You would think the plights of migrants and refugees are mostly topics for discussion on media outlets via news reports and documentaries. Rarely have their plights been explored in detail on mainstream media and even more so on video games.
Take for example Bury Me, My Love – a text-based adventure game which follows the journey of a Syrian migrant towards finding an asylum in the relatively safe embrace of Europe. Bury Me, My Love tells a detail-by-detail documented fictional story via an in-game instant text messaging app. Inspired by real world events, the game has introduced us to two main protagonists – the Syrian refugee Nour and her husband Majd.
Due to the unfortunate events in Syria, Nour decided to seek asylum in Europe. The game starts off with Nour sending a selfie to Majd informing him the onset of her journey. From the get go, Nour continuously updates her husband Majd about her status via text messages. She also gives updates on what’s going on around her and at times sends selfies or pictures of the area she’s in. The entirety of the game revolves around the two exchanging texts and a few selfies. You, as a player, take the role of Majd who was left behind Syria.
Bury Me, My Love has 19 different endings with widely divergent outcomes. As Majd, the player guides Nour by giving her instructions and directions. The player can also offer moral support and encouraging words to Nour. This can be done by choosing the best reply between the dialogue options, emoticons and selfies included. However, it is best to be mindful of your choices as these will impact the ending you’re aiming for. Your decisions matter so watch out how they shape Nour’s fate. You can also track Nour’s whereabouts on a digital map via gps.
As the story unfolds, you get to see the couple’s light-hearted conversation with banters and arguments in-between. You also get to see the couple exchanging funny quips, inside-jokes, and heartfelt encouragements. Bury Me, My Love is text-heavy and would likely take you hours to get the best ending. Unfortunately, no checkpoints have been included in the game. There is also no saving which means you have to restart from the beginning each run until you achieve the best ending or until you get all 19 endings. There are also 50 locations available for Nour to discover.
Bury Me, My Love has previously been released for mobile devices and is best played vertically. Fortunately, the Switch version has the option to rotate the interface in handheld mode so that the screen resembles a mobile phone. It also makes the text bigger. While touch screen is supported, the controls are clunky and unresponsive. For a better experience, use the Joy-cons while detached.
Bury Me, My Love’s narrative is exquisitely written. It is truly compelling and succeeds in exposing one of the societal issues that has been usually overlooked. What it lacks in the visuals department, it makes up for the plot that is engaging and timely. That said, the game’s Switch version is not without minor flaws as stated above. I also hope the game does not immediately transition to the next day since you can’t read the last message sent. As you cannot go back to the messages once the day elapsed, you now miss that last message. It’s very minor issue which can easily be patched via a small update.
- Compelling and exquisitely written narrative
- High replay value
- Promotes social awareness
- No checkpoints and you cannot save
- Gets too tedious reading the lines over and over
- Unresponsive touch controls
VERDICT: A very remarkable soup that is truly an eye-opener once consumed. Not entirely presentable but the taste is enough to make you ask for seconds.
A review copy was provided by the publisher for this review.