A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux

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"I suppose I should start with a short summary of my life. I don't really feel like doing that, so I shall skip to the present."

Story

The year is 1935. It all started with a single letter. But from that point on, nothing would remain the same for Angela Bard--a quiet, solitary woman living in the Scottish isles.

Much to her surprise, she receives a mysterious and strangely esoteric reply from an unexpected source...

Who is Devere? And how can he be sending letters from the forest at the edge of Angela's town?

Read through their illustrated correspondence, and watch their story unfold.

Features

  • Voice acting for the leads.
  • Examine an array of letters, postcards, and other documents.
  • Open Dyslexic font option.
  • Self-voicing and descriptive text toggle.
  • Text-to-speech voice mode.

Team

Links

Official Site | Lemmasoft Forum Page

Support

Patreon | Ko-Fi | More games by Katy133

FAQ (Click to expand)

Release date

12th of April, 2020.

Word count

~6,700 words.

Is the soundtrack available?

Yes, the OST by Paul Robins is available to download on his Bandcamp. Go support his work! You can also download it on this Itchio page.

Updated 7 days ago
StatusReleased
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
Release date Apr 12, 2020
Rating
(33)
AuthorKaty133
GenreVisual Novel
Made withRen'Py
TagsExperimental, Hand-drawn, Historical, Mystery, Narrative, renpy, Romance, Story Rich, supernatural
Average sessionAbout a half-hour
LanguagesEnglish
LinksSteam

Download

Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Paul Robins - Dear Devere OST.zip 21 MB
DearDevere-1.2-win.zip 188 MB
DearDevere-1.2-mac.zip 186 MB
DearDevere-1.2-linux.tar.bz2 191 MB

Development log

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Comments

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(+1)

I just wanted to say I played this game after looking for inspiration for a musical composition portfolio i'm currently working on and it is just perfect. The art is so beautiful, the story is intriguing and the soft gentle music and sound design ties it together so perfectly. A truly beautiful game. 

Thank you so much! I'm so happy to hear that Dear Devere and Paul Robins' music helped inspire you.

(+1)

Oh this was just super. And that's really not doing the game enough justice!

This VN does what all the best VNs do, as in it gives you interesting characters, wonderful voice acting to go along with them, beautiful background art (mostly in the form of the gorgeous envelopes that are passed between the two main characters) and a story that just keeps on building until you just can't wait any longer to see the ending!

I got well and truly sucked into this one, not least because of the setting. It's not every day you get a game set on the Isle of Mull, after all! And being from a small town myself it didn't take me too long to start relating to some of the discussions that are had here.

Not one single line of dialogue goes to waste here, and once the decision making starts I suddenly got a sense of urgency and stress that I wasn't expecting!

If you have any affinity for interactive VNs, then please get this played immediately. If you're new to the whole concept of the interactive story, I'd posit that this wouldn't be a bad place to get started!

I have so much love for this game, it's really been one of the highlights of my year =)

(+1)

There's a lot of good things I can say about this one. I'm a fan of visual novel as a storytelling format and have been for quite some time. It shouldn't surprise anybody that a large number of VNs tend to have much in common:

  • Focus on visually defined characters,
  • Playing as a POV character that is directly involved in the action,
  • Heavy inspiration from Japanese culture.

This VN does away with those trends entirely. You never see what the characters look like, your POV remains unclear for much of the title, and the story has its roots in Scotland. As a disclosure, the bullet list elements are not bad--they are tried and true--but after so much exposure to VNs that do embrace those elements, it is beyond refreshing to see something so different.

Difference from the crowd alone does not make a title worthwhile, but Dear Devere does not fall into the trap of being different for difference's sake. The title wholeheartedly embraces decorated letters not only as the primary form of delivering prose, but as the primary visual element, too. Beyond their visual appeal, these letters are part of the story and many subtleties exist in each that certainly can't be immediately gleaned from an initial singular playthrough. The narrative enhances the visual designs shown, and the visual designs enhance the narrative.

Dear Devere is a fantastic experience. I would gladly recommend it to anybody remotely interested in digital storytelling experiences, even and especially those who shy away from visual novels in their entirety. Well done on the title, and I am extremely excited to see whatever projects the future may hold for you!

(+1)

This was such a wonderful and beautiful game, I was curious about it but became especially interested when I stumbled upon a stream of one of the voice actors and Katy talking about it. It was absolutely lovely to hear about the process and thoughts behind creating the game, I wish I could've stayed until the end. 
The game was such a unique and sweet experience, I think the voice acting and music really brought it to life but the writing itself was beautiful. It was a lot of fun to hear insight on the envelopes' designs during the stream, there's a lot I think I would've never picked up on but that gave me a lot of appreciation for all the little details in the art.

