.”The sons of Uruzimé” is a gamebook inspired by H.P.Lovecraft‘s myths, where we take the role of a teacher of the University of Miskatonic, investigating the whereabouts of one of his students after receiving a desperate letter from him. Our investigation will lead us to descover the sinister secrets in Miskatonic’s campus, and the dark rituals performed in the frat house Iota Psi. This gamebook is the first in a new line within “Gamebook Adventures” by Tin Man Games, called “Gamebook Adventures Choices“, with less of the dice mechanics common in other titles of the australian developer.
I have been following this title for a long time, since it appeard in Google Play in 2012 in its french version, “Les fils d’Uruzimé“. This title, along with “La Drang ’65” (still untranslated) have been made by Studio 09, a tabletop role playing game french publisher, as part of the deal to translate into french the titles of Tin Man Games. Since the announcement of this translation until now, more than two years have passed, so we can expect for them to have taken the time to make a good translation and test the game appropiately. Is that so? We will find out soon…
When we think of “Lovecraftian horror“, a number of ideas come immediately to our minds. Ancient deities forgotten by humanity, morbid rites, despicable cults, revealing dreams… The stories of the author from Providence, even if they ocassionally have racist undertones, necessary to fully understand his world of fiction, have been a constant influence in horror literature since his death. Maybe as it is such a well known universe, they no longer deliver the same impression since their publication in the 20s. After the appearance of the role playing game “Call of Ctulhu” and all its derivatives, Lovecraft’s myths are a well-known and “cozy” territory for me, full of adventures and commonplaces.
In this sense, “The sons of Uruzimé” is an absolutely conventional Lovecraftian story, where the fan of this universe will find all the expected tropes. Here we have the ancient cult to a dreadful and forgotten deity, the ancestral conspiracy, the old volumes full of forbidden secrets, even a long oneiric sequence in the style of the “Dream Cycle” of Randolph Carter. Although conventional, the story is interesting from start to end. Sometimes it forgets its tone as a “horror tale” to veer towards the mere adventure story, but it meets its objective as a work of entertainment.
There is a criticism that can be done to “The sons of Uruzimé“, and it’s that, in this current version, there are too many bugs. They don’t make the story unplayable, but they are common enough to be distracting. We are talking about numerous choices that aren’t active when they should (since we have the object or the knowledge that should activate them) or are active when they shouldn’t (since we have already visited the place we are offered to visit again). Some of the most worrying of these issues are a section that cannot be exited without restarting the gamebook – since both of the choices are inactive – or the last part of the story, that becomes a complete mess – as an example, it is possible to enter the frat house Iota Psi and escape from it as many times as we want during the same play. Some of these problems reveal very little care during the testing process. Considering that the translation has been more than two years in the making, there is no excuse for these many bugs.
I understand, though, that many of these problems will be solved in future versions. If they finally are, I will be able to recommend this “The sons of Uruzimé” as what it is: a fun horror and adventure story, that won’t break any molds in the genre, but can make us spend some enjoyable evenings.