User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 28
  2. Negative: 9 out of 28

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  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
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  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. Expand
  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. Expand
  4. Mar 30, 2014
    3
    This game has an interesting idea (balancing between needs of 3 family members) - and this may seem interesting when you read a review or a description of this game. But in reality, the game is horribly, painfully slow to play. You have to move around the house at walk speed (no way to run, Shift just doesn't exist here as RUN key, and possessing all those lights is just too clumsy as way of movement because each time you exit the light source you face in a such a direction that you lose orientation for a while, which loses time and makes the jumps useless). Every chapter, you have to re-search the whole house for objects with which you can interact - which you can find out only by coming very close to an object, which means you basically need to crawl each wall of the whole house like a cockroach, looking at the bottom of the screen to notice when some object can be interacted with. This search you must do basically once for general clues, then 3 times in memories of each of the characters. Each day the selection and sometimes positions of interactive objects change, so yes, you do have to re-search the whole house at least 4 times (or more, if you miss some object) every chapter. That's what this game basically is about, nothing more, as this crawling process takes 90% of playing time (9% for reading and 1% for thinking on your decisions).

    Now, on the second day I didn't understand that selecting Fishing rods means actually continuing on the book. I though the main character wants to have a rest and go fishing, so I considered, to hell with his rest, now that's the book is progressing well it's time to tend to the wife. But no - it turns out now he is late with the book again because Fishing rods meant he would talk to a friend who is a writer, too, and will progress with the book. It's not that I made a wrong choice - the choice itself was mistakenly formulated by the game. At this point I wanted to re-load chapter 2 and change my selection because obviously I didn't understand what was meant by the text. But you CAN'T RELOAD. Ok, I had to start the whole game over. But right after 2 mins of walking YET AGAIN across this house and collecting all those objects yet again, I was annoyed so much that I simply quit. What's the point anyway..

    Skip on this. It's a waste of money. The author certainly has no idea of what games are or what "gameplay" means in general. "Indie" don't mean this, indie is Braid or Limbo which are games. But this is not a game.

    Adding all this 3D and walking around was a mistake. This game could work much better as a 2D Flash game where you just see a list of what each character wants, together with all clues as a clickable list or maybe just as one 2D screen with clickable objects. Then you pick Need 1 and 2 to fill, day finished. Next day. This way it would be story only, no fuss, and the game would take 15 mins in total to complete. But wait, it would be crap, right? It won't be a game at all. There just isn't enough to call it a game. So, the author went ahead and inserted lots and lots of walking between reading clues. Did it save the situation? Not at all, it just made it worse... I'm annoyed because the game itself is so much worse than its reviews everywhere. A promising concept with awful execution.
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  5. Dec 10, 2013
    9
    A game of difficult choices and the juggling of life, family, and work. The Novelist brings excellent storytelling backed up with good visuals, solid if simplistic mechanics, and passable sound for a uniquely interesting tale of the struggle of keeping it all.
  6. Feb 3, 2014
    7
    A great plot that any father and husband can relate to - it's good to see a game that explores mundane but real-life problems. This can be its Achilles Heel though since it might hit a bit close to home. It's definitely not a game for those who value escapism in their gaming or for those seeking some action.
  7. Apr 28, 2014
    3
    This game clocks in at just shy of 2 hours. Most of that time is spent crawling all over the same map, over and over again, searching for "clues" while trying not to get detected by the humans. In nine chapters, you will search one single confined map as many as 36 times for roughly 135 clues - and that's the entire game. You find 135 bits of trash and make nine decisions, choosing each time from six possible alternatives. That is the entire "game;" much like To The Moon, this is a visual novel, not anything a normal person would describe as a game. Frankly, I don't see why this has gotten such accolades.

    The execution is plodding to say the least; when I said most of your time will be spent "crawling" over the map, I wasn't kidding - the player's movement speed is agonizingly slow; learning to blink most effectively from one light fixture to the next is necessary just to pick up the pace a little.

    As one tabletop gamer's wife once observed, "it's twenty minutes of fun packed into four hours."
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  8. Jan 3, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really loved The Novelist's focus on story telling, just letting the player exist in a small but well built and well thought out world at a time when a normal family is standing on the precipice of great change in their own lives, and I think the small scale is important. Your choices don't decide the fate of a city or a nation, just a small, three-person family that almost any player can fit themselves into and appreciate and the level of intimacy that it brings gives weight to the choices before you even invest the characters as people.
    The only major problem I had with the game was that I wish it was more of a game, the story could have been told through a text-based or hidden object and would have lost very little for me. On a more minor note, despite having power over the entire family's future I felt irrelevant in the game, like a bystander (which may be the point?). It would have been nice to be able to act to influence the family by maybe hiding Linda's mother's letter that makes her worry about her parent's relationship before she reads it, or to directly leave Dan's notebook somewhere he could find it. Anything to give me, as a player, a feeling of agency in the game.
    In all The Novelist is extremely refreshing to play after so many action-heavy games and being "the prophesied one" or "the hero".
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  9. May 8, 2014
    9
    What an amazing new direction in gaming! I felt so attached to the characters and their relationships and that made it that much harder to decide who should get what they want every chapter. At times, I found myself burying my head in my hands as I clicked the button.

    I've never played a game like it. The closest thing is the Sims in that the characters live relatively normal lives but
    it really is not the same. The characters come to you with a complex back story and it just feels so organic. Dare I say it, it almost feels like a privilege to be let into these people(who aren't even people)'s lives. Expand
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. 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.
  2. Mar 26, 2014
    71
    A relatable game about a common truth: that true happiness is hard to find. [Apr 2014, p.89]
  3. 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.