That Dragon, Cancer Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
6.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 97 Ratings

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  • Summary: That Dragon, Cancer is an adventure game that acts as a living painting; a poem; an interactive retelling of Ryan and Amy Green's experience raising their son Joel, a 4-year-old currently fighting his third year of terminal cancer. Players relive memories, share heartache, and discover theThat Dragon, Cancer is an adventure game that acts as a living painting; a poem; an interactive retelling of Ryan and Amy Green's experience raising their son Joel, a 4-year-old currently fighting his third year of terminal cancer. Players relive memories, share heartache, and discover the overwhelming hope that can be found in the face of death. Expand

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That Dragon, Cancer Launch Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. Apr 9, 2016
    100
    It expands the boundaries of what peoples’ idea of video games are; they’re not just sadistic shoot ‘em ups or mind-numbing ridiculousness. Sometimes they’re real life; they’re heartbreaking and devastating. If for no other reason than that, That Dragon, Cancer deserves your attention.
  2. Jan 14, 2016
    100
    With the emotionally draining effect that That Dragon, Cancer will have on you in mind, I’d still implore you to play it. If only to further understand the harm that cancer brings, not only to those diagnosed with the disease, but to their family and loved ones too.
  3. Jan 12, 2016
    87
    Steven Spielberg once said that games could only become a true storytelling art form when they manage to make you cry. This game will.
  4. Jan 13, 2016
    80
    Although perceptibly divisive in execution and theme, it becomes difficult to imagine an individual that would experience That Dragon, Cancer and not feel richer and better off for having been immersed in its bittersweet storytelling as the end credits roll. While some might be understandably put off by the slim pickings of traditional genre fare on offer here, That Dragon, Cancer staunchly remains as an experience that everybody should let into their lives regardless.
  5. Jan 18, 2016
    80
    While it’s far from the typical video game adventure, That Dragon, Cancer is a reminder that games can be so much more than just wish-fulfillment power fantasies. It’s an important and unforgettable experience, full of pain, love and grace.
  6. Jan 14, 2016
    75
    That Dragon, Cancer tells a valuable story despite its uneven delivery.
  7. Game World Navigator Magazine
    Feb 11, 2016
    3
    This should go down in textbooks on marketing as an example of how you can monetize the death of your own kid. [Issue#206, p.72]

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 28
  2. Negative: 13 out of 28
  1. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    The people complaining about the glitches or wonky controls need to look That Dragon, Cancer again. It's not a game that you play. It's a gameThe people complaining about the glitches or wonky controls need to look That Dragon, Cancer again. It's not a game that you play. It's a game that tells a story, almost like a movie. You're just along for the ride. Yes there are some things that could be better, and there are bugs, but the point of this game isn't for it to be played. The point of this game is to tell the story of Joel and his family living through the struggle of cancer, which is something I have gone through. Because of that I was re experiencing that time of my life when my mom had cancer, and that made the message of this game so much clearer. People complain that this game costs $15, but for that price you get this real story that many people can connect with. For 4 times the price you could go buy a Call of Duty game, a game franchise that's story hasn't made me feel for a character since MW3. But that's all those games are. Fictional stories about fictional people. That Dragon, Cancer is a real story about real people. That $15 is paying for you to experience the Green family going through an extremely hard time. It's an emotional game. It's not right to rate it the same way you rate Call of Duty.

    And if you can't connect to this game, go watch the videos that Mini Ladd, Markiplier, JackSepticEye, and many other people have made. See how emotional they get. Go watch the video by SoulPancake, who meets Joel. That is the character from the game you played.

    I feel for Ryan and Amy as I play or watch this game, and I hope you do as well.
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  2. Nov 13, 2016
    10
    This is a very personal and brave work, and the business should be proud of it.
    I played it all in one go, I didn't feel right breaking it in
    This is a very personal and brave work, and the business should be proud of it.
    I played it all in one go, I didn't feel right breaking it in more sessions.
    There are no puzzles, there is no arcade (well, there is one actually), here the mechanics serve the feelings and the storytelling. And they do it well.
    One remarkable things that was done right is the use of game-play to communicate discomfort. To do so you have to put the player in an annoying and frustrating situation, without giving any obvious action to take. Feeling lost can be a deal breaker to many players and it is a very risky design choice, but here it is done very well. You will feel that discomfort, you will feel the frustration as the protagonist does, yet it won't last too long to become redundant and pointless.
    There is also bit where you are invited to follow a conversation exploring the different point of views. Brilliant.
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  3. Jan 13, 2016
    10
    In response to the claim that That Dragon, Cancer is not a game. Who cares if That Dragon, Cancer is a "game"? Seriously? It doesn't have toIn response to the claim that That Dragon, Cancer is not a game. Who cares if That Dragon, Cancer is a "game"? Seriously? It doesn't have to fit the narrow definition of "game." It has to be played, that makes it a VIDEOgame. Pretty simple really--you play it, therefore its a vidoegame. I am pretty tired of this discussion of what is and isn't a game.

