I was torn about whether or not to recommend the game, but after about five minutes of reflection, I can safely say that this game isn't worth buying. Despite having a decent impact and a good concept, for the brief and predictable story, the price is extremely steep. This game could have been made between fifteen and twenty years ago as a college project and would be expected to be distributed for free.
Most of the critique of the game will be about the story, so a bit about the gameplay first. As far as point-and-click adventure games go, this is one of the most simplistic. I've seen -more- simplistic games that I did play, but I can't think of any right now. There are no puzzles, nothing to figure out. You just find all the stuff that glows when you mouse over it, then sneak up behind everyone to see what they're thinking. Playing in stealth mode is a joke, no challenge (even for the minimally competent) whatsoever. The graphics are acceptable for the style (and one might assume, budget). The sound and music are pretty good, but they don't really seem to fit the mood of the game very well. It's sort of like matching up Silent Hill's music and sound with Casper the Friendly Ghost.
The main part of the game is its story, and while I'm not opposed to a cliche setting or starting scenario, sadly the story does not really progress beyond the starting situation. Which is a shame, because the voice acting was pretty good. I played in stealth mode, looked at every interactable object, viewed every memory, unlocked every story option, and was never seen by any of the family members. Finished the game in 2.8 hours, got an ending I would consider 'good', and I have no desire to play it ever again.
Instead of really giving you choices that matter that actually branch out the storyline, the three maladjusted characters are put on a sacrificial altar and the player gets to decide who will get to act all pissy/mopey/whiney this chapter. Some of the 'choices' offered are split between propriety and a non-sequitur option. Not chosing the non-sequitur option has the same level of consequences for the affected character as failing to fulfill social/societal expectations. Additionally, the choices are made for an entire week at a time, but most of the life-altering 'choices' are things that might take anywhere between fifteen minutes and a couple of hours in most of the chapters, or wouldn't be mutually exclusive no matter how you looked at it.
Minor Spoilers: Hilariously, despite being myself in a somewhat similar life position as Dan, I could not find him interesting or identifiable. He's mopey and non-commital, and if I think of Tommy's reading troubles as hereditary, that would explain Dan's writer's block pretty well. I found it so hard not to disparage Linda as a selfish, whiny bellyacher, that I kind of just did. Tommy is a static and boring character, even for a kid. He exists in the story to be the sacrifical lamb whenever you decide talentless Dan should do his job or do apparently incapable Linda's work for her, however more often than he seems neglected, he seems more like a spoiled and undisciplined crybaby with more cognitive deficiencies than poor reading comprehension.
I have problems with the writing for the game, as the game's primary tension is the supposed marital problems between Dan and Linda, which are barely mentioned. The only problems I can see the two having are related to Linda being an implacable whiner who blames Dan for her lack of drive, focus, and ability for most of the game (for perspective, I still got what I would consider the best ending for their relationship). This is made worse by the half-hearted attempts to frame Linda's personality as creative and indepenent using her own words, which make her look hypocritical and even more selfish and listless. While this can be considered a negative personality trait written into the character, I can't help but feel the writer is tacitly implying that women expect their husbands to do everything for them. Personally, I can't stand her the way she is written.
There's never even an insinuation that Dan is writing the book to provide a living for his family, and given that zero of your decisions seem to change which or how the chapters play out, all the more reason for the player to never help him do it unless you think supporting his pride/hubris as a writer is important. The characters certainly never act like the book is at all important to their well-being. That said, Dan's choice is almost always about industriousness, the other two choices are usually about him satisfying the demands of his family, so it would make a lot of sense if you could 'lose' the game by failing to help him write a good book and meet deadlines. Several of the choices -seem- like they would be weighted to give you a better score with both the book and with the family, but that does not actually appear to be the case.
Finally, I did not feel any of the decisions were particularly hard or weighty, and I feel I would not ever have made different decisions at any point in the game. The fully linear chapters and extremely repetative gameplay made my stomach hurt with frustration as I wanted and tried to hurry up and finish. The ending (as with all of the chapter plots) was mundane and predictable. The character outcomes were clearly linked to a hidden score and had no relationship to any of the actual decisions made throughout the storyline.
If I didn't get this game with a bundle, I would be extremely upset about having paid any specific sum of money for the product.
And, there you have it, folks. A review that nearly took longer to write than the game took to finish.