Aug 12, 2011

The Book of Living Magic (Reviewed?)

I know I can be overly enthusiastic when it comes to certain games, but, if I were you, I'd really trust me. Believe me, I do know; it's me I'm talking about. Now, I don't usually write about many games, but those I do choose to spend my time with are -for the most part at least- absolutely worth it. Fantasy, indie point-and-click offerings starring girls named Raven Locks Smith who live in the city of Dull, on the other hand, are a particular favourite of mine, so please do expect me to rampantly praise any such offering. Especially considering that Raven Locks Smith is a particularly unfortunate name only a shoe industry motivational speaker would choose for his or her offspring.

Oddly, The Book of Living Magic, the latest game by Jonas and Verena Kyratzes, does indeed star a Raven Locks Smith from the city of Dull, a major urban centre in the Holy Corporate Beaurocratocracy of Yawn west of scenic Borington. Then again, it also sports an interesting menagerie of bottled gnomes, human-taming cats, demonic eyeballs, evil doctors, and, yes, depressed robots. Oh, and as you wouldn't really find such wonders in good ol' Dull, the game takes place in and around the village of Oddness Standing; a wonderful and pretty hilarious place, but also, handily, a perfect setting for a surreal fantasy point-and-click adventure.

So, yes, the game is indeed an almost traditional graphic adventure when it comes to its interface and generally easy puzzles. Very much less so should its plot, quality of writing, setting, visuals, characters and music enter the equation, for The Book of Living Magic is a truly unique -nay, magical- beast comparable only to its equally excellent predecessor: The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge. It's a piece of fine art and just like all proper art (according to "Gnomic Definitions", page 57, paragraph 57) it also is a thing of unique allure. Oh, and it's incredibly rich too as anyone willing to click on dozens of different little things will soon discover.  

The beautiful hand-painted graphics by Verena Kyratzes and the joyfully eerie music by Helen Trevillion fit the world and story that Jonas has crafted brilliantly, and make this one adventure you simply have to play. Even if you don't care much for point-and-click entertainments. It wont take too long mind and I'd rather not spoil it anymore. It's better to enjoy the wonders on offer by yourself reader. Remember: you don't need no stinking guides; never did, never will.

If there is one criticism one could direct against The Book of Living Magic is its length or, to put it better, its lack thereof, though nobody really thought less of, say, The Great Gatsby due to it being a few pages short of a proper novel. It's just that I would absolutely love more of this game. Much more. Something truly epic would be really nice actually.

You can and indeed shall play The Book of Living Magic by following a certain not-so-well hidden link. It is happily free to play, kindly hosted by Jay is Games and can be enjoyed in the comfort of your browser, preferably while wearing nothing but an obscenely silly hat. 

Verdict: A game I would love to have in my bookcase and hang on my wall. Also a beautiful, unique and quite excellent indie adventure game.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. :) Excellent review, and neatly fills my "what to do list" for Friday night and Saturday morning.

    Thank you dear Gnome and despite your best efforts found the well hidden link.... sshh about the silly hat already....

    (adjusts hat and heads of to the magic book...)

  2. Nice hat! And I sincerely hope you enjoy said magic book dear Elderly. On a different note, your hidden link finding skills have significantly improved since your escape. Did I say escape? Well, I meant something else entirely.

  3. lol thank you! :) my link finding skills have undergone a dramatic change....

    (notices his talking to a coat stand)

    ...erm well yes... still getting used to the bright lights... and no, escape is a good word, still can't figure out why you populated the place with poisonous spiders and spike filled pits....

    (considers drafting a survival guide to Greek dungeons..)

  4. Ah, yes, a guide. That would be a perfect summer read for all dungeoneers.


    the talking coat stand

  5. ..(settles down with a pen and paper.....thinks....writes...)

    Day 1: Lost! Dark!

    (elderly sits back and thinks some more..)

  6. oooh... sound exciting...

  7. .....bah!writer's block... I should have taken notes... you haven't a spare muse hanging around by any chance?

  8. It was definitely a weird thing to know that Jonas Kyratzes is a fellow greek. I can say I love Phenomenon 32 a lot.

    Anyhow, thanks for the read, dear gnome. As always.

  9. @ Elderly: Hanging? That's way too exotic. Got a tied one. Would she do?

    @ DualNames: Of course he is my friend. Well, almost a Greek at least. And Phenomenon 32 was just amazing. Cheers and thanks for the kind words! Again.

  10. ..fatherkrishna'sbackfromholsbeenovertohisplacelikeoldtimes... :D

    (takes deep breath...)

    you really do have a spare muse!!.. 8).....she's not dangerous is she? ..wait stupid question..

  11. Of course not, she's tame and willing. Uhm. No, not really. Anyway. YES, Father's back too. How lovely is that?

  12. (....sitting basking in the warm glow of the tethered Muse....)

    ....tis very good Dear Gnome:) strprs, high jinks and that warm cosy glow, and now gaming world domination is within our grasp!

    but, fraid I made a show of myself last night, slept on FK's floor :( but I tidied up!

  13. You tidied the floor up? How magnanimous!

    Oh, and, shhhh...

  14. ...(whispers...)

    What? you see something?

    (looks nervously around Gnomes Lair..)

  15. (Stares intently at muse as she morphs into goddess Kali)


  16. ...very shhhhhh! gulp!...

    please tell me those are morph resistant ropes....

  17. ...gnome?...Gnome!

    (pokes the stone faced diminutive spirit...)

    Ohhh this isn't good :( not good at all!

  18. ...

    A passing narrator:

    A happy end isn't mandatory.

  19. ?

    he's got a point :(

    (turns to stare at Kali)