Bury me, my Love review
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Bury me, my Love review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on November 2nd, 2017
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TTYL
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We need more stories like this in games, but perhaps they should be more game-like.

Developer: Plug In Digital

Price: $2.99
Version: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone SE

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Bury me, my Love is a text-based adventure game that gives a small glimpse into the Syrian refugee crisis. The game takes place entirely on a simulated phone interface, but I hesitate to compare it to anything like Another Lost Phone or SIMULACRA. Instead of being a game about phone snooping, you play the role of a man who is trying to keep in touch with his wife as she tries to make her way to Europe. The tale that unfolds in Bury me, my Love is both harrowing and illuminating, but its storytelling suffers from the game’s bland presentation.

Text adventure

The entirety of Bury me, my Love is played out as a text message conversation. You play as Majd, a concerned husband who is trying to be helpful and supportive to his wife, Nour, as she makes her way from Syria to Europe. As things happen to Nour, she updates you via text, and you get to choose from a handful of pre-generated text responses to push the story forward.

This is a pretty grand departure from a lot of other games that put you in control of a fake phone. Rather than guessing email passwords and looking at archived messages from a stranger’s phone, Bury me, my Love takes place over real-time and puts you in the shoes of the phone’s owner. This means that play sessions will start and stop over the course of the day, as if Nour is really on her journey and texting you as if you’re her husband about it. If you don’t have the patience to wait around for Nour to text, you can also disable the delayed pacing of the game, but doing so takes away from the game’s realism and tension.

Branching paths

As you exchange texts, you’ll frequently have to decide between different pieces of advice to give Nour. These questions range anywhere from picking modes of transportation to issues of budgeting, and all can affect where Nour ends up going and how the game’s story ends.

There are quite a few endings to Bury me, my Love, but each ending leads you to a pretty similar conclusion: The situation that Majd and Nour are experiencing is pretty horrible and (unfortunately) not particularly uncommon. At any every turn of Nour’s journey, she is in constantly precarious positions and there is very little that Majd can do about it. All you can do is stay in contact with her and give advice, but those small communications can be the determining factor between Nour making it to her next destination and not.

A long journey

The characters and dialogue in Bury me, my Love are smartly written to the point that the game reads like a true-to-life texting conversation between real people. This helps make for a game story that stays interesting on your first playthrough, but it maybe isn’t enough to support multiple playthroughs of the game.

Bury me, my Love lacks visual variety and quality checkpointing to make revisiting it feel particularly rewarding. The entire game takes place on a text messaging interface, and—although there’s the occasional exchange of photos or emojis—Bury me, my Love’s presentation can mostly be described as pretty one note. This, combined with the fact that getting multiple endings in Bury me, my Love requires that you start the game from the very beginning, makes the prospect of diving back into the experience for its other endings not so appealing.

The bottom line

Bury me, my Love is a game with some quality writing and a fascinating subject, but the rest of it is lacking. As a result, it’s unlikely you’ll want to discover more than one of the game’s 19 endings by the time you’re done with it. The game’s presentation is just a little too bland and its mechanics are too light to make it feel like a game that will have a lasting impact on you, which is a shame. There should be more stories out there like this, and it's too bad that this one doesn't present its particularly well.

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