#2 Dear Agony Aunt

#2 Dear Agony Aunt

October 2, 2021 0 By Owly

Dear Agony Aunt graced Steam on October 1st, and it is the debut release for developer/publisher Faye Strawberry. You play as a prospective agony aunt, having a weeks trial at EF Magazine. The game is gloriously set in late 2006, complete with a Stone Henge desktop background and garish Microsoft Windows theme. This is your only view throughout your thirty minute playthrough and the nostalgia is spot on.

After a warm briefing, you are then tasked with responding to two pleas per day for one week. Perform well and you will be offered a job at the end of your trial. Destroy lives and unsurprisingly you will remain unemployed. You pick new clients each day but you are only ever shown a headline summary of their issue, so you never quite know what you’re walking in to. On more than one occasion, I had incorrectly guessed the context of the headline and found myself struggling to stay afloat with conversations that I would actively avoid in the real world. I assumed the content would be flippant but I was wrong.

My first case was a young man who wanted to make jam with his grandma after school but he feared for the reaction from his friends. That was an easy start but I peaked there. As I moved through the week I found myself offering advice to a man in need of learning how to compromise with his partner, teenagers confronting their sexuality, a woman in her thirties struggling to come to terms with the ageing process of her own face, another woman embarrassed at work by the menopause, and an adult wanting his family to take his religious beliefs seriously. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth on offer. To up the pressure, there are only two responses to chose from for each plea – you don’t write your replies, this game is mouse only – and it isn’t always easy knowing what to say. I genuinely felt disappointment when my inbox was met with an angry email the next day, all because I had given bad advice.

To add to the authenticity of the digital world, you will get your fair share of spam and these emails are fun to read. The game has a nice balance of asking you to concentrate when it matters and then letting you relax when it doesn’t. Even with lots of pleas to respond to, I wouldn’t say there is much replay value here as you either get sacked or you don’t, but I had fun with Dear Agony Aunt and for just £2 I would recommend this. Having said that, I might not be the best person to take advice from…