Overall it's a wonderful game, thank you for making it and sharing with us~

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the stream! I had a lot of fun talking with Mike about Dear Devere.

(+1)

This is a great game! A lot of NaNoReno game jam devs make good games but this game definitely took it a step further. I loved everything from the characters to the art to the voice acting to the accessibility options. There was very obviously a lot of love and time put into this game and its just beautiful, I can't recommend it enough 💖

If you'd like to take a glimpse at the gameplay I did upload a video but I highly suggest you play the game yourself before watching through. Thank you Dev 🤍🤍

(+1)

This was a lovely game. The art style is unique and charming and I felt really drawn into the story. 

Also, after reading a certain file, I hope isolation is treating you okay and you can see your new friends soon. :) 

Thank you so much! I'm really happy to hear you liked playing Dear Devere.

And yes, I'm doing okay, and while I don't know when I'll see my friends, I do know that I'll be happy when I do.

(+1)

Dear Devere is an epistolary visual novel, meaning that it’s a story told through letters. Here, Angela writes a letter to herself as a way of venting, and she hides it in a rock outside of town so nobody will find it. Instead, the mysterious Devere finds it, and they start a loving correspondence.

This is an otome game, at least in that it’s GxB, though the narrator isn’t always the girl. The game download page doesn’t make it clear there’s any otome elements or romance, but there is. So I guess it’s otome/bishoujo? The game took me about 32 minutes listening to about 70% of the spoken dialogue.

Full disclosure: I was asked by the creator if I’d play the game and review it, though I’ve had a link to Katy133’s games in my sidebar a while, so I was going to play the game anyway XD. But yes, being asked to review it didn’t sway my opinion and I wasn’t compensated or anything.

The game starts out with Angela writing that first letter, and from there, the reader is shown their correspondence. The game is split into a prologue, three acts, and an epilogue for the good end. The game is inspired by The Griffin and Sabine Saga, a series of epistolary books. Some of the devlogs include behind the scenes looks at how the images in the game were made, such as this one.

The game has absolutely beautiful music. It is very Celtic-sounding to me, so it matches Devere’s and the general atmosphere of the game. The soundtrack is available on the itch.io page for the game for free. The game also has a lot of settings, including a dyslexic text option, voice to speech options, and other things to assist players.

The game is also voice acted for the two main characters! It added so much depth to the game. Even though we never get to see the main characters, the voice acting really makes you feel connected to them. I feel like I have a very clear picture of what Angela and Devere look like despite us getting very little description of Devere or Angela.

Before getting into plot points, I want to mention that this game was made for NaNoRenO 2020, so the game was made in a short time, and during a pandemic. The plot points that were a bit confusing were not so much so to make me enjoy the game any less. The game has a time skip, and then we’re presented with some drama. I don’t want to spoil it, but this drama felt show-horned in because there was a time skip. Had the game been longer, I think that would have solved the issue.

The narrator is basically always switching, as well as the point of view. Sometimes it’s Devere, sometimes Angela, sometimes someone else, and sometimes I wasn’t sure. It didn’t really distract me from the game or make me enjoy it any less, but I was confused at points.

Their romance also came very quickly to me, which initially felt unrealistic, but then I realized by that point I shipped them as well, so I can’t complain XD.

At one point, I had to solve a code, so that’s dope LOL.

Onto the characters!

Angela is a social outcast who starts up a book club, but then a girl who doesn’t like her joins and turns everyone against her. She is very independent, and I’m not really sure why she’s an outcast. Overall, she’s fine, and I felt really connected to her as the story progressed.

Devere is…it’s not clear. It’s very clear from very early on that Devere is most likely not human, though the game doesn’t say exactly what he is. I personally headcanon him as a wendigo as some descriptions seemed to match that, but regardless, I know in my heart, he’s hot. I know this. His voice is also really nice and soothing? XD Props to the VA because there was some ASMR going on. Devere has some sass sometimes, and he’s just great. We don’t find out how old he is exactly, but if people can sweat hundreds of year old vampires, we can sweat kind-of-old wendigo werewolf creature boys.

There’s only two endings, so no play order this time around. The bad ending was sad, but I think potentially hopeful. The good ending was great, and I love it. One part of the good ending wasn’t explained as some of Devere’s limitations and abilities weren’t fleshed out enough to know how they’d impact it, but overall, the ending was super sweet and I almost cried.

