Platform: PC | Release Date: April 12, 2020 | Hours Played: 1
Communication in today’s society is all about the here and now. When reaching out to someone is all but a click away, we don’t value human connection as much as we used to.
Dear Devere is a fully voiced, visual novel about the correspondence between Angela Bard and one mysterious Mr Devere. A throwback to the humbler times of letter writing, the game consists of reading letters that the two send to one another. What may seem like a straightforward concept ends up becoming a beautiful love story that blossoms between two forlorn yet connected individuals.
The concept from its setting to the illustrations themselves have incredible thought put into their creation. It shows the developer’s clear passion and knowledge on this topic. Although the same cannot be said for myself, playing the game evoked a sense of nostalgia in me as if I had lived through it myself.
It’s set in 1935, a turbulent period to what would eventually become the start of the second world war. However, for a young woman named Angela Bard, her biggest problems are her friends as she vents her frustration in a letter addressed to no one. Much to her surprise, she receives a response from a Mr Devere and thus their love story begins.
While their interactions are seemingly in present time, the plot is split like a novel – with a prologue, epilogue and three acts. In between these acts, we are given glimpses of ‘another world’ outside of these letters, though its purpose is initially kept convoluted.
But this underlying mystery is overshadowed by the letters themselves. The options in the game are little to none, with only one true set of choices that determine the ending. Aside from that, it plays like a kinetic novel, with small little inserts of option to create a small sense of agency before continuing its intended story.
With every new letter, we are given a new illustration of its envelope, decorated in a way that represents the charms of the characters.
The contents itself are well written, managing to form personalities through just their words. These are aided by incredible voice acting of Angela (Chintarmanya Vivian) and Mr Devere (Mike Young) themselves, who create such emotive and convincing interactions between one another. The combination of all these somehow allow us to form an image of the two despite never seeing how they look.
Mr Devere’s character in particular, manages to enchant not only Angela, but the player aswell. While we never learn more than what the letters reveal, the demeanour in his words, and the comfort he finds in her letters paint an image of a lonely but gentle soul.
With Angela, we know that as a young woman in the 1930s, she would have to marry a rich and successful bachelor and ultimately become a housewife. But she finds herself connecting with a stranger without knowing his name or his face.
It paints itself as the romantic novel like ones prevalent in her time with its own similar dramas and conflicts. Their letters seem so ethereal and timeless that we forget that there are other characters living in their world – ones who can see Angela writing and posting them.
Going back to the illustrations themselves, at face value, these seem like beautifully crafted collages made from the developer’s imagination. However these are rife full of little details and references that given the right person, would be spoilt to decipher.
The music while subtle helps to create an incredibly relaxing atmosphere that blends into the background. Even when it changes, it really makes an impact on the mood of the letter such as casual to romantic overtones.
If I were to rate it as any other game, I would’ve said the game is too short – but rating the game any lower than a 10 is a disservice.
The game’s execution was made as intended by the developer. Any elements, simple or complicated, were intentionally done that way.
The way it was written as if two people stumbled upon it and were genuinely curious to learn about one another. It was as informal as a person would write a personal letter, yet somehow that itself was executed perfectly.
Because it’s so short, it is hard to accurately represent the game without personally experience it for yourself. If you’re a lover of romance, regardless of what kind, Dear Devere will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart.
There is also a devblog entry that explains the inspiration behind the game and also some insight to the meanings of some letters.
I was recommended to play the game by the developer, Katy133.