What is this game about?
Captive is a combination of comic book and game. You will use a character sheet to track time, attributes, inventory, and health, and within the book you'll make different decisions that direct you to different numbered panels. In Captive, you are a father who is trying to rescue his kidnapped daughter from a creepy old house. As you explore, the reasons for your terrifying situation slowly unfold, and you'll gather the items and information that you need to emerge victorious. That, or you'll discover one of the numerous ways this game can kill you, and you'll have to begin again.
While navigating through the book, doors and pathways will be labeled with numbers that let you choose where to go next. But you'll also need to keep an eye out for "hidden numbers," which might be placed on or near objects depicted in a given panel. It is these numbers that help you gather objects and advance the plot of the game.
Although Captive is relatively straightforward in terms of its story, it rewards repeated play, because events can play out differently depending on how much in-game time has elapsed before you reach certain areas. There are also items that you need to acquire for certain events to play out. It is possible to "win" on the first or second try, but exploring the book several times to learn all of its secrets will reveal additional information, different outcomes, and alternative pathways.
How does it play solo?
This game is built for solo play.
Captive is definitely worth playing if you enjoy game books and choose-your-own-adventure experiences. The story is fun, and it has plenty of excitement and danger to keep you hooked. Captive has enough complexity to be played a couple of times without it feeling too repetitive, although the plot of the story is simple enough for you to work through all of the possibilities this game can offer in a single afternoon. Unless you like to hang on to your games, Captive might be the sort of thing that you enjoy thoroughly yourself, then pass on to somebody else.
This Graphic Novel Adventure does, however, have a few quirks that can dampen your experience, especially if you just want to blaze through the story. It's possible to play Captive on the go, but you really need to play it in a setting where you can concentrate. It is crucial that you be able to look out for hidden numbers, and on top of that, a lot of the rooms and hallways in this book are connected to each other. You'll need to keep excellent track of where you have been and where you haven't, or else you'll find yourself going in circles and getting frustrated. Additionally, there are a few places in the game where you can get "stuck," in that once you reach them, there is no clear way to backtrack. That can be frustrating, especially if you end up in one of those locations when you still had plans to explore previous areas of the game.
I enjoyed Captive quite a bit, and I spent a lot of time taking notes and finding everything I could because that's how I like to play. I think Captive is a solid choice no matter what type of gamer you are. It can be fun to wring out every last drop of entertainment, but it's also great to just enjoy the ride a time or two and move on.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. If you enjoy CYOA books, this will be right up your alley and will be a great way to while away an afternoon or evening. Just be willing to overlook some minor bumps in the road.
Overall Rating: 3 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.