A review copy of Mystery was provided by Van Ryder Games. We would like to thank Van Ryder Games for supporting our blog. All thoughts, comments, and pictures herein are our own.
Back in the proverbial day I was the weird kid that collected comic books. I remember eagerly awaiting the next issues for a bunch of titles that I read religiously. Comic book day could never come fast enough. Comics helped me through a lot growing up like moving to a new place, trying to fit in, figuring out who I was, puberty, you name it, comics tackled it.
As I got older I grew away from comics, but I still have my collection buried deep in my hallway closet. Every now and then I am drawn back to them for a time, until they do something to make me mad, like killing off my favorite character. But in the end, they are like an old friend to me, and I always know they are there, whenever I’m ready for them.
With all of that being said it came as no surprise to anyone that when Van Ryder Games released their line of Graphic Novel Adventures (GNA) last spring, that I was immediately intrigued. When Meeple Mountain and Van Ryder Games reached out to me to write an article for Captive, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. You can read all about it here, if you’d like. SPOILER ALERT, I loved them.
Fast forward a little less than a year, Van Ryder announces Season 2 of the Graphic Novel Adventures, currently on Kickstarter. This time they upped the ante for my by including Mystery, written by CED, illustrated by Stivo and translated by JF Gagne, a GNA about becoming a superhero! It was like my childhood fantasy come true. Once again I was immediately on board!!
Mystery, like the previous GNA’s is a graphic novel written in the Choose Your Own Adventure style with boardgame elements implemented. A perfect marriage of gaming and graphic novels. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the GNA series, you are the main character of the graphic novel. The choices you make can be life or death, the difference between success or failure. Each book contains a character sheet that tracks different stats of the character you are playing. In Mystery, this is a new superhero, trying to earn enough Hero Points to become part of an elite superhero team. Along the way you will also be able to earn and upgrade your powers such as flight, super senses, your fortune, and strength. Each of these traits can help during different tasks and skill checks.
There is not much that I can say about Mystery that will not spoil the fun for everyone, but I can say that it is a smooth, fun adventure. In comparison to the first books in the series, I found Mystery to be much lengthier. I have played through several times already, and more than once I have had to play over several nights. I love the artwork of this particular book, it goes perfectly with the theme.
As with the other books in the GNA series, you can read through dozens of times without seeing everything, and certainly without having the same experience twice. The more you play the more you can think out some of your choices making the beginning rounds easier to work with. For example, it became clear to me after the first try which powers I should allocate my starting two points to. After that, however, my adventures always branched out into different, and fun places. The story leads itself to many laughable moments, and I’ll admit to laughing out loud more than once. There are plenty of nods to comics of old as well as the old comic book tropes.
Mystery also includes cool QR codes that you can scan with a QR reader. These codes, not necessary to game play, unlock cool background information on the locations and characters that you are interacting with. It was a nice little touch that really helped the story come to life for me, after all, who doesn’t like a little backstory?
Like it’s predecessors I love the fact that GNA’s are completely portable, and can be played anywhere! I have taken my copies of the first season to the beach, to doctors offices, on car and plane rides, and even to school with me. There is nowhere that you can’t bust a copy out and play. I love that it is a game that I can drop in a backpack, pull out, and use anywhere because the footprint just the size of a book. One small thing, the copy that I was sent was a paperback, Van Ryder Games will be selling their copies in hardcover format, making the book much nicer (if you can imagine that) than the one I have pic of here.
Season 1 of the GNA’s was incredible, and based on the small sampling of Season 2 (there are five books offered this time around) it is going to be better than ever. I am already waiting for Season 3! If this sounds like something that might interest you, (and really how could it not?) head over to the Kickstarter before march 25, 2019 and pick up your copies. You will not be sorry!!