charm and style, its fixation on media references sometimes overshadows its core narrative, presenting a mixed bag that will either enthrall or exhaust its audience.

Plot and Gameplay

At the heart of Neurodiver’s narrative is Luna, a psychic detective also known as ES88. Luna’s ability to dive into people’s memories is facilitated by the Neurodiver, a squid-like creature that she carries around in a tank. This clairvoyant cuttlefish allows Luna to explore the deepest recesses of people’s minds, uncovering secrets, memories, and clues that drive the story forward.

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Luna’s primary mission revolves around solving complex cases in a cyberpunk world where corporate overreach and personal freedoms are constantly at odds. Accompanying Luna is Gate, her burly minder and love interest, who provides both physical protection and emotional support. Together, they navigate a series of episodic adventures, each revealing more about the characters and the world they inhabit.

Visuals and Art Style

Neurodiver’s visual presentation is one of its standout features. The game employs a vibrant and expressive pixel art style that brings its cyberpunk world to life. The environments are lush with detail, featuring smoothly dithering gradients, pixel ginkgo trees, and neon-lit lamp posts that evoke a sense of futuristic nostalgia. Characters are rendered with a broad range of facial expressions that effectively convey their emotions, from shock and embarrassment to sleepiness and anger.

The artistic influences are clear: Neurodiver draws heavily from Konami’s Snatcher and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This fusion creates a unique visual identity that stands out in the crowded field of indie games. The game’s color schemes and costume designs are meticulously crafted, further enhancing the immersive experience.

Themes and Narrative

Neurodiver builds upon the themes explored in its predecessor, 2064: Read Only Memories. Body modification, corporate overreach, privacy, personal freedom, and gender norms are all explored within the game’s narrative. However, the primary focus is on memory and personal identity. As Luna delves into the memories of suspects and victims, players are invited to explore the complex interplay between past experiences and present identities.

These themes are woven into the fabric of the story, often surfacing subtly through character interactions and environmental storytelling. However, there are moments when the thematic exploration is more overt, addressing issues head-on in a way that can feel heavy-handed. Despite this, the game’s exploration of memory and identity is compelling, offering a rich narrative experience for those willing to delve into its depths.

Characters and Voice Acting

Neurodiver’s cast of characters is colorful and quirky, each bringing their own unique flavor to the story. Luna, the protagonist, embodies the manic pixie dream girl archetype, with her chipper attitude and determination to “do my best!” Gate, her biobot-bodyguard, is the stoic and steady counterpart, providing a grounding presence in the midst of the game’s zaniness. Other characters, like the secretive boss Fortuna and the hacker Tomcat, fit neatly into familiar archetypes, each playing their roles with gusto.

Voice acting in Neurodiver is generally well-executed, though not without its quirks. The performances are energetic and engaging, but some accents and overly enthusiastic deliveries can be jarring. For example, Luna’s wide-eyed exclamation about the Golden Gate Bridge feels out of place given her familiarity with the landmark. Similarly, Harold, a co-worker in the psionics lab, is intentionally grating but can be difficult to endure during longer scenes.

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Referential Content

One of Neurodiver’s defining characteristics is its dense web of references to various media. The game is packed with nods to manga, anime, fashion, sci-fi, and more, creating a layered experience that rewards players who share these interests. Cameos from notable figures in the adventure game genre, such as SWERY and Suda51, add a meta-fictional element that will delight some players and frustrate others.

These references are both a strength and a weakness. On one hand, they create a sense of community and shared knowledge among players who recognize them. On the other, they can break immersion and distract from the core narrative. At times, Neurodiver feels more like a patchwork quilt of influences than a cohesive story, with the constant barrage of references pulling players out of the game world.

Immersion and Suspension of Disbelief

In adventure games, maintaining immersion is crucial. Neurodiver’s relentless referencing can undermine this, reminding players of other worlds and breaking the illusion of its own. The game frequently acknowledges its status as a piece of fiction, with characters making meta comments like “she sounds like a comic book character!” or “that sounds like a setup for a horror novel.” These moments can be jarring, pulling players out of the narrative and into a space where they are constantly aware of the game’s constructed nature.

For some, this meta approach will be a source of joy, providing a series of inside jokes and winks that enhance the experience. For others, it will be a barrier to fully engaging with the story. The balance between these perspectives will largely determine each player’s enjoyment of Neurodiver.

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Gameplay Mechanics

Beyond its narrative and visual elements, Neurodiver incorporates gameplay mechanics that blend visual novel conventions with light puzzle-solving. The primary mode of interaction is through dialogue boxes, with players clicking through conversations to advance the story. Occasionally, puzzles require players to clear glitchy screen artifacts by dragging items from their inventory or examining the environment for key objects.

