Adventuregame Comics: Leviathan
I tend to enjoy solo games and especially narrative experiences that involve puzzles. As a child I read lots CYOA books and I’ve always found non-linear books to be exciting. So when our editor handed me a copy of Adventuregame Comics: Leviathan to review, I was quickly pulled into this graphic text adventure.
Adventuregame Comics Series
Adventuregame Comics is a new series of interactive graphic novels by Jason Shiga, creator of the similar structured game/book, Meanwhile. The series is designed to let readers to choose different paths in a graphic novel format that offers multiple endings. While this is similar to other (CYOA) book formats, Adventuregame Comics excels with great writing, illustrations, and puzzles that go beyond choosing one of two paths.
Leviathan is the first book in this series and follows the story of a young villager who must defeat a giant sea monster that has been terrorizing his town for years. The book is set in a medieval coastal village where Arlo, a young boy, decides that he has had enough and sets out to find a way to defeat the Leviathan. Along the way he meets a group of other villagers who are also determined to save their town.
Non-Linear Graphic Novel
The story of Adventuregame Comics: Leviathan is navigated through an implied system of left-to-right and top-to-bottom, like most comic books and graphic novels. Shiga adds a directional indicator to help readers better navigate the story. This helps to assign a sequence to each illustration which ensures the story is told coherently. By following the indicators, readers can focus only on the passage that matters and ignore the other non-applicable passage. It flows so well that it is difficult to put the book down once the adventure is started.
Day and Night Cycle
Unique to Leviathan, there is a day and night cycle. Some events can only occur during the daytime, and some are only available at night. It offers a realistic experience, where readers have to plan ahead if they want to capitalize on the day/night cycle. While the longevity of the story has no impact on the story ending, it does get redundant after a while. For example, when readers miss an opportunity to do something during the night, they will have to wait a day to reattempt while getting through yet another day of routines.
Reminiscent of Classic Sierra Video Games
The dialog in Leviathan is short and concise, effectively driving the story at a good pace. It draws readers in immediately and keeps them intrigued. This reminds me of the classic Sierra games like King’s Quest, where players have to unlock the story by solving puzzles and mazes incrementally. The story in Leviathan is also similar, where readers have to make choices and solve problems to progress through the story.
No Red Herrings
One appealing aspect of this book was the lack of red herrings in the story. Every location and character in the story have a specific role to play, making it clear that each decision and action taken by the reader has a purpose and an impact on the outcome of the story.
Overall, Adventuregame Comics: Leviathan is a fun adventure that pulled me into its puzzle for a few days. The interactive format allows for replayability, with different paths to take and outcomes to experience. The lack of red herrings and the clear purpose of each location and character in the story make it a satisfying puzzle. If you are a fan of graphic novels and interactive stories, Adventuregame Comics: Leviathan is definitely worth checking out.