Posted: July 3
Short version: 66%
If you like a story that is all about narrative, you will like the Novelist. If you are looking for a game where the choices can make a large difference, or it provides anything beyond narrative, you’ll be vastly disappointed.
The Novelist is a lightweight choose-your-adventure story about a family of artists: a novelist father who is struggling with his new book; a painter mother who tries to get back to work and save her marriage; and a son with great artistic potential, but serious learning difficulties.
All nine chapters follow the same pattern: each family member has a problem where the solution just happens to contradict the others’ needs. You play as a “ghost” reading aptly placed notes and peeking into their memories, then you must choose one of them who gets their wish fulfilled, one that gets a half-solution, and leave one of them hanging.
So, in essential, all family members have a good, a neutral, and a bad outcome. This is true for the entire game: no matter what you did in the individual chapters, the final “score” determines their individual fate, which makes the core mechanic of the game largely pointless.
The narrative itself is great and the chapters randomise at each play through, yet the replay value is still quite low. So, if you don’t mind paying this much money for what is essentially a 2-hour story about a Hallmark-card family and their completely storybook problems, you won’t regret playing it. But otherwise it’s nothing but a nice artistic experiment.