Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER Review – A shallow dive

Reviewed May 16, 2024 on PC


PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5


May 16, 2024





Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER is the long-awaited sequel to 2064: Read Only Memories – originally scheduled for release in 2020, and now finally hitting the virtual shelves. Billed as a “Psy-Fi” Adventure, you play as a psychic agent who can dive into peoples’ memories with the help of a bio-engineered squid-like creature named the Neurodiver. The premise is compelling, and the world is ripe for exploration – but sadly, this game can’t quite make good on its promise.

You play as Luna Cruz – code name ES88 – a young Esper (a human with psychic abilities) who works for the mysterious MINERVA corporation. Since joining MINERVA, she’s been stuck with small and menial tasks, but that all changes when she is given her first big assignment. A rogue Esper is on the loose – a psychic menace by the name of Golden Butterfly, who has been fracturing the memories of Neo-SF’s citizens. With the Neurodiver in hand, as well as her security-guard-slash-ex-military-robot-lesbian-love-interest GATE, it’s up to you to track down Golden Butterfly, repair the memories of their victims, and figure out why they are doing this.

The game offers a fantastic premise, and one that had me hooked straight away. It’s almost all fully voiced, and the characters are charming and likeable from the jump – there’s an obvious romantic tension between ES88 and GATE that’s incredibly fun to watch play out over the course of the game. The art direction is gorgeous, with each character crammed full of personality and charm, and environments filled with digital life. The dive sequences (when you jump into a character’s memories) are the standouts here, taking you to some really cool and imaginative locations. The soundtrack won me over immediately too, with some truly bopping tracks that feel perfect for the environment – especially in the dives.

Magical Girls unite

NEURODIVER has some gorgeous presentation decisions at play as well – the whole game is framed like a magical girl anime, a genre that our protagonist happens to be obsessed with. It’s complete with title screens as if it were cutting to commercial, and hearing one of the characters just say the word “Neurodiver” over these screens truly never got old. At the end of every day, as ES88 goes to sleep, she dreams of herself as the main character of one of these animes – and as the plot progresses, she starts to receive more and more foreboding premonitions in these dreams. It’s a really inventive and fun concept that’s executed brilliantly. There’s also a TONNE of gay flirting in this game, from the second you boot it up to the moment the credits roll. It’s gorgeously written and endearing.

“I very quickly found myself annoyed at the limitations of the experience”

A quick note on the predecessor to this game – 2064: Read Only Memories is an absolute must-play for fans of the genre. Neo-SF is an incredible setting, and the world-building is the star of the show. The game is filled with queer characters and relationships, people with wildly varying identities (including Hybrids, humans who have spliced their DNA with that of animals or even plants). The existence of those identities is the backdrop upon which the game questions what it means to be a person. Returning to Neo-SF in NEURODIVER was an absolute treat, and felt like coming home to an old friend – but I very quickly found myself annoyed at the limitations of the experience.

While 2064 was a true point-and-click game, NEURODIVER feels much more like a visual novel with some small interactive sections. You’re constantly told explicitly what you need to do, where you need to go, and sometimes not even allowed to explore outside those confines. You’re not picking up items and using them to solve puzzles (except for in the dives – more on that later), you’re just moving through screens as the game shepherds you between plot points. A lot of the game takes place on the Minerva campus, which feels from the outside like a huge structure – but we only ever get to see a few rooms and a couple of corridors. The game takes a kind of cyclical structure – wake up, get the Neurodiver, head into MINERVA, talk to your boss, talk to your other boss, go and do a mission.

A city of limitations

When you go on a mission, this usually means watching a brief travel cutscene (potentially with some dialogue), arriving at a new location, and talking to the person you’re there for. This is where you get a small glimpse at the bigger setting of Neo-SF, and all it has to offer – and then you quickly realise that you won’t be allowed to explore it. Instead, you’re once again confined to a small area as you figure out what this person needs, get to know them a bit, and then get ready to dive into their memories. I wanted so badly to see more of the city, to meet some random people on the street and hear their stories, to explore more of this beautiful world that they had constructed. Sadly, by the time the credits roll, it’s left feeling more like a bottle episode than a full season.

The dives themselves are the most interesting part of the game, allowing you to essentially ‘play out’ a character’s memory as them. They come along for the ride too, providing commentary and discussing what’s happening with you, which is a gorgeous touch that allows for some wonderful character moments. As you explore the dives, you gather clues from your surroundings, which you can then use to fix the corruptions you find in the memories. To fix a corruption, you drag and drop the correct clues onto the corruption and hit Fix. If you get the clues wrong, you try again. You can sometimes figure out the right clues to use based on where the corruption has popped up, but other times there’s no discernible logic to be followed – just guessing. You never have a huge number of clues at once, so trial and error is a pretty quick process. But that is the extent of the puzzle design in this game. You’re never required to really figure anything out, or make deductive jumps in your logic, and you never really feel like you’ve accomplished anything. The whole experience just feels a bit hollow.

A fragmented experience

NEURODIVER has some wonderful ideas, an engaging premise, gorgeous presentation, and intriguing puzzle concepts – but it never really does anything with them. At the start of the game it feels like some big mysteries are laid out before you – what does MINERVA actually do? Are you working for the bad guys? Why are people around the city being attacked by this psychic menace? Right up until the last act, these questions still drive you forward – I was waiting for the twist, the moment that the game would really take off – but as I realised that the game was wrapping up, the experience turned sour. Without going into spoiler territory, the plot wraps itself up a bit too neatly without answering any of my big questions.

The whole experience clocks in at around 4 hours, and it’s sadly left feeling like the first act of a much more expansive, exciting game. There is nothing wrong with a game being short, but this really feels like it was swinging for some bigger things, and suddenly clamps down on them at the end. Your impact on the outcome of the plot is basically limited to two decisions that you make towards the end of the game, and they’re not particularly compelling, with very little moral grey area. There are still some fantastic story moments, and the concepts of identity in this world are given some time to shine, but at the end of NEURODIVER, you don’t feel like you’ve got what you came for.




  • A welcome return to the world of Neo-SF
  • Gorgeous art design
  • Some excellent queer writing and gay flirting
  • Fantastic soundtrack


  • Extremely simple gameplay and puzzles
  • No sense of exploration and discovery
  • An ending that feels rushed and doesn't answer the big questions
  • Runtime that feels too short

Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER has a lot to like for fans of 2064: Read Only Memories, but falls far short of the scope and impact of its predecessor. The gorgeous design, intriguing world, and charming characters create a huge amount of promise, but the lack of freedom, extremely simplistic puzzle design, and unsatisfying conclusion make for an experience that feels underwhelming and disappointing. If you’re looking for a short, queer narrative with a cool futuristic setting then there’s still enjoyment to be had, but temper your expectations going in.