Prepare to experience the original man-on-the-run thriller in a completely new way. This is a digital adaptation of John Buchan's incredible book (inspiration to Ian Fleming's James Bond!). Be transported back to 1914 London, where Richard Hannay finds himself framed for a murder he didn't commit.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (360 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 25, 2013

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About This Game

Prepare to experience the original man-on-the-run thriller in a completely new way. This is a digital adaptation of John Buchan's incredible book (inspiration to Ian Fleming's James Bond!). Be transported back to 1914 London, where Richard Hannay finds himself framed for a murder he didn't commit. Now he must escape the Capital and stay alive long enough to solve the riddle of The Thirty-Nine Steps. There are secrets to be discovered, locations to be explored and - above all - an incredible tale to be told in this ground-breaking interactive novel.

Key Features:

  • A new form of entertainment, merging the worlds of literature, gaming and film into one visually stunning storyline.
  • Faithfully constructed using the original - and best-selling - John Buchan text, first published in 1915.
  • Hundreds of hand-painted digital environments, and authentic materials from 1910s Britain.
  • 8 different storytelling mechanics, 25 collectible items and 16 awards to be unlocked.
  • An original soundtrack by Si Begg and theatrical voice performances, including Ian Hanmore, Greg Hemphill and Benny Young
  • Created in Unity4, with a playtime of 5-8 hours.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X

    Minimum:

    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:2GHz Processor
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 512MB card
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection

    Minimum:

    • OS:OSX
    • Processor:2.2GHz dual core processor
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:GPU 128MB+
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
Helpful customer reviews
39 of 43 people (91%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 16
One thing that I love about video games is how they can take a story I've already heard several ways, and turn it into an entirely new experience that's just as engaging as if I was hearing it for the first time. The 39 Steps by The Story Mechanics is the first in what they call "digital adaptations", which fall somewhere between a visual novel and a radio show. The idea if simple, but the execution highly stylized and the pacing tightly wound to make what could have been a dry collection of text a surprisingly compelling and intense narrative piece.

I shouldn't have to tell you what The 39 Steps is about (as I imagine most should be familiar with the classic novel and numerous film adaptions and spin-offs), but as a refresher it follows Scottish man Richard Hannay, recently retired and now lost in a series of humdrum days and occurrences. All of this changes when a stranger barges into his life and revels a German plot that if carried out could throw the world into a war the likes of which it had yet seen. Shortly thereafter the man, now revealed to a spy known as Scudder, is found dead in Hannay's apartment, leaving him the only one alive with the knowledge of what is soon to unfold, and the only person who could possibly prevent it.

While the narrative of The 39 Steps is as intriguing and thrilling as ever, it's the way that it's told in this instance that makes it worth revisiting (or checking out for the first time) as opposed to numerous other formats you could choose. The Story Mechanics haven't settled for a simple text format in retelling Josh Buschan's tale, instead using a collection of visual tricks and clever insertion of backstory to create an brilliant interactive story that far exceeds the simplistic adaptations that have been experimented with in the past. Fantastic use of camera angles, deliberate placement of text to draw your eye toward parts of the watercolor backgrounds, and excellent voice acting from all parties make it incredibly easy to get swept away in the plot even during the slower, some may even call mundane, moments.

The only real instances where The 39 Steps falls a tad flat are the awkwardly implemented gestures that sometimes accompany moments like opening doors or reading letters. They were obviously intended to make the game feel more like, well, a game, but they're shoehorned in in such a way that feels tacked on an unnecessary. Thankfully they're infrequent enough that they never amount to more than a bit of a bother nor take but a few seconds to complete.

