Journey to Ochre Land is part of the My First Adventure book series published by Game Flow and distributed in the UK by Hachette Board Games. The innovative game design, by Roméo Hennion, is driven by a mystical story from Mathilde Malburet and all tied together with rich illustrations courtesy of Thibaut Kraeber.
Journey to Ochre Land is a fun adventure book for children which every parent should add to their collection! The reader plays the part of protagonist and decides on what course should be taken as you seek out the cause of a mysterious unwellness in your home. The opening page presents you with a choice of three characters, each bringing their own skills to affect this ecologically mystical adventure towards potential closing pages of: 'well done', 'not bad' or 'try again'.
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 for 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. You'll be reminded of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books which originated with Tunnels & Trolls and were popularised by the Fighting Fantasy game books in the 1980s.
As indicated by the title series, this book is for a younger audience – my 4 & 7 year olds really loved it, indeed they enjoyed going through multiple re-tellings so that they could explore new paths or simply repeat the same path to satisfying success. A few grammatical distractions and typos are present (I suspect as a result of its translation from the en Francais original) - nothing terrible but it is a little disappointing to have spelling mistakes in a book that is for children.
This is a short, easy adventure story that bears repeated delves, both because of the nature of its game design and the physical robustness of the book. It's an all-round family thumbs-up from us!
(Review by Michael Harrowing)