Going very “you can tell I’m a writing and literature student” here, but I think a strong theme of the game is that looks can be deceiving. People assume negative things about Devere and Angela because they don’t take the time to actually analyze the situation. They let their preconceived biases take hold of them at the expense of Angela and Devere. There’s more to this theme, but I don’t want to spoil more lol.

Should you play?:

Please do. This game was so enjoyable and unique. The writing is done really well, and you WILL feel attached to Angela and Devere. Their romance is adorable, and the letter correspondence really fleshed out their characters in ways that I’m not sure showing actual sprites would have done.

(+1)

Wonderful game! Compelling narrative and beautiful visuals to boot. It's clean and simple face hides a great deal of complexity and joys to discover - definitely worth a play!

(+1)

A beautifully written game. I very much enjoyed every line written, some scenes even having me on the edge of my seat. The depth and detail the author put in the story shows and I appreciated every single bit of them. I'll be truthful, you're going to fall for these characters and feel part of their story. 

(+1)

I am still playing, but wanted to say that I am really enjoying it, the writing is really pulling me through the story and the dead letter exchange is a nice way to do an interesting back and forth between the characters. Thanks also for the devlog showing how the letters were created, their design and style adds a lot of atmosphere. The good voice acting also adds a lot to my image of the characters.

Having spent over an hour playing this, taking notes with exceeding phenomenological care as I immersed myself in the fantasy, I have little recourse but to convey my thoughts to you in full, at their most gentle and their most cutting, for one-sidedness is a mark of barbarism. (There is another quote for your envelopes.)

 

I should begin, as I am prone to, with the disarmingly positive. My first reaction was, verbatim: Such Grammar!! It’s a relief to read a Visual Novel by an author who can actually WR!TE, one visibly informed, if not cloistered against barbarity, by the entire tradition of British (if I may presume you’re not a Scottish Nationalist) Literature. Aesthetically, this piece is GORGEOUS, abounding in flawless spelling, grammar, and usage, delivered with incredible diction, (where did you F!ND them??) stunning visuals and serene, topical instrumentation, which felt at once distant yet close, by some technique even a seasoned composition student can hardly fathom. I’m glad I don’t have to feel “weird” speaking in such flowery terms to you. Yet what feels odd is to pass judgement. Hell: what great writer hasn’t had to be a martyr for the cause of the philosophers and critics? I am guilty accordingly.

 

[SPO!LER WARN!NG.]

 

Parts of this fairy tale do feel like a narcissistic fantasy, but only in the Jungian or the Derridean sense. I am sure that most contemporary skeptics would agree that the desire for a shapeshifting chimera of sorts, whether metaphysical or metaphorical, can come across as farfetched and childish, yet so can most game lore. The tropes are not what I took issue with ideologically, least of all aesthetically.

The characters whom you cast as protagonists felt somewhat privileged, naïve, and thoroughly short-sighted (like my ex. L.O.L. Incidentally, she read a lot of nineteenth-century pulp and fluff, while I was the man of Salinger and Vonnegut.) I should have liked to see the third party developed in finer detail. He feels oddly familiar. It’s bizarre that such a common villain from Victorian folklore, from Noyes to Ostrovsky, has become sort of a modern hero, though this convincing period piece you have presented us with as a gift portrays him in a pre-Gothic light, at a time when people were very satisfied with the “natural order of things” and loth to entertain arguments against personal affect, employing majoritarian consent as the sole arbiter. I can only surmise that he wanted what they had, so I could never blame him upon THE!R behalf; I could only hold him accountable before the Law, which was wherefore I chose the path of legal repercussion at the end, suspecting that I could predict the consequences. (I was right.) But do not allow my Modernism to cause you apprehension.

The H.G. Wells quote, one I encountered estimably ten years ago, at a very vulnerable and religious time in my life, always struck me as a bit pompous and reductionistic. At any rate, it hardly serves the present political climate, one fraught with (often warranted) outrage, upon behalf of both Self and Other. Perhaps it is most fitting that those who elicit disdain in people are punished by their own victims; the episode with Eliza demonstrates that you might agree.

The (Central) Love Story:

My God; don’t you wish all penpalships could work like this? To think: that outside of a simple divergence in breed their emotions lined up so neatly, even by the conventional, contemporary standards which endure, both for better and for worse, to our day? Yet I would not call the story “timeless”, since it’s hard to judge who does or does not deserve a happy ending in an absurd conflict of emotions. For that, I have my own writings to expound upon. You are welcome to review them; they are published here as well. You might enjoy my wordplay also.

