“The Novelist” Feels Like a Rough Draft

Full review is posted at Slant Magazine, and I don’t really feel like getting on The Novelist‘s case anymore. Solo developer Kent Hudson’s crafted an interesting concept that lives between Beyond: Two Souls and Gone Home (with a splash of The Sims), but the actual gameplay is atrocious and repetitive, and the mundane story isn’t nearly as interesting or emotional as Hudson believes it to be. If every level weren’t set in the same seven-room house, looking for the same collection of journals and “memories,” there might be something here. Instead, even the first playthrough feels like a grind, all but ensuring that nobody will go back a second time to see if they can lead the Kaplan family to some sort of happy reconciliation. For sheer novelty (see what I did there?), I’d recommend checking this out, but only after it’s been remaindered in a bundle. Right now, it feels too much like a frustrating alpha release (straight down to the amateur voice acting) to be worth the full price.

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