Though some might scoff at the emphasis on exposition and almost complete lack of traditional gameplay, those that can appreciate The 39 Steps for the bit of interactive fiction it is will be rewarded with an exciting and wonderfully paced tale of spies, murder, and more than a few close shaves. Having no real idea what to expect, I was very pleasantly surprised with the end result of The Story Mechanics's first attempt at a "digital adaptation", and it has gotten my mind spinning thinking of so many other books I'd love to see turned into future games. Hopefully this is only the first to come.
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22 of 25 people (88%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Alright, just played through The 39 Steps today. Took about 4 hours all told to complete, although there was probably an hour of idle time mixed in there. Anyway, I thought it was pretty stellar. A digital adaptation of a book. They say it was the inspiration for Ian Fleming style of writing, I think it bore a lot of similarities to Hitchcock's North by Northwest (and it turns out Hitchcok did in fact do a film adaptation of 39 Steps earlier in his career) as well. A very good and interesting story set in the early 1900's. Although there aren't branching paths, I thought the game till did an excellent job of immersing you into the story completely. Sort of non traditional from a point and click perspective due to a little twist in manipulating some object. The artwork was very nice, mostly done in watercolors and more traditional painting styles as well, with some silent film style cutscenes mixed in. Definitely recommend playing this one.
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23 of 31 people (74%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
Thats how some books in modern time may be presented. I dont like the plot though. "Its a pure Sir Henry Rider Haggard and Conan Doyle", very childish story without meanings. All what these gentlemans do is drink whskies-and-sodas and smoke. "I smoked in a vhsir till daylight, for i couldnt sleep". Nice voice and language perfomances with some scottish accent.
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
The 39 Steps is an interactive crime story adapted from a book.

So you might be not challenged clicking through a text adventure, but otherwise everything is well made. The graphics are painted nearby realistic landscapes uncommon to other comic adventures. There are several historical pictures included. The story takes place in 1914, a few weeks before WW1 breaks out. You are searching for a conspirancy that leads to the upcoming events.

There are rarely search screens during the whole story, but sometimes also a nice gesture function is used. Mostly it's very atmospheric. Only the characters are shown as outlined ghosts. I liked the most when somebody was telling yarn. Then an artistical silhouette movie appeared. The language voices of the characters differs from British English, German, Scottish accent to French accent.

In the end it was getting hard to unlock all awards for the last achievement. But with a little help of the community you mustn't be desperated ...
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 2
As many of the people who have played this game will state that its more of an interactive novel rather than a game and a bloody good one too!A good novel is the one in which you are completely engrossed and you feel it the environment,the characters and the emotions.This game just does that by depicating the scene in form of a backround picture,playing the appropriate background music for the situation and there is actual conversation and narration in important parts.The whole experience is top notch and I would recommend it to all those who love reading novels.Even you if don't like novels then please try to pick it up when lord gabon gives you discounts! :D
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
Enjoyed it a lot!

The 39 Steps is an animated, illustrated espionage-novel with sounds, music and linear narration - and without any real choices for the "player" during the whole story. So don't expect a full pc game, but instead anticipate a classic digital novel adaption, which totally knows how to entertain the audience.
You'll find yourself in an authentic England of 1914 and you'll be able to enjoy wonderfully painted illustrations.
All actions one is able to do are: examining various objects, clicking at things, or moving the cursor from time to time into specified directions to simulate actions, like for example running away, shaving, building explosive devices, opening doors, etc. And it works - and raises the level of immersion during the narration.

It looks great, the atmosphere feels great and the narration has a fluent feeling to it. Plus it's easy to get the 100%-achievements just along the way.
Altogether its an exciting, enthralling Spy Fiction Story with a lot of moments of suspense! Couldn't have asked for more.

I recommend it for relaxed autumn evenings, when reading is just the perfect thing to do.
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
The 39 Steps is a virtual novel with very little interaction. It is 100% impossible to get stuck on this game, because you've got to left click through text or objects (with a big diamond-shaped icon right in the middle of every objects), or simply do a series of left, down, up, right, clockwise or counter-clockwise mouse movements for every single puzzles in the game.

