- Summary: The Novelist asks one central question: can you achieve your dreams without pushing away the people you love? The game focuses on Dan Kaplan, a novelist struggling to write the most important book of his career while trying to be the best husband and father he can be. The Kaplans have come to a remote coastal home for the summer, unaware that they're sharing the house with a mysterious ghostly presence: you. Read the family's thoughts. Explore their memories. Uncover their desires and intervene in their lives. But stay out of sight; you can't help the Kaplans if they know there's a ghost in the house. It's up to you to decide how Dan's career and family life will evolve, but choose carefully; there are no easy answers, and every choice has a cost. Dan's relationships - to his work, his wife, and his son - react and shift in response to your choices. With a different sequence of events in every playthrough, The Novelist gives life to a unique experience each time you play. The decisions you make will define the Kaplans' lives, but they may also tell you something about yourself.… Expand
Positive: 6 out of 6
Mixed: 0 out of 6
Negative: 0 out of 6
Jan 3, 2014This 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".… Expand
Dec 20, 2013This 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
Feb 3, 2014A 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.… Expand
Dec 10, 2013When 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....
Dec 17, 2013I 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