While these puzzles add some variety, they are not particularly challenging or innovative. Players looking for a deeper adventure game experience may find this aspect of Neurodiver lacking. However, for those who enjoy narrative-driven experiences with occasional interactive elements, the game’s mechanics will be sufficient to keep them engaged.


Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is a visually stunning and thematically rich game that struggles with its obsession with media references. Its vibrant pixel art and expressive character design create an immersive cyberpunk world, while its exploration of memory and identity offers a compelling narrative experience. However, the game’s constant nods to other media can be distracting, breaking immersion and detracting from the core story.

For players who share the developers’ passions for anime, manga, and pop culture, Neurodiver will be a delightful journey filled with Easter eggs and meta-humor. For others, the relentless referencing may prove overwhelming, overshadowing the game’s strengths and making it difficult to fully engage with the story.

Ultimately, Neurodiver is a game that wears its influences on its sleeve, for better or worse. It is a love letter to the media that inspired it, and for those who are on the same wavelength, it will be an unforgettable experience. For others, it may serve as a reminder that sometimes, less is more.

FAQs for Read Only Memories: Neurodiver

Q: What is Read Only Memories: Neurodiver about?

A: Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is a neo-noir adventure game set in a cyberpunk world. It follows psychic detective Luna, also known as ES88, who uses a creature called the Neurodiver to dive into people’s memories to solve cases. The game explores themes of memory, identity, body modification, and corporate overreach.

Q: Who are the main characters in the game?

A: The main characters include Luna (ES88), the psychic detective; Gate, her biobot-bodyguard and love interest; and various other quirky characters such as her boss Fortuna, the hacker Tomcat, and the annoying co-worker Harold.

Q: What platforms is Neurodiver available on?

A: Neurodiver is available on Windows and Mac. It can be purchased from Steam.

Q: When was Read Only Memories: Neurodiver released?

A: The game was released on May 16, 2024.

Q: How much does the game cost?

A: The price of Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is to be announced (TBA).

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Q: What is the gameplay like in Neurodiver?

A: Neurodiver combines visual novel elements with light puzzle-solving. Players progress through dialogue boxes and occasionally solve puzzles that involve dragging items from the inventory or examining the environment for key objects.

Q: What kind of art style does Neurodiver use?

A: Neurodiver features a vibrant pixel art style with expressive character designs and detailed environments. It draws visual inspiration from games like Konami’s Snatcher and the anime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

Q: Are there any notable themes explored in the game?

A: Yes, Neurodiver explores themes such as memory, personal identity, body modification, corporate overreach, privacy, and gender norms.

Q: Does Neurodiver include references to other media?

A: Yes, the game is packed with references to anime, manga, sci-fi, fashion, dating sims, horror movies, and arcade games. It also includes cameos from notable figures in the adventure game genre.

Q: What is the tone of the game?

A: The tone of Neurodiver is whimsical and kooky, often leaning into childlike humor and over-the-top quirkiness. This tone can be polarizing, with some players finding it charming and others finding it exhausting.

Q: How are the voice acting and character performances in Neurodiver?

A: The voice acting is generally well-delivered, though some accents and overly enthusiastic deliveries can be jarring. The characters are energetic and engaging, but their exaggerated personalities may not appeal to everyone.

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Q: What are some of the game’s strengths?

A: Neurodiver’s strengths include its stylish pixel art, vibrant world, expressive character designs, and compelling exploration of memory and identity. It also offers a rich narrative experience for fans of visual novels.

Q: What are some of the game’s weaknesses?

A: The game’s weaknesses include its over-reliance on media references, which can break immersion and distract from the core narrative. The light puzzle-solving elements may also be insufficient for players seeking a deeper adventure game experience.

Q: Who would enjoy playing Neurodiver?

A: Neurodiver will appeal to players who enjoy narrative-driven experiences with a strong visual style and those who share the developers’ passions for anime, manga, and pop culture. Fans of visual novels and cyberpunk themes will also find much to appreciate.

Q: Is there a continuation from the previous game, 2064: Read Only Memories?

A: Yes, Neurodiver continues themes and characters from 2064: Read Only Memories, exploring the aftermath of that game’s events and delving deeper into its cyberpunk world.

Q: What are some of the notable cameos and references in the game?

A: The game includes cameos from figures such as SWERY and Suda51, as well as nods to classic adventure games and other pop culture icons. These references can be delightful for some players but may be distracting for others.

Q: How does the game handle its meta-humor and references?

A: Neurodiver frequently breaks the fourth wall with meta comments and references to other media. This approach can be a source of joy for players who enjoy spotting these Easter eggs but may disrupt immersion for those looking for a more cohesive narrative.

Q: Where can I find more information or purchase the game?

A: More information and purchasing options for Read Only Memories: Neurodiver can be found on its [Steam page](

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