The only part of this game I liked, are the voice acting and graphics, especially the graphics, they are truly amazing! Though, the important aspect of a virtual novel is the story and in the case of "The 39 Steps" I didin't understand much of the story, it kinda ruined it for me. Now i've got to say, my first language isn't english, but I really couldn't understand the beginning of the story. I also couldn't understand any british dialogues, because they were all slang. Some parts were also in German, with no translation what-so-ever.

Another complaint about this game, is how the game is saved. The ''chapters'' takes about 15 minutes each, but if you want to alt-tab (probably a bug) or quit the game, you might have or might not have to restart that chapter all over again. This made me replay at least 3 chapters (which, by the way, you cannot skip any text or cutscenes) and effectively made me watch all of the dialogues and cutscenes again.

I am quite disapointed with this "game" so I cannot recommend it. If you were going to purchase this virtual novel, I really hope you understand english very well and don't mind not being able to have any influence in the story nor have any puzzles to solve at all while playing this.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
This game is pretty good. Visual novel really did a good job to portray Richard Hannay's character in this game. Expect nail biting scenes as the main character tries to escape from a crime he didn't commit. Witness the escalating tension between French and German as he discovered the truth that must be silenced immediately while Richard Hannay tries to outwit his pursuers in an adventure packed game.

The art style is kinda good (mostly at the beautiful landscapes). The voice acting was pretty normal. A video rarely comes but that is certainly acceptable because what's important is the immersion to the story wherein the subtitles and acting did a good job.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 26
Perhaps a visual novel is not my cup of tea as I find The 39 Steps rather boring. I'm a bookworm but I disliked how I can't bookmark the game progress at will, so have to re-watch cutscenes that can't be skipped. To avoid that, I finished one chapter at a time, often falling asleep or wishing I was playing other games in the process.

On a positive note, the art is gorgeous and the voice acting is good. The gameplay itself was quite dull though.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 23
Got this in a Humble Bundle for less than a dollar, and although I haven't finished it yet I can say that even if you are into weird random artsy interactive story things, wait for a similarly steep sale before you consider picking it up. It's a point-and-click, and a very modest one at that; most of it is reading, although it's balanced by good pacing of introducing new visual and interactive elements. I happen to like the plot because it reminds me of Agatha Christie's Poirot stories, but you may find it a little cliche if you regularly read/watch/consume mysteries and political thrillers.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
The most important thing is that this is a "visual novel", not your typical game or graphic adventure.

Once you realize that, it's a very good adaptation. If you have not read the book, here you have the chance to do so, with sometimes more information about the historical context, etc.

The level of interaction is minimal, you just click to make the text go on, open doors and some actions, but it is enough because the main objective is that you read the novel.

As a visual novel, recommended.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 20
I didn't read the actual novel itself, but this adaptation is superb. The acting, the atmosphere and the art - all of it is very beautiful indeed. The credits soundtrack is a beaut too.
Might as well start reading the novel.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 10
Playing through the whole story took me close to 4 hours, and having paid £0.99 for the game when it was on sale, I found it to be unbelievable value for money.
It's a hard game to praise, or criticise, as it's not really a "game" in the traditional sense at all. Self styled as a Digital Adaptation, it has varying levels of interactivity, but plenty of depth.
Although I can't really praise the game makers for the story, I can say that it is beautifully exicuted.

My one complaint is a really daft set of sequences where you need to draw shapes with the mouse in order to make Hannay do things like open doors and windows, or run. They feel awkwardly shoehorned into the game and also make it feel much more like it should have been developed for a touchscreen device.

However, this minor complaint does not take away one jot from the overall experience.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
This is actually a really rather excellent little experience. It's everything you might hope it would be, from the limited description as an "interactive book". It's an atmospheric, detailed, and ultimately engaging way to enjoy a classic novel. I'm still early on in the story, but I'm already sold. It really is rather excellent.

The developers have done a great job, and you'll really enjoy devling into 1914 London. Quite frankly I hope they do some more books in the future.