    Anyway, I think TDC is a great example of why, as the medium of videogames has evolved in terms of artistic sensibility, its really weird to grade them on old rubrics like difficulty, replayability, and fun factor. Critics keep doing this in their reviews though even though most people have eschewed the categories themselves.

    What you need to know about TDC is that it is incredibly compelling, incredibly heartfelt, and incredibly emotionally challenging in all the right ways. Its not mechanically challenging or even mechanically novel, however, its mechanics poetically illustrate the value of grief, something I have never experienced in a game before. This game wrecked me. It made me feel for the Greens, more than that, it made me determined to love people who grieve. How does one possibly grade that experience on a 10 point scale? You can't really, or at least it feels very weird to experience that and shave off 2 points for a couple glitches and floaty platforming mechanics.

    If your rubric keeps you from experiencing the emotional power of a game because of these types of things, your rubric probably needs to be thrown out. Start from scratch. Experience things as a human being before you experience them as a "gamer."
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  4. Jan 15, 2016
    5
    This game is really interesting. Yet, it fails because of its lack of interaction that we get from the plot. I do get that this is anThis game is really interesting. Yet, it fails because of its lack of interaction that we get from the plot. I do get that this is an exploration game but I wish there would be different outcomes. The plot was also ridiculous. Graphics are okay (mediocre). I just don't really like this game. I don't feel like playing this game once more which is a major thing to consider. I tried my best to stay positive when I played the game but this is my final grade. 5/10 Expand
  5. Jan 17, 2016
    4
    You can play both a dvd movie and a videogame.
    The difference lies in the verb "play". When you play a videogame, it has active meaning:
    You can play both a dvd movie and a videogame.
    The difference lies in the verb "play". When you play a videogame, it has active meaning: playing influences the story and the outcome of the game. When you play a dvd movie, it has passive meaning: you watch the movie, and the interaction is minimal and restricted to few controls (pause, fast forward, ecc) which don't influence the story.
    By definition, this is not a videogame. The score is an average between the story quality and the technical mediocrity.
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  6. Jan 13, 2016
    2
    That Dragon, Cancer makes an attempt at discussing something as serious as dealing with the horrible, horrible loss of a child; my heart goesThat Dragon, Cancer makes an attempt at discussing something as serious as dealing with the horrible, horrible loss of a child; my heart goes out to the family.

    Unfortunately, That Dragon, Cancer, is about as much of a game as is The Stanley Parable or any other "games" that make an attempt to to make some sort of commentary on life, love or the state of the industry.

    Further, it also doesn't excuse the product from criticism, regardless of the message, no matter how personal or emotional.

    As a digital product, advertised as a "game" (and I use that term loosely), That Dragon, Cancer suffers from a hodgepodge of bugs, glitches and other technical difficulties.

    The reality is, this product does nothing new, it has nothing revolutionary about it. And I simply cannot review a product based solely on the level of emotional attachment some people may develop for this product.
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  7. Aug 15, 2016
    0
    What a boring and pointless game. While other people are dying we must care about this kid and make a whole video game about it! The game isWhat a boring and pointless game. While other people are dying we must care about this kid and make a whole video game about it! The game is so boring and cliche that the didn't even try! I bet their kid will come back from the dead to just kill this game. Cancer is sad but it doesn't need a god damn game! You can make like books or something but a VIDEO GAME? This game is ungodly. I don't even want to call it a game for the sake of it. Oh wait my cat had cancer and died so I must make a 3 hour game that is boring and a waste of time! Know what? Everybody who has cancer must get a game! NOPE just this one kid and the game is boring and 100% cliche and unoriginal. I am sorry for their lost but WHY A GAME! Expand

See all 28 User Reviews

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