I was not expecting how much I'd dig this surreal adventure game where I've somehow broken 'Writer's Law' and have to escape my punishment

Titular bookwalker sprite character on red background
(Image credit: tinyBuild)

First premiered at the Future Game Show, I was intrigued by The Bookwalker: Thief of Tales' Dishonored-like stylized Victorian vibe, and then pleasantly surprised indeed to see it already has a free Steam demo and impending June 22 release date. I decided to load into that demo to see about all this tale thieving myself.

Bookwalker primarily plays like a point-and-click adventure, but it also has turn-based battles and tight resource management, a combination that reminds me of last year's Sunday Gold. The Bookwalker also boasts an interesting dual-world mechanic where you switch between first-person exploration of an apartment building in the "real" world, and the isometric puzzling and battling of its "fictional" worlds. 

You play as a writer in a surreal, alternate universe where words have magical power, but you've been shackled with writer's block (figuratively and literally) for having broken "Writer's Law."  A black market contact offers to liberate you in exchange for entering the dreamlike realities of various books and pulling items out of them into the real world, something I'm guessing is quite illegal under "Writer's Law." The first heist, covered by the demo, sees you going after a potion of immortality in a medieval prison that isn't quite as it seems.

One thing that I already appreciate is how willing The Bookwalker is to punk me. In one of the first rooms of the prison, a key lay enticingly on top of a grate. I interacted with it and oh no! It was heated up by rising steam, I burned my fingers, and dropped it down to the next level. When I found the key again one floor down, I dropped it, again, this time startled by a noise elsewhere in the prison. I finally got my prize after descending to a sub basement, but not without a little razzing from a travel companion I picked up in this new reality.

I also enjoy the strange alternate reality The Bookwalker is building, especially how your first person exploration of the "real" world contrasts with the isometric puzzling of the book layer. You can check out The Bookwalker's demo on Steam right now, with the full game releasing on June 22.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.