I am always wary of any form of media with Frankenstein’s name in it. Usually the name Frankenstein is given to the monster, when in the original novel the monster had no name. Frankenstein was just the name of the doctor. For whatever reason, I thought that The Frankenstein Wars would be about big monsters fighting each other. I couldn’t be more wrong.
The Frankenstein Wars is a text game developed by Cubus Games for iOS and Android devices. The script of the game was written by Paul Gresty. Gresty tells the story of two brothers on two different sides of a revolution. Both brothers hold incredible influence in the war: they both know how Victor Frankenstein’s gave life to the un-living. As the war rages, the brothers must cope with their definitions of life, find meaning in their struggles, cope with the guilt of unleashing a new kind of warfare on the world, and fight for their own survival.
The game plays out like a book, with the player taking control of the brothers and reading about the world and the consequences of the brother’s actions. When the time comes and a decision must be made, the player can choose from a range of options stated in text. The game also incorporates another interesting place where the player must make tough choices: the map system. In the chaos of a war, the brothers must navigate battlefields and burning mansions. Choosing different locations lead to different events. As a whole, the game presents itself nicely: the writing is consistent, the menus are sleek, and the music and design promote the story’s atmosphere.
As a self-contained story, one would wonder about the replayability value. The game follows a series of levels or chapters, so after the first run through you at know all the major plot points. The game gives you a series of achievements to incentivize you to find specific events in decisions that you make. The game also has artwork for specific events in the story that you can find. But none of these alone give the game any replayability. Just like the reason for re-reading a book, the most important reason would be the story. Fortunately, The Frankenstein Wars knows how to tell a good tale.
The two main characters, Anton and Thomas Clerval, are fascinating foils. They are very fleshed out characters which interact with the world nicely. The events in the story are almost always exciting or shocking, if not a little convenient at some times. Most importantly, the themes of the tale are carried with reverence. In a world where the dead can be revived what separates the recently dead from those who have not fallen? In a war can you spare any combatant, even if that person is your own family? Can you trust your own allies, even if they hold different ideals then you? All of these question are explored, but like any good story, it does not force you to accept any one answer. Instead, The Frankenstein Wars uses its medium ingeniously. You make the decision and choose what the two brother’s should believe in. You may not decide some of the game’s larger plot points, but you do get to choose something far more important: the meaning of what these events mean. For this reason I give The Frankenstein Wars 8.5/10.