User Score
6.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 97 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 97
  2. Negative: 31 out of 97

Review this game

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Feb 15, 2016
    4
    Sorry, for the loss, Ryan & Amy.

    The end of the ''game'' it reads "thank you for playing'', but there is zero gameplay, nor is this a game. i really don't see how 14.99 justifies what i just went through. Also, imo, the controls are wonky as heck. i feel like the button mapping could have been made easier. I think i spent about an hour and a half on this, and there were a few times i
    Sorry, for the loss, Ryan & Amy.

    The end of the ''game'' it reads "thank you for playing'', but there is zero gameplay, nor is this a game. i really don't see how 14.99 justifies what i just went through. Also, imo, the controls are wonky as heck. i feel like the button mapping could have been made easier. I think i spent about an hour and a half on this, and there were a few times i was kind of stuck, once underwater trying to (incorrectly) swim up, another time in a hospital room with Joel crying on a loop, and a 3rd time infront of candles in the church where i found myself playing repeater a few times before progressing.

    kudos, for the artistic approach, i thought that was a nice touch.

    i'm not going to really touch too much on belief, bc i don't feel like that should warrant a positive/negative review just bc someone might share a different belief; mine, may be similar, who knows.. But, i kind of wish it was less about ''us'' knowing what exists and that Joel is alright now, and more about how Joel positively left a good imprint on others whilst he was here. it's not my story. it was heartfelt.

    basically, bc of what i thought were weak controls. and, the fact that it's simply not a game. i don't feel it warrants a 15 USD price tag.

    i dislike giving this a negative review. rip, Joel, and to the family, all the best.
    Expand
  2. Jun 4, 2016
    0
    Okay so I like the new trend of pushing the boundaries of video games. So I saw this game get really high ratings and the art style intrigued me. I was verrrry disappointed. I guess people rate it highly because it's about a kid with cancer. I had to MAKE myself finish it to see if it maybe/ hopefully got better, it didn't.

    The voice acting was imo the most unbearable part (I'm
    Okay so I like the new trend of pushing the boundaries of video games. So I saw this game get really high ratings and the art style intrigued me. I was verrrry disappointed. I guess people rate it highly because it's about a kid with cancer. I had to MAKE myself finish it to see if it maybe/ hopefully got better, it didn't.

    The voice acting was imo the most unbearable part (I'm assuming they are the actual parents). I couldn't help but feel like the whole game wasn't even about the kid, it's just the parents moping and trying to say "deep" things to show how much of a struggle they've had having a kid with cancer. Literally, the whole game is some kind of vanity project to tell the world how hard it is/was for them and how amazingly they fought through it.

    Overall, the idea of a game about childhood cancer is great and has lots of potential, but more metaphorically. Actually listening to the parents complain about their babies crying is wayyyy too literal and an absolutely annoying experience for the player. No one wants to hear these people complain forever but instead they could have focused on broader ideas like loss and staring death in the face. The game shouldn't be about them it should be about the whole issue and presenting it in a way that the player will be able to relate. But the creators literally made the whole game about them and their kids even going so far as to use their appearances, voices, and names. They also pretty much tell you in the game that they are game developers. No one cares they are game developers. It's a game about cancer, or is it?
    Expand
  3. Jan 19, 2016
    4
    Oh, dear, I gave a game that's about CANCER a 4/10. Colour me an evil monster.

    I really wish I could give this game a big score, but this just isn't an experience worth going through. If this story was made into some sort of hour-long documentary, I would've watched and loved it. The reason this game gets a 4 and not lower is that I really did feel for the characters of the story (and
    Oh, dear, I gave a game that's about CANCER a 4/10. Colour me an evil monster.

    I really wish I could give this game a big score, but this just isn't an experience worth going through. If this story was made into some sort of hour-long documentary, I would've watched and loved it. The reason this game gets a 4 and not lower is that I really did feel for the characters of the story (and it honestly broke my heart when I learned it was a true one) and I wanted to know more about it. But after about an hour and a half, everything was over and there was a whole lot of nothing left behind. As Yahtzee Croshaw stated when talking about Everybody's Gone To the Rapture, "once you remove the fun and interactivity of The Stanley Parable, you ARE supposed to replace it with something". I simply don't think that "but it's art!!!" is an excuse for glitchy sections and overly-dragging monologues. Heavy Rain worked, The Beginner's Guide worked, but this, unfortunately, does not.
    Expand
  4. Jan 17, 2016
    0
    for a game, it's really bad.

