Jul 30, 2013
There’s a sound reason behind the unpopularity of choose-your-own-adventure books. They require a lot of work on behalf of both the creator and the consumer, a lot of talent that could otherwise produce many common books, and in the end, they’re simply not that more exciting than the common ones. Of course, it doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to exist, or that they can’t be interesting in their own way.
Infinite Universe is a choose-your-own-adventure book that’s ever-so-slightly closer to a game than its paper counterparts, and a bit more challenging. The story is a complex sci-fi clutter that, after an hour of playing, still isn’t clear to me. It’s mostly a casual alien-filled action with impossible technologies and cross-planetary adventures, but there are bits of a more complex story, showing up here and there. Describing it would be useless anyway, as the events may differ, depending on the player’s choices. The writing stile is mostly alright, although it’s not that impressive. A particular problem I’ve had with it is the word â€œwhilstâ€ that sticks out on the pages like a Christmas tree in a mosque. Anyway, it didn’t blow me off my feet, but the book is sufficiently interesting and unusual, and definitely counts as a quality literature. The pages of text are often divided by pictures, and enriched with sounds that aren’t anything stunning, but serve well to immerse the player into the world.
As for the gameplay part â€“ it’s mostly absent. Apart from choosing what paths to take, there’s almost nothing to do to keep control of the situation. Combat is calculated from several parameters, with two of them being randomly chosen at the beginning: vitality and fitness. The rest is gained while playing the game. Although the gameplay is not hugely different to the paper RPG books, it’s still interesting to play. There are lots of different choices to make, and there are plenty of paths to choose. There are even three different difficulty levels, depending on whether you like hardcore action, or more interested in enjoying the book. All in all, Infinite Universe offers more than most of the non-digital book RPGs, but whether it’s enough to be interesting in the long run, is unclear to me.
In the end, I can’t say for sure, whether Infinite Universe is good, or simply alright â€“ the book needs to be read from the beginning to the end to say that. I do know that it’s not bad, but it didn’t change my perception of choose-you-own-adventure books much. So, I would definitely recommend it to people, who are already familiar with, and enjoying the books like this one. As for the rest â€“ it’s a very unusual and fresh experience, but bear in mind that it’s a lot closer to a book than to a game.