Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment.
User reviews: Mixed (2,391 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 11, 2014

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Reviews

“Depression Quest hinges on its deeply personal writing style. It feels as though you’re reading someone’s unfiltered mental diary. Depression Quest is uncomfortable in that it feels voyeuristic, but the cramped proximity is how you develop a relationship with the character. It’s why, by the end, I was able to say I understood depression a bit better. It's a window.”
Giant Bomb

“[Depression Quest] is ‘game’ as communication, comfort and tool of understanding.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Besides the blues-ridden story, it's just a well-made game overall. It's excellently written, well-paced, and so engaging that you might just find yourself playing again to find out what might happen”
GameSpy

About This Game

Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment. This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people.

  • Over 40k words of interactive fiction.
    Playthroughs are short enough to be done in one day, but long enough for the game to have gotten it's point across.
  • About 150 unique encounters.
    Based on your depression levels, different choices open and close off to you.
  • Content generated based on your decisions.
    The choices you make have a real effect on how your playthrough turns out.
  • Multiple endings.
    See how your choices affected the game's world, and how well you've managed your depression.
  • Audio and visuals react to your depression.
    Listen as the music gets glitchier and see how much stronger the static gets. Watch the color get sucked out of how you see the world.

System Requirements

PC
Mac
Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2+
    • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or later
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Processor: Intel
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 13.04+, Fedora 18+, Arch, Gentoo
    • Processor: Intel Pentium 3 / Athlon 64 or later
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Additional Notes: Gamepad support unavailable on Linux platform
Helpful customer reviews
5,656 of 6,313 people (90%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
This is a free text based experience that just has you clicking hyperlinks as you would a webpage. I can't really call it a game since I don't think the point is to entertain you. It was originally a website and this is just the web-kit version of the site put on Steam. I'm not sure it will help anyone with depression, so much as it lets people with depression think, no you are not alone (the player, not the character 'You'). Other people feel the way you do.

The basic gameplay in Depression Quest is that you will read through things (You is the player character that you will play) and then make a choice of what to do (click a hyperlink).

It sets a story and gives you background information on things. You have everything going for you, a significant other, a circle of friends, a day job. Your girlfriend, Alex is supportive of who you are and understands you. That's more than some people have in real life, but it illustrates you can have everything and yet depression still affects you. At least the characters in the game are supportive of you and not questioning why you have depression or does depression exist or are you just lazy? Its almost like everyone accepts you, but you are the one with a problem that doesn't accept yourself. Its all inward in this experience. You make enough money to support yourself, so money isn't the issue, but money is never a discussion or a reason to the depression, its just all you.

Below each life choice, Depression Quest bluntly tells you that you are not in therapy, nor taking medication for depression, you are just dealing with it. The 'happy' or 'logical' choices are always crossed out forcing you to select the sad choices such as, 'watch TV, work on a project (Depression Quest) or crawl into bed.'

The big thing that I take away from this is everyone around you (the player character) really cares about you. It also seems like there's no way out. Maybe there would be a way out to happiness with diet, less beer, soaking up some sun so your body can make vitamin D or a life change, but that's never explored, you are just suffering from depression and forced to live that way. Depression Quest brings up minor what ifs, such as going back to school or finding a better job might help... but well there's risk. Those statements are never followed up. You have no choice to change things in your life (the character's).

You see the character get worse and worse with no help in sight. Almost as if the entire point of this is to make you the player depressed (which is different than depression). Crossing out logical happy choices for depressing ones. This is a quick experience that finishes after maybe 2 dozen pages of text. I quickly played through it three times and it felt like while there are multiple endings, it didn't feel like I wanted to take the time to see them all. Like reading and carefully selecting my choices leads to more reading to endings that I didn't feel were satisfying. It was too quick of an experience to feel nothing more than a brief diversion. Someone did write me on how to get to the 'good ending' where you are allowed to get help, but with so many choices and endings, I found it difficult to even get the good ending with someone telling me how to achieve it. Again, the happy ending just didn't feel good or satisfying. Maybe that's depression in a nutshell or maybe that's poor writing.

