Also available on Android, iOS, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/25/2022 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Every now and then, you play a game that you expect to be just okay, and it ends up just completely blowing you away. Bury Me, My Love was that game for me. It’s also an example of when bringing a mobile game to Switch isn’t just a pointless cash grab; this may have originally been a mobile game that makes the most sense on mobile, but this is no Forge of Empires or Candy Crush. This is a game that should honestly be ported to PlayStation and Xbox, too, just so that more people can have a chance to play it.
Bury Me, My Love tells the story of Nour, a Syrian woman fleeing the civil war as a refugee, as she makes the long and perilous journey to Europe. An important thing to note about the title is that this isn’t a “you know the end before you get there” situation where you know Nour is going to die on the way; “bury me, my love” is a common Syrian phrase that basically means “Be careful and don’t die before I do.” The entire game is a text message conversation between Nour and her husband, Majd, as whom you play. As far as gameplay format goes, it’s basically a visual novel, but the fact that you literally only ever see a phone screen makes it pretty unique as far as visual novels go. There are no character animations, and there’s no CGI; it’s just chat bubbles, the occasional picture message, and a map you can pull up to track Nour’s journey. It’s totally unique, at least as far as games I’ve played go, and it helps to really get you invested in the characters and the story because you feel like you’re the one texting Nour even if you do only have two or three options whenever the game allows you to make a dialogue choice.
One of the great things about Bury Me, My Love is how much replay value there is; there are a ton of options in this game, and the endings can vary wildly. Will Nour make it to Germany, will she end up stuck in Turkey, or will she end up going all the way to France? As you converse with her throughout her journey and give her advice on what she should do in various situations, where she ends up and what she experiences changes dramatically. The game is only a few hours long per playthrough, but you’ll need several playthroughs to see all of the various endings Nour’s journey can have. Knowing that each choice can have huge impacts on the ending and that there are, as far as I can tell, no truly pointless choices makes some of these choices feel pretty stressful for the player as you don’t always have any real information to go on regarding what the better choice would be; you’ve gotta just go with your gut and guess.
The thing I love the most about this game is how it really highlights the Syrian refugee crisis. The game is several years old by this point, so the situation in Syria isn’t quite what it was when the game was made, but Syria is still the largest displacement crisis in the world with over five and a half million Syrian refugees according to the United Nations, and Syria isn’t the only refugee crisis even in that part of the world. While this is just a short indie game, it highlights the crisis in a personal way by showing you the perils these refugees endure just to have a chance at living in peace and safety. The game itself may be a work of fiction, but it’s very much based on real situations and real people, and those people deserve attention and representation.
Bury Me, My Love is, in my opinion, a must-play for Switch owners. Hell, even if you don’t have a Switch, you probably have a cell phone, and given that the game is entirely contained within a text message exchange, it’s perfectly suited for mobile. Even being fictional, it puts a much more personal face on the issue of refugees and asylum seekers, in a world increasingly disrupted by civil unrest and climate change, we could all use a bit of sympathy and compassion where refugees are concerned. It’ll only take you a few hours to finish a single playthrough, and it’s a really great, moving story, so give it a download on your phone, Switch, or computer. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.