Dear Mom: My Letter to You is a visual novel in development by Mangoku418. Take the role of Ayame Kowasaki, a high school student who is trying to regain control over her life after her mother’s death.
VN Game Den was notified of this game via our review request form.
Please be aware that Dear Mom: My Letter to You mentions the death by suicide of a parent and how that affects one’s life. Take proper care before reading our review.
Dear Mom: My Letter to You tackles a heavy subject. Ayame witnesses her mother’s death by suicide and blames herself for it. The game takes place a year after the incident, when Ayame is returning to high school and repeating her second year.
She not only has to come to terms with her mother’s passing, but also readjust to her school life. Will she make new friends? Converse with old ones? That is all up for you to decide. I like the fact that the power of how Ayame reacts is placed in the player’s hands. You can respond to people in a rude way if you’re feeling angry about a situation, or you can choose to take a friendlier approach.
Ayame faces very real challenges. She’s full of anxiety after returning to school. She’s upset about the other students whispering about her. She’s also faced with having to confront people whom she used to be friends with. The story is handled in a tender way, making sure to cover all bases of Ayame’s emotions in a believable way.
The art in Dear Mom: My Letter to You has an upbeat feel to it despite the game’s subject matter. The UI has bright, vibrant colors and bubble text. The music is even lively in happier spots. The CGs are particularly beautiful, showcasing the characters very well, though they are in a different style than the sprite art. This visual novel isn’t trying to make you wallow in what happened to Ayame. It’s a game about new beginnings, and the vivacious color scheme confirms that.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the game for me is the voice acting. Though it’s only partial, a good chunk of the lines are voiced. Each character has their own distinct voice played by a talented voice actor! Not only that, but you can choose to raise or lower the volume of individual voices or mute them entirely.
Dear Mom: My Letter to You introduces a stat-raising mechanic called “social stats.” There are five different stats to maintain: Charisma, Knowledge, Craftsmanship, Kindness, and Determination. You can gain these by talking to or hanging out with other characters. You’ll need to earn a certain amount to grow your bond with specific characters and unlock activities. I’m hoping to see more of this explored in the full version of the game. That said, it is introduced pretty late into the demo, so I wasn’t aware there was any stat raising until about an hour in.
Dear Mom: My Letter to You is a hopeful tale that explores the heavy topic of loss and what comes after. If you’re looking for an exploratory tale that touches on healing through friendship, definitely check this game out.