Mother Tongue

by Nell Raban

Slice of life

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Member Reviews

Number of Reviews: 8
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Immersive and Unique, December 6, 2020
by brwarner (Vancouver, BC)

My girlfriend and I had a good time playing this one in bed last night. Itís the perfect length for its premise and challenges you to learn a few basic words of Tagalog while exploring the inter-generational relationship between a mother and daughter.

I really liked how the game introduced you to the quirks of the language. Word order and spelling changes based on context that the mother canít quite explain over text because itís ďvery complicated.Ē I only speak English, but I can just imagine trying to justify even some of our simplest conjunction rules. That being said, this isnít Duolingo. The challenges are short and solvable with what youíve learned, and when you get it wrong itís fun to see your mom encourage you and try to explain exactly why the right answer is right. Itís cute.

What I would love to have seen explored better was the tension between the two characters. In the gameís early choices, I tended to express interest in learning more about Tagalog and my cultural ancestry, but near the end the game railroaded me into (Spoiler - click to show)blowing my mom off and explaining to her that learning a language will not make me Filipino; that I am already American and my mom canít just suddenly fix that over text. Iím not an immigrant, and thatís probably true, but I didnít feel as though I was playing a story about that until it was suddenly sprung on me. I thought this was about a moment of connection.

To be clear, I have objection to that theme at all. I think itís very interesting. I just think it needed to be more consistent. I believe the choices we are offered as players tell us about the relationship and character. They should be limited based on what the author wants us to explore and learn. I just found it inconsistent. If this interactive tension existed throughout, it would really bring the game to the next level. I think the possibilities for this 15 minute game could be quite profound.

Great work!