To anyone suffering from depression, there is always help. There are always people willing to help and you are never alone. *hug*
Posted: August 18
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4,416 of 4,988 people (89%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Point blank: I think this game fails at what it set out to do. It doesn't make the user understand depression at all. In fact, it's just the story of some overpriviledged guy too stuck in his head. Nothing awful actually happens to the character. The player isn't made to sympathize with him in any way. Instead it just comes off as "Make the right decision and get moderately better". Actual depression is nothing like that. It just fails on all levels to capture just how dreary and dreadful the world actually looks when you've got depression. There's no sense of hopelessness or despair. The name itself "Depression Quest" is utterly uncreative and unimaginative as well.
Posted: August 17
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1,124 of 1,322 people (85%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
First of all, I hold no grudge against any group, this is merely how I truely think of this program.

Depression Quest is a program that focuses on what appears to be chronic depression and more specifically from a female mindset. Keeping in mind that this is dubbed "an interactive fiction game" with almost no gameplay, I would like to think of this program as more of a webpage story. The writing in this program is at a level of articulation and description that I would expect from a middle school student. Personally, I was disapointed in the level of writing most of all, with this program being a text-based program.

I'd like to make a note for anyone coming here thinking that suicide is a theme here. Chronic depression rarely results in suicide. On the other hand, major depression is typically what actually can result suicide.

I find this program cringe-worthy and I am personally embarrassed to have this associated with depression. I would recomend this to anyone who enjoyed Gone Home, anyone without strong emotional intelligence, and anyone with depression looking for a good laugh with friends with depression.
Posted: August 16
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787 of 920 people (86%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Regardless of my views of the developer, I decided to play and review Depression Quest honestly. And while it tries to be an interesting interactive fiction game, it suffers from several misteps that ultimately made me feeling like DQ was poorly done and pointless to play.
The first thing was the music. I understand something upbeat and jazzy may not have been appropriate, but the same three or so bars of minor chord piano music just got annoying far too quickly. I would have liked an option to turn it off.
As for the gameplay, it's completely told through text with decisions at the bottom, like Choose Your Own Adventure books. The writer was of average quality. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't exactly Virginia Wolfe either. The choices frustrated me, however, by having you frequently unable to select more positive choices over more negative ones. I get that this was to simulate the 'it will never get better' feelings of depression, but there is a difference between feeling it will never improve and actively being unable to make a positive choice in your life, even ones like seeing a therapist. When I was depressed, they couldn't make me NOT see one.
On the bottom of your screen, you have boxes that discuss your condition in regards to depression, if you're in therapy, and whether you take medication or not. It seemed to me, though, that no matter how well the little box said you were doing, the story never reflected that through a brighter outcome (until the ending at least) or by letting you make more positive choices. I understand depression is a struggle, but I never felt any sort of real sense of progression beyond the game occasionally telling me I was with a token pat on the back.
I also question whether this game belongs on Steam. I know it used to be a browser game, but it still looks and plays exactly like a browser game. Why does Steam have to be involved? In the end, I would not have played this game if it wasn't free.
4/10
Posted: August 17
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764 of 899 people (85%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
I'm not even sure what to say about this thing. It's just boring and is entirely all reading.

Depression Quest is a very, very basic wall of text formatted into several linear paths about depression. Literally, wall of text after wall of text without any visuals other than grainy photographs at the top and a really depressing audio (similar to Minecraft's music). The story is written in a way that makes you feel like you're living a dead-end life without any motivation to go on. A bad event comes after bad event. Think of the game like a text-based version of The Walking Dead.

Don't even bother trying this "game." If you really wanted to read up on depression, you can do so online with an easy Bing search. They even have a controls page. Don't know why anyone would ever use that, but they do.

Obligatory Score: Steam asks "Do you recommend this game?" Is this a game? Can I review it? Is this real life? 1/10. According to Zoe Quinn, it's "award winning."
Posted: August 17
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