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Metascore
66

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
6.2

Mixed or average reviews- based on 40 Ratings

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  • 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 comeThe 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

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The Novelist - Reveal Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Games Master UK
    Feb 16, 2014
    80
    Lovely slow-burning interactive story that might just teach you something about yourself. [March 2014, p.84]
  2. Dec 15, 2013
    80
    If you haven’t been scared off by the concept it presents, then The Novelist shall likely prove a worthwhile experience.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. CD-Action
    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]

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 12
  2. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. 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 goodA 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. Expand
  2. 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 toWhat 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
  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 moreThis 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. 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 itsA 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
  5. 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 ofI 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
  6. Nov 20, 2021
    7
    Original and satisfying. A slice-of-life game, factor that won't please the majority of the audience.
  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 forThis 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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See all 12 User Reviews

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