Dear Mom Review

A story between mother and daughter, in Dear Mom.

A review copy of Dear Mom was provided for this review. No compensation was involved and all thoughts are my own.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 15 minutes

Dear Mom. Floating pink hearts along a dirt path in a grass field. Large trees line the clearing and a cloudy sky is overhead.

Released Feb 1st, 2021 by Ethos Games

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Decent graphics
Major Cons:
  • Very short
Minor Pros:
  • Straightforward gameplay
Minor Cons:
  • Moderate voice acting
Dear Mom. A view of a driveway with trees in soft red light. Floating silver hearts lead through it.

Floating hearts guide the player

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In-Depth Review

Dear Mom is a short adventure game, focusing on the relationship between a young woman and her mother. As the player explores the house and surrounding land, they can trigger both dialog from the main character and memories of their mother’s advice. Floating hearts direct the player around the scenery to trigger the voiceover dialog. Players can also interact with items when the sun cursor appears to trigger memories of the mother’s advice in the form of text in the top right corner.

Dear Mom. Interior of a read house with floating silver hearts. Text on the screen talks about loving one's childhood and accepting scolding as a hidden form of love.

Voiced dialog is also displayed on the screen

The biggest struggle of Dear Mom is how short it is. I played through the game in 15 minutes while interacting and exploring everything I could find. While the game aims to make an impact with its story, it doesn’t have enough time to build up the characters and ends up feeling generic and predictable. The voice acting also feels a bit unnatural and like the actor is trying too hard, lessening the impact of the story.

Dear Mom. Image of a purple bed in a red room with a quote in the top right corner saying: Make your bed.

Advice from mom is displayed in the top right when interacting with objects

Dear Mom also feels off in terms of movement. While exploring the house, it’s incredibly easy to accidentally walk up on top of furniture. The game also has some strange coding around elevation, with the character seeming to sink into the ground later in the game. Maybe this was intentional given the narrative, but the execution felt bizarre. The graphics also looked quite strange if the character dipped below the surface of the water.

Dear Mom. Image of many books on a table in a red room with a quote in the top right corner saying: I just want what's best for you!

Most memories of the mother are found in the house

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Recommendation

Overall, I found Dear Mom to be too short to be enjoyable. It struggled to establish its characters and tell their story. The graphics were decent, but navigating the world had some strange hiccups. The voice acting also felt a bit forced, like it was trying too hard for a dramatic effect. I can only recommend Dear Mom as a demo-like piece to study and learn from.

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