Updated: Apr 19
Discovering Atlantis is part of the ‘My First Adventure: stories in which you are the tiny hero’ game book series published by Game Flow and distributed in the UK by Hachette Board Games. The series pulls together a variety of writers and illustrators under a 'novel' game design. In this exciting instalment the reader is pulled into the dark sea depths by the writings of Roméo Hennion and illustrations of Jade Mosch.
As the title suggests, your quest to is to find the sunken city of Atlantis and its fabulous treasure. Your journey starts with a choice of three potential submarines offering different specialities… At every juncture from there, as the adventurer you must choose directions and manoeuvres as you encounter various creatures of the ocean; each inspiring 'improvements' to your craft. Smart readers will use their improvements and expertise to inform their future decisions as they get ever closer to Atlantis. The journey is far from easy, however, and your submarine is at risk of damage and leaks, causing you to lose advancements. Eventually tho' you can hope to reach your goal - but not before facing off against an enormous Kraken!
Board's Eye View has previously reviewed another book in this series (Journey to Ochre Land) and the mechanics of the game remain the same, so our description does also. Two distinctive mechanics drive the ‘gameyness’ of this adventure book, both stemming from the cut of the robust, plasticised pages. Each page has large corner notches cut out, so that four dials are always visible to track your inventory of equipment and allies. This innovative and rewarding feature is very satisfying and gives a strong impression of making continual progress though the story. A more familiar, if not still uncommon, feature of the pages is that at every decision point, the ensuing pages are split into thirds (top/middle/bottom), with the reader following only the relevant section until the next decision point.
The relationship of submarine/improvements/choice is well balanced such that you cannot dead end yourself with poor early decisions but neither can you easily succeed - you must consider what you have against what you face and choose your path accordingly.
As indicated by the series title, this book is for a younger audience: the story is appropriate and exciting for them, and the cursive typeface is perfect for young readers. Our own 7-year-old reviewer said: 'It's really good. I can’t really think of any bits that would make it better. The design is really pretty, especially in the Coral Reef. It's cool that you can choose your pages - its definitely different to other books… If you like the ocean or exploring things then this is a good book for you.'
(Review by Michael Harrowing)