Teaching Time: 1 mins
Playing Time: 120 mins
Setup Time: 0
Value For Money: Mid
Kickstarted in April/May 2018 Loup Garou was one of four graphic novels with a choose your own adventure core to them. I have long been a fan of such books, when I met Ian Livingstone in person and at UKGE I was a quite undignified emotional mess since Fighting Fantasy books have formed the foundation of most of my life.
The art and presentation of Loup Garou are of good to high quality. I backed for Loup Garou because from the Kickstarter campaign it looked like the most grown up of the four books but still its probably best angled towards late teens, which is a pity given the nostalgia market this format has among us long outside of our teens.
The game itself is based upon riddles, dice based combat and hidden object game play. In practice there are five riddles, only three of which will be encountered of necessity and three hidden objects in the entire book so the majority of strategy and skill comes from maximising efficiency through combats which largely come down to a problem of attrition against you. This is made into an entertaining puzzle by in-game experience and a skill tree the use of which will likely tell the difference between success and failure and makes multiple playthroughs a viable enjoyable option. Exploration is largely a matter of dead ends and double backs and while you're not strictly on rails thanks to a few divergent paths around some problems its fairly impossible to take an actual wrong path and the auto-failure paths are so clearly sign posted that you'll only take them out of curiosity. Playing time should be similar to an average Fighting Fantasy book.
For those with a good memory this book is closest to the large format Asterix graphic novel game books (not the book format ones with the custom dice) from the late '80s. The Asterix books were arguably superior but they were of an exceptionally high standard. Several of the mechanical solutions employed here such as a couple of numbered maps are inevitable solutions for a graphic novel choose your own adventure book but they hark back strongly to the earlier work. In fact some of the framing of certain images in the book suggest a semi-tribute to the Asterix books, either knowingly or by accident.
For fans of choose your own adventure books these graphic novels are solidly produced and provide a satisfying story in a field that is not crowded these days, making them an easy choice. For those who know they are not fans of the format this book will not change their minds. For those who aren't sure, this is both an expensive first choice and not the greatest example of the genre so thus would not be a great introduction.