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Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
Entertainium (Jan 20, 2014)
By the end, I felt like I’d played a tangible role in shaping the course of the Kaplans’ lives. That the ending I got was a natural culmination of all the choices I made rather than something manufactured according to a checklist, even if that’s precisely how it works. Giving choice actual weight in games is tough, but The Novelist succeeds in doing so.
GameSkinny (Feb 10, 2014)
Orthogonal Games ‘ The Novelist is a thoughtful, narrative-driven game that asks us to consider the compromises we make, or don't make, for those we love.
Indie Haven (Mar 16, 2014)
I have trouble classifying The Novelist as a game because it functions just fine without any of the gameplay elements at all. As a piece of interactive media though The Novelist is thought- provoking and explores a space rarely touched on in games.
85 (Dec 26, 2013)
What makes The Novelist a tough game is its story, not gameplay. Using stealth is a clever mechanic and is incorporated thoughtfully enough. Still, it only hints at the deeper purpose of using a ghost as the playable character. As a small title, the game could have hit all the trappings of low budgets and being “too out there” for some. But The Novelist takes strength from its honest and often painful story. Families and people can fall apart. They can be miserable in some places while happy in the next. Kent Hudson obviously drew from experience when creating the game and that memoir tone can resonate with anyone who has similarly struggled as Dan or his family did in the game. The Novelist might not be the most typical game this year but it receives a recommendation because of its emotional punches which never miss an opportunity to make the player react. That portrayal of human honesty and vulnerability places it among the best of this year’s storytelling in video games.
Miasto Gier (Dec 29, 2013)
Jeśli szukasz gier dających do myślenia i oddziałujących na emocje gracza - lepiej trafić nie mogłeś. Zdecydowanie jeden z najciekawszych tytułów niezależnych.
85 (Dec 11, 2013)
Wie andere kleine erzählerische Experimente zuvor beweist The Novelist vor allem eines: Viel entscheidender als die Technik ist das Drehbuch eines Spiels. Hier geht es um die Faszination des allzu Menschlichen und die Auswirkungen unserer Handlungen. Man identifiziert sich und fühlt mit. Ohne einen moralischen Zeigefinger wird man unweigerlich in moralische Zwickmühlen jenseits von Sieg und Niederlage geführt. Die Spielewelt hat wieder etwas gewonnen – das erste interaktive Familiendrama.
Nivelul2 (Apr 03, 2014)
The Novelist face primii paşi pe un teren virgin. Ideile proaspete şi abordarea necanonică îl ridică din maldărul indie, dar o relativă lipsă de profunzime de la un punct încolo îi neagă accesul în grupa Jocurilor cu majusculă.
Adventure Gamers (Jan 08, 2014)
Determining the fates of a family in crisis can be very fun and emotionally challenging, but the lack of puzzles leaves The Novelist feeling more like an interactive stealth story.
The Indie Shelter (Dec 26, 2013)
The Novelist si aggiunge allo scaffale dei vari Papers, Please, Gone Home e To the Moon, ricordandoci come il videogioco possa essere, finalmente, molto altro rispetto al mero intrattenimento. Non si tratta di un gioco perfetto, ma di un’esperienza emotivamente impegnativa che vale la pena vivere. Lo trovate su Steam al prezzo, leggermente altino, di 19,99€.
80 (Dec 19, 2013)
While it doesn’t provide the most compelling gameplay experience around, The Novelist is a captivating look at a small family’s struggles and your role in their lives. The writing is top notch and no matter what path you choose to take, the impact of your choices will be felt by the time the credits roll. It’s yet another example of the strength of interactive narratives and the many ways in which games can explore stories from perspectives unseen in other media.
cublikefoot (Dec 11, 2013)
The Novelist was an excellent story, easy to immerse yourself in. I highly recommend it for anyone that plays games for the story, not so much for the gameplay. It truly is a fascinating game, if played by the appropriate player.
