Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Sumire, by GameTomo, is a story about grief which can be a really hard emotion to convey as no one experiences it in the same way. The loss of a loved one, a partner, a friend or a pet to name the most common ones, they all have something in common. You being left behind, and how you deal with that. That’s a big part of what Sumire is about.
Set over the course of one day, one very special day, Sumire, our titular protagonist, has the opportunity to make choices that could affect both her and other people’s lives for either better or worse. Do you choose to lash out or do you put your anger aside? Do you do what you want to in order to satisfy your own selfishness or do you do what’s best for everyone involved and hold their potential feelings above yours?
Having recently lost her grandmother and going through her parents’ separation, it’s clear that things are not currently going well in Sumire’s life. Combined with being a more shy and reserved personality alongside being bullied by some of the others her age? It can be hard to follow along especially if you’ve been at any of these points in your own life. Given the chance, wouldn’t you have liked to have something different happen? What about seeing that lost loved one one last time?
This is where the journey starts. In the early hours of a morning, Sumire is woken up by something unrelated when a seed comes crashing through her bedroom window. Planting this seed in a flower pot, she would wake up later that morning with a flower full of life, promising that today would be the most special day, and for today only, things could be different if she wished for it. Sumire just had to pick herself up and start walking.
While very simple in principle, it’s the execution of making these choices that could be hard to do at times. Moving Sumire around each place you visit with the left side of the screen and interacting with points of interest on the right, you’ll also have a fair amount of dialog prompts. Like the main theme of dealing with grief, you’ll also have smaller problems to solve or promises that you can make, and then break if you don’t follow through within a specified timeline. Like life, grief can come from several places and compound itself if you let it.
These elements are what raises the bar on what Sumire, and Sumire’s adventure, set out to do. Some of these seemingly smaller decisions can wrap back around later when once again dealing with the same person. Were you nice to them even if no one would blame you for lashing out? Or did you lash out? Did you say something potentially hurtful like you hated the game that was invented even if you truly felt it was fun? What kind of person is Sumire? And what kind of person are you?
Not an overly long adventure, Sumire may take about two or so hours on and off depending on how you are with a smartphone. I think this timing was perfect for the style as it doesn’t have a chance to go on for too long. It gets its message across, and allows for you to load it right back up and see what could have been different had you said something else at a few points in time. Of course this assumes you aren’t already an emotional mess from what some portions of the journey have in store for you.
This is another element that I enjoyed. Like life, there are some days where you really do not want to have to deal with certain situations as “today”, it is not your problem. You do not have that emotional bandwidth to give to yet another person, and because of this, you’ll have to politely decline and move on. What happens after that? With real life you may wonder what happened if you didn’t stop to help, but here? Here you simply move forwards through this one day in Sumire’s life.
And there’s a lot to unpack here from a variety of different sources, which like grief itself, will affect everyone differently. I don’t deny I got teary eyed a few times, and there’s plenty of things within this short adventure that I could relate to, but I think that the developers did a good job with the portrayal of it all.
So overall, if you have the chance to sit down to Sumire? I would, but be prepared as you may not get through without a few tears or heartaches.Score: 8 / 10