    -You can't even walk yourself, all you do is press your left mouse button to continue the on rails experience and even then you can get stuck. -Very buggy. -Gameplay elements feel very awkward and outright insulting. An example of an insulting mini game - race around the hospital collecting medication while cheery music is playing. An example of a bad mini
    for a game, it's really bad.

    -You can't even walk yourself, all you do is press your left mouse button to continue the on rails experience and even then you can get stuck.
    -Very buggy.
    -Gameplay elements feel very awkward and outright insulting. An example of an insulting mini game - race around the hospital collecting medication while cheery music is playing. An example of a bad mini game - hold left click down when dad is facing the right direction to swim up, however he might turn before you do so, so you can get stuck going in the wrong direction.

    As a narrative it's disjointed.
    - half of the game is spent as a bird in the sea jumping from wreckage to wreckage to listen to some dialogue.

    the ending and the developers celebrate death.
    -the ending is painted as a good thing. The kid is in heaven eating as much pancakes as he likes.
    -the developer's wife even put it down on blog that they celebrate his death anniversary because "he went to meet god".

    Overall a very chilling and inappropriate experience.
    Expand
  5. Mar 30, 2017
    3
    This was a game that I really wanted to like.

    It's an exciting time for gaming; we're starting to see a lot of indie titles like this that challenge the conventional idea of what a game is. While such titles tend to have little actual gameplay and may not be what you could call "entertaining", they often use the medium in interesting ways to tell stories or evoke some sort of emotional
    This was a game that I really wanted to like.

    It's an exciting time for gaming; we're starting to see a lot of indie titles like this that challenge the conventional idea of what a game is. While such titles tend to have little actual gameplay and may not be what you could call "entertaining", they often use the medium in interesting ways to tell stories or evoke some sort of emotional response from the player that's different from what might be possible with more traditional forms of media like film or literature.

    Like Gone Home, Depression Quest, or To the Moon, That Dragon, Cancer, is one such game.
    If you have an interest in unique, narrative-focused games and are thinking about testing this one out, I'd suggest you pick up one of the other titles I just mentioned instead.

    I was drawn to That Dragon, Cancer by glowing reviews from critics and testaments from players that the game could reduce even the most hardened of men to bawling wrecks. Now I'm a susceptible to certain films starring Anne Hathaway or any story featuring a dead dog plotline as the next person, but I was surprised to find myself completely dry-eyed at the end of this.

    So maybe I'm cold and heartless for failing to be moved by this story about the tragic death of a five-year-old from cancer, or maybe this game is just hugely overrated.

    Before I get into what specifically I disliked about That Dragon, Cancer, I want to say that I'm grateful that games like this exist, and I respect the Greens' using a game as a way of sharing their painful experience with the world. Despite all that, personally, it just wasn't worth my Saturday afternoon.

    I did try to engage with That Dragon, Cancer, but something always kept throwing me off, whether it be the game's clunky mechanics, which left me wondering what exactly I had to do to progress to the next level, or slightly hackneyed monologues that expressed the characters' thoughts and feelings a little too overtly for my liking.

    The biggest thing that threw me was That Dragon, Cancer's preoccupation with Christianity. While I understand that faith is important to the Greens and their in-game counterparts, the Christian elements of the game were so overwhelming that they drowned out pretty much everything else. I feel like the developers took a story that could have potentially been relatable to everybody, and made it relatable only to those who share their beliefs.

    From the soundtrack to the letters written by loved ones of those who have passed away from cancer scattered throughout the game, almost everything had a Christian element, making this game feel like two parts religious allegory and only one part personal tragedy.

    I'd rather not end on a sour note, so I won't sign off without first mentioning a few things that I did like about That Dragon, Cancer. The game's most subtle moments are it's best. Snippets of conversations with the family's elder children, and the messages left from Amy on Ryan's phone, which offer a glimpse at the couple's everyday life caring for a sick child, but also carry an undercurrent of hope and love.

    As gaming continues to evolve, I hope that other developers will be inspired by games like this to tell stories in a creative way. Even if the execution isn't great, That Dragon, Cancer offers a glimpse at what a game can be.
    Expand
  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 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
    That 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.
    Expand
  7. 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: 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.
    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.
    Expand
  8. Jan 12, 2016
    1
    Just because this game tackles a subject as serious as the life of a child dying of cancer through the eyes of his parents, that doesn't automatically excuse its numerous failings on both a technical and creative level.
  9. Feb 28, 2016
    2
    Sorry, for the loss, Ryan & Amy.

