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 (448 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 25, 2013

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Buy The 39 Steps

 

Recommended By Curators

"A really neat mystery novel turned into a really neat interactive experience. Remains fun and intriguing throughout. Very casual game done right."
Read the full review here.

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
67 of 69 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
13.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 25
This is a Visual Novel. That means there are no real puzzles, no real gameplay, and it is just the story. If you like point and click adventure games, a visual novel isn't a big step backwards from that sort of thing. You just don't get the puzzles that come along with the adventure genre. So when you want a totally relaxing time of just visualizing a story a graphic novel will succeed in doing that without making you have to think much about solving any puzzles. The 39 Steps is probably one of, if not the best visual novels I have ever played. It adds a lot of extra background and lore to explore within this as well that most visual novels don't contain.

The 39 Steps is a classic thriller novel that has been adapted to this medium in such a way that it feels like a big time studio was behind it rather than an Indie team. This political thriller takes place in Europe, mostly in England and Scotland, You are a man that stumbles into a bit of a political conspiracy by chance, which forces you to eventually run for your life and solve the mystery before your life is ruined.

The quality of the artwork is superb. The menus and user interface are clean and slick. There are no bugs, no glitches, and everything is done in a professional way. You can "add a bookmark" at any place in the story to the point that you can do this after every line of text presented. Making it simple to navigate back to where you were. The story is also broken up into about 20 segments so you should never find yourself lost along the way. You can have 3 profiles as well. I think it would be difficult to play this without feeling like this is how a visual novel SHOULD be done. It is as good as it gets for this genre. Adventure fans not familiar with the visual novel genre may just find that this will convince them to try more due to how well made it was.

It has hand painted watercolor artwork that looks extremely realistic, and is a wonder to gaze upon. You feel like you are inside the rooms the story brings you to, the landscapes outdoors that you are stomping through, and they are so well done that you may even feel the sun shining down upon you while you are lying in a field trying to hide from your pursuers. Behind all these backdrops are well placed sound effects to give the right atmosphere. Things like horse's hooves clacking away, the coughs of patrons in a restaurant, and the footsteps of a cobblestone street. Combine that with a perfectly toned musical score to crank up the tension when it is needed, or simply set the stage for some mystery, all aspects of a well done story are in place from a technical standpoint.

The game is mostly done in written text, as all visual novels are, but there are many scenes of the story that give us voice acting. The voice acting is professional. Believable for all times voices are used, accents feel genuine, and the characters all give the right inflections for the tone they are trying to convey. It is some of the best voice work I have heard in a game, and spectacular considering that it is an Indie title.

Besides the voice acting, there are even a few video scenes done in that old time English cartoon way of film and presented in the silent film format. The solid black characters on solid colored backgrounds riding a horse and carriage, or an old Model-T, where you only see the whites of their eyes and teeth. Showing stories being told as they take a trip from one area to another as they are recounted to other characters. There are 3-4 of these and they are an amusing break from the reading. Between these and the voice additions you feel like you get to take some breaks from just reading quite often.

Besides the presentation being top notch, The 39 Steps has an interesting view into the time period in which this novel takes places (1910's). You are able to click on scenes that give you closer looks at objects where you can read letters, look at objects more closely to give you the more intricate details of their design, and most importantly you can read several newspapers from the time period. These newspapers aren't all fictional either. The relevant articles for the story purposes are highlighted, and can be read from an easier view text form, but there are dozens of interesting historical stories and advertisements from the historical time period. You can find articles on politics, the era's fascination with the new flying “aeroplanes”, and I even spotted an article talking about the aftermath of The Titanic in which passengers had taken them to court trying to retrieve lost belongings from America.

The 39 Steps offers an intriguing tale in a visual novel format. Professionally made, great design, and quite satisfying. Achievements are simple to get as they are given by following along with the story so it is an easy 100% game. I would recommend this to any adventure fan looking for a casual story experience. I believe you could finish this game in a few hours (My playtime is way off it didn't take nearly that long). Possibly around 5 hours or so if you spend any time reading the many newspaper articles that are presented for you to browse. Hopefully this group makes more classic adventure titles in this format because they have done a superb job with this one!

NOTE: I had never read this novel before playing the game so I cannot tell you how much you might enjoy it if you have. I enjoyed it immensely having not read the book prior to playing the game. I can only assume it would be less enjoyable to someone that has already read the source material beforehand, as it is to me almost every time I watch a film after reading the book first. ;)
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
This is not an adventure, it's not even a game. It is interactive fiction, but don't think that you have actual influence on the story. That said I'm not complaining about the fact that it isn't a game, since it tells a quite interesting story in an interesting way. The pacing might feel odd here and there, the gesture 'minigames' are misplaced and the visuals while being nice to look at are nothing special. Still I enjoyed the novel presented this way. The story goes a bit here and there, but in the end gets to a closure.

I won't recommend this 'game' if you are looking to play an adventure (like I did), but if you enjoy novels presented in a slightly interactive way with a good amount of decent voice acting, this one might be for you.

P.S.: 10$ might be a bit much for the ride though.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
This is a great blend of a video game and an e-book. Not spoiling anything, this is a great spy thriller set right before WW1. There is limited interactivity since you are usually just clicking on various locations, finding helpful items and clues, and piecing together the mystery. The artwork is fantastic. So many times I wished I could be sucked into the game just to enjoy being in the world of England 1914. While the backgrounds are stunning, the characters are given a silhouette, letting the player draw their own conclusions to their distinct features. I love the cut scenes. They are done in a silent film style, which again draws from the time period. The cast of voice actors is spot on perfect. Now whether or not this game is worth the full retail pricetag is debatable. I bought this game for 1.49 and it was well worth it. Knowing what I know now, I would have paid full price. However, I love story above all in video games. For those who are bothered with the limited interactivity, wait for a sale. I cannot wait to see what The Story Mechanics will do next! This is an indie developer I will keep my eyes on.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 18
Okay, be ready not to play but to read a lot thoughtfully. You don't have any choice while reading, all the process is strongly linear like a book. It's not a shortage, it's a fresh experience.
7/10
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 14
After reading many other reviews, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into. And I must say, despite a few minor temporary audio glitches, I greatly enjoyed this treat. Very relaxing, engaging, immersive, and exciting.

I haven't read the original yet, but I feel this undoubtedly did it justice. While one is usually wary with a movie-adaptation of a novel, I am looking forward to another digital-adaptation from these guys. The love and care clearly shows through.

As long as players are aware of what they are getting themselves into, I'd highly recommend this delightful experience.
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