In the hilariously titled Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers you take on the role of nosy parker and part-time Jodie Foster look-a-like Rosemary Reed. Rosemary takes it upon herself to investigate the disappearance of a young girl via a bit of breaking and entering at the spooky and kooky Felton mansion. Little does she know the aforementioned mansion holds a fair few unpleasant secrets, including, but not limited to, a naked, sickle-wielding old man and a nightmare-fuelling red-garbed nun. Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers was developed by Stormind Games and was published by Darril Arts. It has appeared on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One and released on Switch on August 30th 2019 for £26.99.
Re-mothered: Tormented Fathers plays a little like a combination of the first Resident Evil and Clocktower. This means an emphasis on simple puzzle-solving while being pursued by various “stalkers”; dogged, over-powered menaces who prowl the corridors and rooms of the house looking to slice and skewer our intrepid stickybeak. For a more recent comparison, imagine Alien Isolation with the alien replaced by a nearly-nude OAP. Brr.
Rosemary is fairly helpless against the stalkers, given that she is dressed in high-heels and a tight-fighting skirt-suit. She is both noisy and slow, and enemies will generally notice her the moment she decides to stop walking like she has shat her briefs and pick up the pace. She does, however, have a couple of tricks up her sleeve. Littered across the environment are consumable defensive weapons and diversionary items, which give Rosemary a chance to slow her pursuers and find a hiding place, or at least to try to get far enough away that the bad ‘un loses interest.
The problem here is that Rosemary’s enemies move very quickly, and often recover from being attacked before you have the chance to find your bearings. If an enemy can see you, you cannot hide, nor can you save your progress. If Rosemary is running her pursuer immediately knows where she is, but not running allows them to catch up and find her again. If Rosemary is grabbed by an enemy without a defensive weapon she will be killed immediately. This makes traversing the mansion a tense and occasionally frustrating experience as coming across an enemy often results in a game over.
Puzzles are generally very basic, and typically involve finding an item which allows you to find another item, and so on. The challenge usually arises from having to identify quest items in amongst the abundance of defensive and diversionary items littered around the environment, and also from only being able to save and heal at the handful of mirrors which are placed through the mansion.
Unfortunately the Switch port of Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers is full of bugs, some of which severely hamper the experience. During my play-through, at a climactic moment in the story, a stalker got stuck in a wall and was unable to participate in a tense chase sequence (I soldiered on regardless). That same character got stuck in the floor in a later section. At one point involving a particularly irritating sequence of quick-time events dying did not trigger an automatic restart, meaning every time I didn’t react in time I was forced to quit back to the title screen and re-load. One can only conclude that the Switch port was not adequately play-tested, and this is pretty inexcusable. Re-mothered: Tormented Fathers is not a long game, and for entire sections not to work as they’re supposed to be a massive problem.
Another issue is the game’s writing, particularly in the newspaper articles and notes you find lying around the place. The script was presumably written in another language and translated to English, and the translation job isn’t great. Entire sentences fail to make any sense, and there are misspellings and grammatical goofs all over the place. It might seem like a minor gripe to some, but Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers is a narrative-focused game and it took me out of the experience that the lore was so sloppily presented.
The process of porting Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers to Switch was not easy, and the game looked extremely rough upon release, with awful textures and a jittery frame-rate. Several improvements have been made and Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers generally looks fine now. Unfortunately, it appears that the job of improving the visuals was vacated following the improvements to opening chapters, and a late-game section in which Rosemary traverses a body of water looks particularly bad. Some of the cut-scenes involving stalker attacks also don’t look right, with weapons appearing back to front and faces immediately being covered with black blood as soon as aforementioned weapons touch them.
The audio in Re-mothered: Tormented Fathers is a mixed bag. The soundtrack features a couple of jazz ballads which are employed pretty well. Music is otherwise used sparingly, allowing the player to focus on the sound of their own quickening heartbeat.
Re-mothered: Tormented Fathers features good voice acting, but the script is often hokey and confusing. Enemies are extremely talkative, and it’s genuinely frightening to hear certain stalkers are nearby, especially combined with sinister audio cues. The issue is that it’s really difficult to tell where an enemy is by listening to their voice alone, mainly due to the lack of spatial consideration in terms of the audio processing. If an enemy is on the floor above you they will often sound like they’re right next to you. This increases the tension, but it also makes travelling between objectives a bit of a crap-shoot as it can be difficult to escape once you’ve been spotted, especially if you’re injured.
Re-mothered: Tormented Fathers is surprisingly short. There are relatively few puzzles for a game of this genre, and the pacing changes following the conclusion of the third chapter to focus less on puzzle-solving and exploration and more on running away from stalkers, which makes the concluding chapters feel even less substantial. The developers have justified this brevity by saying this is the first chapter in a three-game narrative arc, but it isn’t priced accordingly, and there really isn’t really enough content here to justify the £26.99 price tag.
This was a difficult review to write. I enjoyed creeping through the Felton mansion and the stalker mechanic is seldom seen and quite refreshing. The mansion itself is atmospheric and interesting, even if it cribs heavily from the first Resident Evil. The game feels like the work of an auteur with a singular vision, to its benefit and detriment.
Unfortunately during my playthrough, I experienced multiple bugs which broke THREE of the handful of scripted stalker encounters and led to my losing an auto-save point. Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers lacks polish and should have been play-tested more extensively.
Frankly, I am frustrated with games being brought over to the Switch in this state. It’s not fair on unknowing consumers who might not know that the game they are buying is not release-ready, and Nintendo currently does not give refunds to unsatisfied customers. The game has achieved a decent Metacritic on other platforms so one can only assume that the Switch version was not given the care and attention it needed.
Maybe at some point in the future, it will be more playable but as it stands I have no choice but to award Re-Mothered: Tormented Fathers our not-at-all coveted broken medal.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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