It's true that you don't actually "do" all that much, but you honestly don't notice. The way you engage with the game world to reveal the story feels pretty organic. It's a bit like GONE HOME, but more honest and enjoyable.

One tip: You can pretty the left mouse button to progress if the "rotate the mouse" doesn't work for you (as it didn't work for me).

Recommended!
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 16
I am both an avid reader and gamer. Never before have a had these two interests crossover so enjoyably.

The 39 Steps, as portrayed by The Story Mechanics, is a truly gripping narrative experience based on John Buchan's famous espionage thriller. The skill in which a quite dated, albeit spectacular, written work is transformed into an interactive experience is astounding.

While following Richard Hannay on his adventures, hours turned to minutes. After a while I was neither reading a book nor playing a game but honestly "experiencing" the story for myself.

The overall tempo combined with the obvious artistic talent seen throughout this adaptation of The 39 Steps creates a digitial experience that can be enjoyed by a far broader audience than a simple book would allow. I would reccomend this game to any reader out there but also to anyone looking for a breath of fresh air, with substance.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 10
Gorgeous artwork, exciting plot and great narrative! (Although it felt a bit akward to get achievments for reading..)
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 20
As this being a visual novel and not a classic video game it might not be made for everyone, but I was pretty much hooked from the first chapter onwards. This digital adaption of an english literature classic is executed pretty well, with beautiful hand drawn background stills for most of the time and an overall excellent atmosphere. The rare voice acting is good overall, the animated portions are great and the reading of the text isn't painful. There are one or two game mechanics which could have been handled better, but as this being the first of its kind that I am aware of, I must say the developers did a pretty good job and I am sure they are able to improve the really small annoyances in potential next installments.

Highly recommended if you like to read (interactive) books/thrillers on espionage in the dawn of World War I, because this one is worth it and I really hope to see more digital book adaptions in the future.

9/10
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
Not as engrossing as I thought it would be, but overall not a bad adaptation.
A little time consuming however, and after a while gets tedious, I don't think I ever spent more than 30 minutes actually playing it at a time, and often found myself wandering AFK to do something else as it never kept my attention.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
I truly love the feel this game delivers.
A very british feel it is.
the game is well narrated and the mechanics are fairly smooth.
But I'm too lazy to read so much content this game gives me.
So you will have to either read a lot or miss out on a few details.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
This is NOT a game, but an experiment to digitally adapt a classical book. It is a new form of entertainment.

http://thestorymechanics.com/digital-adaptations/

I bought it out of curiosity when it was on sale. I haven't read the book myself in real life, but I know someone who has and she has practically told me every explicit detail of the book itself. This digital adaption remains true to the original work, while the movies are notorious for taking liberties in every kind of direction.

Each backdrop is a hand painted background. This makes me wonder how long this actual production took to make? Also when you see the list of people's names in the credits at the end, your jaw will drop with the sheer army of people needed in creating it. This therefore makes me question, especially in this day and age, if this style of entertainment and the amount of money which is needed to create and publish it, will honestly be wasted when trying to sell it to the gaming community at large?

The interaction which is needed to propel the story forward is negligible and while the story has it's moments of suspense here and there, there are still large blocks of moments where nothing much is really happening. The digital adaption will largely play out as an audio book decorated with backdrops, however there are also significant parts which require you, yourself to read or click to skip it entirely. The option to have it all acted out for you is simply not there, which since it most of the time plays out like a movie, I was disappointed that it did not do this all the time.

Most gamers today are conditioned to want constant visual stimuli at high octane speeds, to be entertained every millisecond. This type of production does not do that. Having said that, I still enjoyed it myself as something different. Though they have given birth to a new form of entertainment, this concept while it is still in it's infancy stages it does have a lot of room to grow and mature and it will be interesting to see how this concept flourishes. Might be a worth a look if your into classical literature. Definitely a wait for a sale.

On a sidenote apparently 1914 welsh/cornwall/English was as jibberish as Klingon. Have a google translator on standby...
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