While blockbuster titles like “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto” get all the press, the rise of relatively open software stores on PCs, consoles, tablets, and smartphones has allowed for a major increase in the viability of games made by smaller, independent developers.
“The Novelist” doesn’t have the big action set pieces or cinematic cutscenes used to tell stories in most games. Instead, the player drives the story directly through gameplay.
The game puts players in control of a nigh-invisible, “Paranormal Activity”-like entity (see: character above) haunting a house on the coast of Oregon. As the game begins, a novelist and his wife and son move into the home for the summer.
The novelist, Dan Kaplan, is struggling to complete his second book. Meanwhile, his marriage is going through a rough patch and his son is having trouble in school, both socially and with his work. Basically, it’s not a good time for the Kaplan family.
Of course, none of this is told to the player outright. Instead, the player has to sneak up on the Kaplans to “uncover memories” via possession and find clues laid around the house. Letters to and from family, diary entries, and the son’s crayon drawings slowly reveal what each of the family members are thinking about and what they want in life.