Metascore
66

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Feb 16, 2014
    80
    Lovely slow-burning interactive story that might just teach you something about yourself. [March 2014, p.84]
  2. Dec 18, 2013
    80
    The Novelist, then, is a game of endless compromise, and in that sense it is a quite remarkable simulation of family life.
  3. 80
    If you haven’t been scared off by the concept it presents, then The Novelist shall likely prove a worthwhile experience.
  4. Dec 11, 2013
    75
    It expertly captures the compromises of family life and the impossible decisions everyone has to face at some point — between personal happiness and family stability.
  5. Dec 12, 2013
    72
    The Novelist asks you questions about your own life through the lens of Dan and his family, and shows well the ways that games can challenge their players, and be more than the sum of their parts.
  6. Mar 26, 2014
    71
    A relatable game about a common truth: that true happiness is hard to find. [Apr 2014, p.89]
  7. Feb 17, 2014
    70
    The Novelist is a narrative adventure game that has a few flaws, but offers a unique and interesting story, where you can decide to help a father, his whife or his kid, depending the situations, to eventually help them all.
  8. Jan 22, 2014
    70
    The Novelist explores unusual themes and has some brilliant ideas. It is, still, an inflexible and strict game.
  9. Dec 19, 2013
    70
    The Novelist always puts ourselves in a tough spot. The worst scenario: That in which we must always sacrifice something. Thus, the slogan of the game, "can you achieve your dreams without pushing away the people you love? " is well resolved, unfortunately, before you start playing.
  10. Dec 18, 2013
    70
    The Novelist is made with heart and good intentions, but its general clumsiness makes it imperfect, if not unrecommendable.
  11. Dec 16, 2013
    70
    Even though facing everyday problems in the life of a writer might seem boring, The Novelist is an engaging and unique experience, that offers something different and immersive for the players.
  12. Dec 13, 2013
    70
    Even if the gameplay formula is a bit rough, any experience that forms this kind of connection with the player is worth your consideration.
  13. Dec 10, 2013
    70
    But as a game of ideas, The Novelist works. It's not a challenging game, but the choices you have to make are.
  14. Apr 13, 2014
    65
    While extremely repetitive, this game guarantees great immersion thanks to a lot different choices that will have positive or negative outcomes and that will make us real protagonists of this maybe too short adventure.
  15. Dec 17, 2013
    65
    The Novelist is mostly a missed opportunity. It combines stealth and adventure in the midst of adult dilemma's, but never do its fresh ideas turn The Novelist into an exciting or emotional whole.
  16. Dec 11, 2013
    65
    As a game about family relationships The Novelist is interesting and relatable up to a point, but it doesn’t have a great deal of emotional depth, and the further you get into it the more you notice the flaws in its characterisation. Despite that, though, it’s worth a few hours of your time.
  17. Jan 20, 2014
    60
    The Novelist still remains an interesting experiment that you will find yourself getting caught up in. Playing as an outsider to the family gives you a significant amount of objectivity but also prevents you from ever really connecting.
  18. Dec 27, 2013
    60
    The Novelist is an interesting game, but not without flaws that make it less effective than other games of the same kind.
  19. Jan 3, 2014
    50
    The Novelist suffers because we are essentially examining a family that doesn't care for us or know about us and we don't really feel an emotional attachment to them.
  20. Dec 18, 2013
    50
    Sadly, it's just not engaging enough overall.
  21. Dec 12, 2013
    50
    Ultimately, The Novelist was not the Pulitzer Prize winner that I was hoping for, but rather a fairy tale for grown-ups who want to believe that, no matter the outcome of their decisions, somehow things will work out for the best anyway.
  22. Dec 14, 2013
    40
    It may not be developer Kent Hudson's Great American Game, but perhaps there might be just a little room for mundane video games after all.
  23. Feb 10, 2014
    30
    Instead of bothering with problems of characters in this not so deep and not so ambitious game, you should go and talk to real people you care about. [02/2014 2014, p.66]
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Dec 10, 2013
    7
    When I first picked up this game I was very unsure about it, especially for a Let's Play but I went with it anyway. After the 1st chapter I found myself already getting wrapped up in the game. You truly become a part of the family and really bond with them in a way. You begin to feel attached to the characters, some more than others. To make this easy, I'm going to break down the game into a few parts...

    Gameplay-While gameplay isn't a huge part of this game it is cool how you can jump from light to light and sometimes they turn off certain ones to make it harder. It is also cool how if you choose the "Stealth" difficulty you have to be careful to stay out of the families sight so you don't scare them and blow your cover. Going through peoples memories and finding certain interactions they had done previously was a very interesting concept as well that was executed rather well. There are also clues for each family member around the house that shows what they want. After you find out what each family member wants, you can choose one to be the priority and then you can choose one more of the family members wants and leave them, sort of happy. The 3rd family member... well they're not the happiest people in the world. The game could get a little repetitive sometimes I must say.

    Style-The game is beautiful in its own kind of way. I really like the cartoon look it has with it. I feel like it fits the game very well.

    Voice acting-The voice acting was very good and seemed to fit each member of the family rather well. You could always sense emotion in the persons voice which really helped you figure out what was going on with them and what they wanted.

    Story-The story was absolutely amazing. It made up 100% for the repetitiveness of the game. The story brought me in so much that I forced myself to beat the whole game today. It gives you a lot of hard choices to make. It shows that no matter what you do there will always be consequences. The message, "You can't make everyone happy is very strong in this game." The choices you make can also tell a lot about yourself which can be a little scary at times.

    Length-The game is not very long. After I explored everything and completed the story line I had about 6 hours logged. I would say for the $15 price tag, it's well worth it!

    There's so much more I could praise this game about. There were very limited downfalls with this game and overall the story made it well worth it. I would give this game a....

    7/10

    -Luke
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 17, 2013
    7
    I have been following this project since it was up for green light on steam. The idea alone was enough to make me interested, as alot of people know there's a very large portion of the gaming community which are adults and are in relationships have kids etc. so having to balance all the things in this families life was very appealing to someone like me. With all this said I am a bit disappointed in the game. The story and characters are very intriguing and the ghost mechanic keeps you on your toes (make sure you're not seen!) however the game itself is very repetitive and can't start to feel more like a chore to see the end instead of an adventure. In general it can grind on you if you're not the type of gamer that has the patience to watch a story unfold. At it's current price point I would say it's a great steal for someone who likes this type of game, or likes good stories. Full Review »
  3. Dec 20, 2013
    8
    This is one of the most unique and satisfying gaming experiences I've had in a while. I've always been drawn to games that were more story-driven, and there's been a recent wave of indie games designed to scratch exactly that itch. The plot is compelling enough, albeit a bit mundane. The forced-choice scenarios at the end of each chapter draw you in emotionally, and I found myself genuinely struggling with some decisions. There are a few things I would change snooping around the same house over and over for clues got to be a bit tedious. The stealth mechanic did help mediate this quite a bit, although I think they could have made it much more challenging. Only twice in the entire game did I unintentionally "spook" a character. I'm not sure how the game will hold up during subsequent replays, but I'm already looking forward to my next play-through. The Novelist isn't perfect, but it's easily worth your attention. Moreover, it represents an exciting trend in story-driven indie gaming, one that I'd like to see explored further in the coming year. Full Review »