We’re simply not used to having real emotional reactions to video games. Sure, some titles are getting better at it, but for the most part that’s something truly lacking in the medium. There is tons of adrenaline but not much else. The Novelist stirs up feelings and makes you want to bend to Linda and Tommy’s needs. But then that brings us back to the whole overarching concept of the game: there may not be a possibility to manage everyone’s wants and needs. If you haven’t been scared off by the concept it presents, then The Novelist shall likely prove a worthwhile experience.
Absolute Games ( (Dec 31, 2013)
Казалось бы, вся игра про то, что семейная жизнь — это вечный поиск компромиссов. Но The Novelist намного глубже, чем кажется на первый взгляд. Ее автор прекрасно знает, что в жизни бывают ситуации, где компромисс невозможен. По сути, перед нами симулятор человека, оказавшегося на распутье. Он пишет не книгу, а собственную жизнь: именно сейчас от его решений и поведения зависит вся дальнейшая судьба. Здесь нет черного и белого, нет правильных ответов. Равно как и нет возможности переигрывать дни заново и перебирать варианты. Все как в жизни.
Riot Pixels (Mar 24, 2014)
Слегка неуклюжий сборник неинтерактивных экспозиций в стиле Dear Esther, простовато, но эффективно сложенных в единый сюжет.
IGN (Dec 11, 2013)
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. I cared enough about these characters to take an interest in their lives, and though the parent-child relationship comes up short, the parent’s struggles both individually and together are better realised.
50 (UK) (Jan 03, 2014)
It's an interesting short experiment in narrative choices, then, but perhaps I'm just missing the point because I'm single, young, childless, and will never be able to afford that house. In any case, I really hope Mr Ghost gets to flip a table over one day or spew some food just once, because he's really earned it.
JayIsGames (Dec 12, 2013)
It's a dreamy, thoughtful game filled with moments of sweetness and joy alongside the bitterness and hurt, and "winning" is less about finding some magic combination for all the characters as it is simply doing your best to understand and accommodate them even knowing that in some cases, it might not be enough. At times it feels more like an interactive art piece than anything else, and if you can disengage the "High Score/Achievement Get" part of your brain long enough to see yourself in each of the characters, it can be an engrossing and moving experience. Though I had difficulty making a bridge at times between my own feelings and those of Dan and his family, The Novelist is still without a doubt a heartfelt and very personal sort of game that has the potential to move people who have the patience and experience for it.
Gameplay (Benelux) (Dec 20, 2013)
Als speler/ kijker ben je de ultieme onzichtbare voyeur en kan je de gedachten lezen van Dan, zijn vrouw en zijn zoontje. Je voelt dat het gezin aan het ontsporen is, en de vraag is wat je zult doen. Je kunt de onderlinge relaties tussen de drie protagonisten immers subtiel beïnvloeden, maar let wel: elke keuze die je maakt, heeft gevolgen. Ben je het beu dat Dan het pedaalautootje van zijn zoon nog steeds niet heeft gemaakt? Leg dan subtiel de nadruk op het autootje en zet Dan aan het werk. Het geeft een goed gevoel, maar zal het boek op die manier wel afgeraken? Kan Dan problemen krijgen met zijn uitgever en zelfs zijn publicatieovereenkomst verliezen? Wat voor spanningen zal dat geven in het gezin? The Novelist zit vol met keuzes die het verhaal nieuwe wendingen geven. Je schrijft als het ware deze game zelf, en dat is een ware krachttoer die maar al te zeer zal worden geapprecieerd door spelers die open staan voor experimentele games met vernieuwende verhaalstructuren.
GameStar (Germany) (Feb, 2014)
Das Spiel ist letztlich ein ambitioniertes Experiment, dessen große Stärke mehr darin liegt, zu zeigen, was ein Spiel sein kann, als darin, was The Novelist tatsächlich ist. Es ist einzigartig und für einen ersten Versuch gut gelungen. Eine harmonische Verbindung aus Spiel und Erzählung gelingt aber kaum.

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