Review: “Mother” is a psychological journey through motherhood

“MOTHER” is a indie horror themed pc game centered around a woman named Mary who just recently lost her husband. In the game you play as her and it’s your job to protect your children from the dangers around all of you, while also trying to protect them from you.

Review: Mother is a psychological journey through motherhood

Airin Hall, Writer

When the game begins, we see Mary in what seems to be an apartment that she and her family are moving into. While walking into the apartment she gets a text from Dr. Hugues, who instructs her to take three red pills, two green pills, and 3 blue pills. He also makes it extremely clear to only take as much as you’re prescribed, as taking more can lead to bad consequences. However, something that players have noticed is that the game seems to purposefully make you take more than Dr. Hughes told you, pay attention as this will be important later on. 

After this, Mary gets another text from someone named Carl. This man appears to be Mary’s husband’s brother, who we soon find out passed away due to suicide and that is what results in the family moving. In the text Carl expresses that just the week before he was with Jack and he seemed happy and perfectly fine, and he’s frustrated because he doesn’t know what drove his brother to do this. 

Cut to that night and Mary is doing any last minute things and then decides to head to bed. Not long after that she wakes up to the sound of the TV in the living room, this is strange as before Mary went to sleep she made sure both Kyle and Kayla were in bed. Once Mary gets up and goes to the living room she’s greeted with the sight of her children standing in front of the TV with it turned on, now this alone wouldn’t have raised any alarms if it wasn’t for how the kids were behaving. 

Both children, Kayla and Kyle, were standing in front of the couch facing away from the TV and saying something about a person named “Tommy”. With Kyle repeating the words “He’s there! He’s there!” and Kayla saying “He’s there, he’s watching TV”. However, the thing is, there is no one sitting on the couch. This plus the overall atmosphere of the scene is what’s most disturbing, the surrounding area is pitch black and the only light to be used is from the static of the TV. Once the TV is turned off for a final time the children follow what seems to be seemingly nothing while saying “he is trying to show us something”. This leads into the room Mary herself is sleeping in and they stand in front of the vent and say that he went in there. 

Mary bends down to look into the vent and she is greeted with the sight of what looks like a dead rat…

Mary makes the move to slowly pull it out of the vent but once she’s just about to grab it the rat suddenly springs up and runs back into the vent. Mary gets up from her place on the floor and Kayla says “why did Tommy leave?”, at this point in the game we’re all questioning who exactly this Tommy character is.

From this point forward it seems that most things occurring around Mary and her kids are purely the actions of Tommy himself, we learn later into the game that Tommy is in fact the brother of Kyle and Kyla, making him Jack and Mary’s son. However, what made Tommy one of the main antagonists in the first place is that we find out that he was born horribly deformed and it was under Mary’s decision to keep him locked inside a room within the house and lie about him dying at birth. It is believed that this is the reason Jack committed suicide, as he could no longer deal with the guilt that was consuming him as he was assisting Mary in keeping Tommy trapped. However, this will not be the last time we see him.

Cut to the next scene, and this is where we meet the next main protagonist, the smiling man, or in this case, Jack. We first see this spirit when Mary goes onto the balcony to water her plant when she accidentally drops it. When she peeks over the balcony to see where it landed she instead see’s a very tall, pale, and abnormally skinny figure standing at the bottom. The creepiest part about this was not his overall body shape but the very wide, ear to ear almost inhuman smile on the man’s face, and the fact that he had no eyes, just socket’s where they would typically be. 

Not long before this encounter we find out that this spirit has been an seemingly ongoing problem for the residents within the apartment building. With one of Mary’s neighbors, Karen texting her saying that she’s been seeing less and less neighbors, coming to the near conclusion that whatever this thing is, it’s killing them off one by one all leading up to Mary. And the police can do nothing about it since they can’t actually see anything, you’re on your own…

Now, what I can say about this game is that I really enjoyed the meaning behind the game. Not only this but the amazing theories that people came up with. One of the more popular theories is that Tommy does not actually look as “monstrous” as he game makes him appear as, that he was born with deformities, however, how he looked was simply just a side effect of Mary’s medicine. One theory of fans that actually claimed to be true was in fact that the smiling man was Jack, Mary’s husband and the kid’s father that had just recently passed away. This “remnant” of Jack has no full out mission to ruin Mary’s life however in the game’s wiki it says that he’s actually there to assist Tommy in killing the kid’s or Mary. But Jack’s so-called spirit does show hatred towards Mary for what she did, and I’m guessing that’s why he’s helping Tommy alongside with some underwhelming guilt for assisting Mary in keeping him locked in a small room for so many years. 

The game also takes a chance in talking about how Mary’s overall mental state does play a huge part in how the game progresses, at the beginning of the game the most concerning thing we had to worry about was the dosage of pills she needed to take every night. But as we progressed we saw her mental health decrease more and more, typically the reasoning behind this could be Tommy’s doing as while to the kids he was just “playing” but he could’ve been playing mind tricks with Mary in order to make her appear as insane and make her question herself. Another key factor could’ve been her grieving from just recently losing her husband, and the fact that the medicine she is taking has massive side effects, the main one being hallucinations. 

Another addition to the game features a screen that pops up at the end of every day. This shows a percentage for both of the kids, this is known as the wellbeing check. Throughout the game this screen will pop up and you’re given a percentage for how well the kids are doing, and it is your job to make sure it  stays high, because if it reaches zero, they’re dead. The more things that happen, and the more severe they are, the lower their well being gets, so again, it’s your job to make sure they stay high..while also keeping an eye on your own sanity. 

My overall opinion of the game is that I really enjoyed it, it took a deep dive into motherhood and exactly how certain things can affect you and your kids. The only complaint I really have is that I wished the game went more into detail about Jack, and how he interacted with Mary and the kids. Something that would’ve also been nice is giving a reason why Tommy was locked in a dark room for so long, and also why Jack helped Mary in the first place. But…it was a good game, so I’m happy either way. Now, the question is, will this be the last we ever see of Jack?