    But i play games for fun. If i want get depression, i just go to work or i read news. And this "game" isn t game, really. It's rather sad monument.
  10. Jul 15, 2016
    3
    I want to like this game but can't because

    1. Controls are clunky as hell. You can't really control what you want to do, where togo and have to figure out the next step by moving the mouse around. 2. I hate kids. I can't bear baby screams. 3. I am an atheist. Sorry that you have to resort to faith but I don't care about your god who loved your child so much he killed him. 4.
    I want to like this game but can't because

    1. Controls are clunky as hell. You can't really control what you want to do, where togo and have to figure out the next step by moving the mouse around.

    2. I hate kids. I can't bear baby screams.

    3. I am an atheist. Sorry that you have to resort to faith but I don't care about your god who loved your child so much he killed him.

    4. Most people can't relate to this game thus it is unenjoyable. When I was playing it most of the time I don't even understand what I am doing or what the message is about.

    Sorry to say this but in my opinion the developers are very self-centered, whether they realised it or not.
    Expand
  11. Dec 19, 2017
    2
    This game is such a pretentious load of wank I honestly can't understand how anyone could give this a good score. They're probably just pity points for the Greens, and that's not why we're here. We are here to talk games, and as a video game That Dragon, Cancer fails on every single level.

    It's not emotional or touching, its symbolism is ham-fisted at best, it looks downright hideous,
    This game is such a pretentious load of wank I honestly can't understand how anyone could give this a good score. They're probably just pity points for the Greens, and that's not why we're here. We are here to talk games, and as a video game That Dragon, Cancer fails on every single level.

    It's not emotional or touching, its symbolism is ham-fisted at best, it looks downright hideous, and the constant whining about religion is annoying. The gameplay is pretty much nonexistent, too. There's no freedom, no exploration. You have a few objects to click on, notes to read, audio to play. That's it.

    The artistic side of things is godawful. I know this minimalism was a stylistic choice, but there are so few (poorly done) animations that it looks like an alpha build, not a finished product. The audio is slightly better - the music is your typical, boring melancholic piano accompanied by voice-overs provided by the Green family and friends. It's interesting to note that the Green boys are actually pretty decent voice actors. Certainly better than their parents. The camera movement is terrible and the opening sequence with the duck where the camera wildly sways from side to side almost made me sick.

    This is a sad little project. It may have been made with love and passion in an attempt to tell a tragic tale, but if you take these things away you're left with a bad product that's definitely not worth its asking price. I've read the entire blog dedicated to little Joel and it was more educational and touching than this entire game (minus the frequent mentions of god, that nonsense gets old really quick).

    Bottom line: don't let this game emotionally blackmail you, don't give it pity points. It's terrible, and it deserves a bad score. Read the official blog instead if you want to learn about Joel's painful journey.
    Expand
  12. Jan 20, 2016
    0
    It's a primitive, yet successful, attempt for a free publicity and easy $ from the developers. Make a sub-par, pretentious animation and hide behind the wall of emotional blackmailing. You don't like what we made? WELL, THEN YOU WISH EVERYONE DIED OF CANCER, YOU PRICK.
    That's the main, and the only as far as I can tell, point that is being brought up by zaelots of this really sub-par,
    It's a primitive, yet successful, attempt for a free publicity and easy $ from the developers. Make a sub-par, pretentious animation and hide behind the wall of emotional blackmailing. You don't like what we made? WELL, THEN YOU WISH EVERYONE DIED OF CANCER, YOU PRICK.
    That's the main, and the only as far as I can tell, point that is being brought up by zaelots of this really sub-par, overpriced product, poorly disguised as a game. It's not. It's a scam riding one of the oldest ponies for easy dosh and easy ego-boost. Pay up and say you love it, or else you're like Hitler and wish bad for all people. Disgusting, yet effective. Just like any other emotionally blackmailing scam out there. To all these naive people who try to defend this product: do you really think that the developers will donate all their income from this to help fight cancer? Yeah, probably not, but pay us more!
    Expand
  13. 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 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'tWhat 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
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Apr 12, 2016
    80
    Daunting, exhausting and consuming confession of parents about living with the knowledge of inevitable death of their young son does not offer the challenge in terms of gameplay, but empathy. [Issue#262]
  2. 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.
  3. Mar 8, 2016
    80
    All that needs to be known is this is a beautiful, affecting and emotionally challenging title that acts as a truly fine love letter and monument to a lost loved one. It will open eyes and it will help people with their very real grief, and because of that it is a success.