October 31, 2020 (paperback)
June 30, 2022 (hardback: director's cut)
(hardback: director's cut)
400 sections |
Let’s take a peek at PSYCHO KILLER.
Favorite features: Psycho Killer is a startlingly inventive gamebook. There is a wonderful kinetic energy to it: it’s filled with moments of suspense, surprise and an undercurrent of danger that is palpable in the prose and in the mechanics. You feel like you are being stalked in this gamebook. This is the first gamebook I’ve reviewed to receive a score of 5 (exceptional) in any category... and in what for me is the most important category: Sense of Adventure. Well done.
Other strengths: Craftsmanship and attention to detail are super high. There are little snippets of lore and art everywhere. I love the survivor mechanic and the sanity mechanic, which remind me of Arkham Horror. I love how your character is always getting progressively weaker and there are multiple ways you can die. When you do die... and you will... dying is fun, and the game is short enough (400 sections) that trying again does not feel punishing. Stat checks and random rolls are inoffensive and there’s just the right amount of them. The few puzzles I encountered were not overbearing. The story is interesting and full of mystery, from beginning to end.
Drawbacks: I have talked to the author about the art. I think the art works better in some places than others. In any event, it lends the game a B-movie quality that works well and fits the theme. The theme of Psycho Killer is something that may limit the appeal. This is a very violent game, but it does not feel overwhelmingly dark. There is a certain amount of welcome campiness that lessens the emotional load.
Final thoughts: David is a gifted gamebook designer who is not afraid to try new things, and I feel hopeful for the future of printed gamebooks with such talent in the hobby. The past is great, but I’m looking forward to the future.
Gamebook Nook Score
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to the author David Lowrie for the cover images.|
|Users Who Own This Item:||Alatar001, dodgingcars, Seizure, Sheridan77, sireeyore, Smidgeccfc76, waktool (1st; Proof)|
|Users Who Want This Item:||Aldrin23|
hardback: director's cut