Zombocalypse Now (Digital Gamebook)
Tran, Thuy (colors)
0984067809 / 9780984067800
278 pages |
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||Your day takes a turn from the worse when your Internet date turns out to be a brain-eating zombie. Oh, and you're a stuffed bunny.|
I've long complained about the general shortage of humor in the gamebook world, and I'm glad to see a respectable number of recent releases taking advantage of the format's potential for enjoyable silliness. This particular example is a good one, and it marks a strong debut in the form for new author/illustrator Matt Youngmark.
I admit to having a soft spot for the zombie genre, and one of the pleasant surprises about this book is that it covers its bases quite thoroughly -- there are a lot of choices and endings in the book, so you get to navigate your way through many of the expected situations of a zombie story. Much of the book's humor comes not from particularly outlandish zombie scenarios but rather from the inexplicable juxtaposition of standard zombie tropes with a world where a minority of the citizens are stuffed animals. The book makes no effort to explain this; it's just there, and that's what makes it funny. The moment when you discover that the police force is being run by your old nemesis, Clampy Pete the stuffed crab, somehow by itself made the whole book worth reading for me.
I won't claim that the book is perfect -- it suffers a bit from the current market oversaturation of zombie comedy (how did that even happen?), and while it's funny, there isn't necessarily a chuckle on every page. Still, it's an enjoyable read, professionally produced and peppered with appealing illustrations, so the series is off to a good start. Now the wait begins for Time Travel Dinosaur. I hope they're serious.
WOW. Okay, this was a LOT of fun. Even beyond the novelty and whimsy of reading a choose-your-own-something book in the first place, this one is done *extremely* well. Reading through to each new ending is entirely entertaining, as the writing keeps a constant sense of humor that's both funny and inventive. However, it's when you really start to have read through most of the branches that an unexpected Easter Egg emerges, as your discoveries down different roads illuminate your newest path, whether it's having a previous main supporting character crop up in only a passing cameo, or having something occur that would have just seemed like random apocalyptic oddness if you hadn't learned more about the backplot through a markedly different path before. The sum of all these mutually-exclusive choices adding up to a larger understanding of the story in aggregate is something rarely used in these kinds of gamebooks - as a lifelong fan of the medium, I can't recall another instance offhand - and it made the end product far, far more innovative and satisfying than it really had any right to be.
Above and beyond all expectations; pick this one up!
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