I caught that Cailin Calwood had been modeled after Collins. Personally, I don’t care for stories which sever status from love, since I am more drawn to tales of chivalry and corporate meritocracy, two ends of the same pole spanning half a millennium. Of course, some of Cailin’s habits are reminiscent of both d’Artagnon and Berlioz. 

I ought to amend that “self-awareness” had not been developed as a psychological term until 1972*, so this feels almost like a modern apology on behalf of the Old World in its more proto-Fascist animus/anima projections. 

That being said, it is a bold attempt at recreating Victorian prose and poetry, in all its triumphs and its failings. Might I suggest, however, that the quote employed by Friedrich Nietzsche is closer in Spirit to the unrequited lover, blissfully devoid of conscience than to the sophisticated animal/animus, the latter of whom haunts people (whether by magic tricks or magick) by manipulation and casual vindictiveness? I can only surmise which of these two competitors was properly the “Beast” in Beauty and the Beast, for modern shrinks make it quite clear that, unfortunately, civility is not always enough to make things work, and post-World-War-II philosophers contending with all forms of Fascism and emotivism will tell you that the Heart CAN lie. 

Yet this is YOUR vision, not mine, and I respect that.

 

*despite having been used in 1876, ostensibly, most probably in passing and not as a “quantity” of character in daily conversation.

 

Bookwurms are such chums. (quoth the bookwurm.)

 

I blushed profusely.

 

Feel free to submit this to the Dream Jam!!

 

https://itch.io/jam/dreamjam2020

 

Regards and Wishes,

Lin Ji.

 

Post-scriptum: if he doesn’t know how charming he is, what became of self-awareness? Haha. I jest.

Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful words.

If you're interested in more interactive stories that focus on the subject of dreams (as I'm sure you are), then I'm happy to recommend Ceremony of Innocence. As I wrote in the credits of Dear Devere, the visual novel was inspired by The Griffin and Sabine Trilogy by Nick Bantock. This trilogy of books has received not only a stage play adaptation, but also a video game adaptation: That video game adaptation is Ceremony of Innocence. The game came out back in 1997 (making it difficult to play today), but there are longplay recordings of the game on YouTube (such as this one), and I highly recommend checking it out. The artist Nick Bantock has a way of creating esoteric, dreamlike artwork that the eye can get lost in.

I shall check out your game jam, it sounds intriguing.

-Katy133

(+1)

Wow, I really loved this. The art style was so ethereal and immersive! I loved the little details on the letters. It all had this magical dreamlike quality. 

The voice acting was superb, and I found the characters instantly endearing. I think this is my favorite NaNo entry!  

(+1)

I have just finished my playthrough of "Dear Devere" (I left a nice, long comment on its Lemmasoft thread since I can protect certain aspects of my review in spoiler tags) but I would like to say this piece was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! 

The concept is so interesting, and I never knew I could feel so much excitement from reading letters! The artwork on the envelopes were a pleasure to the eyes, the music was enchanting, but the best part was the VOICE ACTING! The two that played the parts of Angela and Devere matched their characters so well. The readings of their letters were so natural, it felt like a true correspondance--like I was reading an actual letter and could properly hear the person that penned them in my brain (which often happens when I read letters from those I know). It's a nice tale I wouldn't mind experiencing again from time to time.

I HIGHLY recommend this piece to anyone that enjoys an enchanting atmosphere, poetic writing, splendid voice acting, with a dash of mystery~

(+1)

This game was amazing! I've always loved epistolary stories for the way that they change how the story is told, and you told it so well! The envelopes were so beautiful, from both of them, but especially from Devere. The voices were great, too - in all honesty, I may have fallen in love with him a little bit. Or a lot a bit.

(+2)

This game is a fantastic experience that is both heartwarming and brilliant. While the game holds a simple plot and theme, the story nonetheless captivates you in an instant with it's two protagonists. With splendid art, music, voice acting, and storytelling, it's truly nothing short of amazing. The game may be short but will give you a truly wondrous experience and I cannot recommend it enough.

(+2)

This was a very pleasant time I had with this wonderful game. I started to care about these charming characters a lot and dear lord, was I happy about the ending I got. Each element of the game immersed me so much into the story, be it the music, the art, the writing, the voice acting, ect., just everything fit well together as the right puzzle pieces. Thank you so much for creating this! 

(+2)

I just finished the game. I've been anticipating for it's release since I first saw it. I absolutely adore the game! Especially the main characters, Angela and Mr. Devere. The voice acting is excellent, and the music is fitting to the letters and illustrations, and the vibes of each letters. The illustrations are so beautiful. Everything about it is nice.

Thank you for creating this wonderful game ! :-)

(+1)

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Your comments have made my day!