There’s something about the 32 bit artstyle that’s inherently unsettling. Its pseudo 3D visuals that almost verge on realism, but absolutely do not, bring about that uncanny feeling that fits perfectly in a horror title. MOTHERED is one such game that thrives on this aesthetic and builds upon it further with inhuman NPCs and some rather unsettling themes, making the game far more terrifying than most modern horror games.

All without resorting to a single jump scare.

Many thanks to Dolores Entertainment for the review code.

MOTHERED is, as the game’s subtitle implies, more of a narrative tale than an action one. Placed in the tiny shoes of Liana, a young girl recovering from major surgery that has left her mind a little fuzzy, you find yourself on the car trip back home. Your father is a kind man, who reassures you that your mother will take good care of you, but also warns you that she’s been having a hard time lately so you need to be patient with her. As you arrive, she’s nowhere to be seen, leaving you to run a quick errand for your father and head off to bed alone.

This is where things really begin. 

As you’re greeted to the morning by a impactful bright blue screen, your first objective is to go downstairs and greet your mother. Her freakish appearance and stilted movements are extremely worrying as she serves you your favourite breakfast: nutrients. Delicious. From there, the game transitions through various stages of the day as the week passes by leading up to your father’s arrival.

Everything about this household just seems off, and it’s not just the hideous characters and unusual interface either. There’s a whole sense of foreboding throughout the whole thing and it’s done rather well. Whether it be dialogue that seems a little ‘off’, or the haunting discordant melodies as you wander around, it leaves you at the edge of your seat just wondering what the hell the game is going to throw at you.

Revealing more about the story would probably spoil too much, but the tale is well told despite the minimal number of locations and NPCs around. Your brother, a recluse that only occasionally speaks to you when you knock, seems to be the only normal person around, even if he also seems deeply troubled. Locked doors taunt you with what’s behind them, teasing you with the secrets waiting to be uncovered.


The game itself is a little bit straightforward, playing very much akin to most ‘walking simulator’ games. Most of the game will simply require you to do as you’re told, interacting with certain objects in order to progress the story. Interaction isn’t as simple as most games in the genre, instead opting instead for a point and click style interface as you hold the left bumper and move the onscreen cursor to whatever you want to interact with. It’s a little clunky, but given that there’s not a huge amount you need to interact with, it’s perfectly tolerable.

Despite this interface, the game doesn’t have any type of inventory nor any real puzzles to solve, with the game only requiring you to do the next step to progress. This is usually simple, although one morning in particular had be wandering around looking for mother to no avail. Turns out that I simply needed to interact with my breakfast multiple times. Rather annoying, but the given that the house isn’t overly big, it’s a solution that would have been uncovered eventually, regardless.

Where the real gameplay lies is reaching the true ending of the game. The game only really ends once the credits are reached, and this will require a little bit more effort and observation on your part. Those teasing locked doors really are possible to get behind, but you’ll need to be a curious child if you want to know how. Some may bemoan the slightly cryptic true ending, but it’s certainly worth the effort if you can put your observation skills to the test.


As a narrative horror experience, MOTHERED does an excellent job at creating an unsettling atmosphere with so little. Some minor issues stop it from being the best in the genre, but fans of 32 bit horror experiences should absolutely adore this one.