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Game Info:

This Book is a Dungeon
Developed by: Nathan Meunier
Published by: Black Shell Media
Release Date: Oct 9, 2015
Available on: Windows
Genre: Adventure, Novel
Number of Players: Single Player game
ESRB Rating: Unrated
Price: $5.99

 

Thank you Black Shell Media for sending us a review code.

Interactive book style games and horror are usually two genres that don't hit that entertainment button for me. Usually a novel game like the Telltale series of games bored me personally. It never forced me to use my imagination. With horror games most of them rely on cheap jump scares or usual safe bets like zombies and vampires. With both of these genres, not many people try to push the limits like other games do. Yet someone decided to channel the madness of H.P. Lovecraft in the game This Book Is A Dungeon. It's rare that I'll give such games a try so let's see if it really scratched my itch for horror.

This Book is a Dungeon
Highlights:

Strong Points: A strong minimalist game that evokes a sense of fear and horror.
Weak Points: No checkpoints or clear measurement of how to get to different endings.
Moral Warnings: Extremely violent story with self-mutilation and a focus on occult imagery.

This Book is a Dungeon is a simple choose your own path novel game. You are an unnamed character who has just been diagnosed with cancer. On your lonely trip back home on a subway you notice a package with a grotesque book. Once you take it home you get sucked into an eldritch dungeon with no idea what's happened. You have no powers, no magical abilities, or any extra strengths while you're in this world. As a normal, weak and lonely human you must survive by any means necessary. After you get through the first dungeon, you are presented with three challenges that you must solve. Death will start you over from the beginning though you do have the option of skipping the first dungeon after you play the game the first time.

Visuals are minimal pixel graphics with no animations to speak of. The only interaction you'll have is picking blue text options as you're reading the story and seeing the results of your choices. The game has no soundtrack or audio effects. However, the game's journey is very well written and absorbing. Text is not usually enough to drag someone into a story, yet Nathan Meniere is a very masterful writer. This adventure sparked my imagination which is impressive to say the least for a text based game. If people are curious a developer's diary is included with the game.

This Book is a Dungeon
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 0/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 54%
Violence - 4/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 3/10

The only negatives in this game are very nitpicky. Some checkpoints may have been nice as you explored the story. While sound isn't necessary to enjoy this game a bit of ambiance might have enhanced an experience that requires a lot of imagination. This game isn't made for everyone and those seeking a catch-all experience will be very disappointed with this game.

When it comes to morality, expect demons, ritualistic summonings, magic and occult references in spades. The character you play as has to do whatever he has to for survival and that includes self-mutilation to use blood as paint or using rituals to try and trick or make deals with demons. Despite the simplicity of this game I recommended keeping it away from children under the age of 17.

If you want a horrific experience that shows how far a human will be pushed for survival then This Book Is a Dungeon will horrify you to the core. 

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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