The Beginner's Guide Reviews
A peculiar experience that's personal, sincere, and full of questions to unpack, though it asks them far too bluntly.
The Beginner's Guide poses a number of academic questions around the nature of choice, interactivity, and creativity. While it offers no firm answers, it's one of the most thought-provoking and ultimately disarming interactive experiences I've had all year, and one I won't easily shake off.
The second game from the creator of The Stanley Parable is an intensely personal character study and one of the most daring games in years.
Filling your head with questions that have no easy answers, The Beginner's Guide is confusing, thought-provoking, and unlike anything you've ever played.
The Beginner's Guide is a fascinating journey into the thoughts and processes involved in the creation of a video game, and the people that make them.
The Beginner's Guide offers a personal and sometimes eerie perspective on amateur game development.
With The Beginner's Guide, creator Davey Wreden starts with a brilliant premise, only to waste it with his insistence on telling rather than showing within his barely interactive worlds. Games don't necessarily need to be fun to work, but they should at least be engaging—something The Beginner's Guide can't maintain during its 90-minute running time.
[If you're a fan of Davey Wreden's work or simply wish to see [insecurity and mental health] themes tackled in a video game, then I'd recommend giving it a shot. At the very least, The Beginner's Guide will provide you with an experience unlike anything else in the medium.
On the surface, The Beginner's Guide is a game about game design and critical analysis. Digging deeper, it provides a window into the mind of a man I might not have fully understood otherwise. It does all of this in a way only a video game could. More than anything else, it has caused me a lot of introspection, a feat few games ever achieve.
Davey Wreden's follow-up to The Stanley Parable attempts to loosely tie together disparate game sketches, but fails to live up to its predecessor.
There's a heartfelt story here, but it's one you can watch just as easily as you can play. Try it.
So did I enjoy it? Kind of. I think I appreciated it more than I enjoyed it, and then that appreciation was tinged with a wish that it could have been more. More clever, more surprising, more deep. But more importantly, it made me think, made me worry about people I care about, made me uncomfortable. And for that, I think, it deserves praise.
It's a game I may only ever play once, but I'm thoroughly glad I did. For those who hate "walking simulators" and the "pretentious" side of independent games, you should probably steer clear. The rest of you? There's more to this game than it's 90 minute runtime. The fact I'm still thinking about it, deeply, hours after I played it is all part of the value too.
It's easy to have mixed thoughts about The Beginner's Guide, but as a game that aims to make you think, it does accomplish this goal. It has some features you don't see too often, such as narrator intervention during unplayable sections, and each level has something unique about it. I still don't know whether I truly like it, but I'm not sure it's meant to be liked, just taken for what it is.
The Beginner's Guide is an incredible art piece of a game that gets you thinking your relationship with the games you play.
The mere suggestion of indie misery will captivate industry insiders and tantalize anyone else who may or may not get what Davey Wreden is going for.
The Beginner's Guide is not lightning in a bottle like The Stanley Parable, nor is it a checklist of graphics and sounds that players should run through. For people that want a taste of the hardships that indie developers endure, however, you can do no better.
[O]ne of the most emotionally alive games on the market
I 100% enjoyed all of my time with The Beginner's Guide, despite a few instances of clumsy writing, up to the point where the last chapter slipped over into the epilogue. I feel like the tail end of the game is almost kitschy in how it plays out, and I believe that the game would have been so much stronger and braver for ending with the last voiceover of the final chapter. By continuing to go on and on with the narration, I felt like I was being robbed of significance by someone attempting to visually and emotionally sew up something that could not be repaired. This is all to say that you should play the game.
It's an unconventional game with interesting ideas—questions we don't ask often in games, mainly because most games aren't interested in this sort of dialog. We subsist mainly on a steady diet of summer blockbusters, and it's not often a weird art house game like The Beginner's Guide comes along, let alone gains any traction.