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 (2,844 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 11, 2014

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Play Depression Quest

 

Recommended By Curators

"Don't even think about it, bozo."

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

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + 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
87 of 103 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 17, 2014
I played Depression Quest during a time of shortly after having experienced an agonizing break-up. I’m not sure if I was just dealing with grief or if I genuinely was depressed, but I played it hoping I could get an answer. My views are personal as a result.

I found the options for what I could do to be more restricting as the game went on, unnecessarily so to the point where I found it harder to feel immersed in not even being able to try to do some of the things I’d like. Considering I did get medicine and psychiatric help after the devastating end to my long-distance 5 year relationship, I’d have like to know where I would have been for pursuing the same type of help in the game. Some choices in general, particularly the ones that didn’t allow me to talk about my problems, created a greater disconnect between my feelings and the protagonist. In particular, moments where I would simply “choose” not to allow my girlfriend Alex to understand my gnawing feelings that she may to be with someone else--uncannily like my own situation--were extraordinarily frustrating. The fact that the game was becoming linear at the moment I began to actually identify wit the protagonist made this feel like a lost opportunity to me.

Either I’m too wrapped up in my own thoughts to truly empathize with the protagonist, or the developers failed to get a reliably feasible representation of what it means to feel depressed. If it’s the latter, it definitely comes in part from the emphasis on feeling doubtful for anything rather than the actual struggle it takes to pull-through with wanting to save yourself from yourself, which would have made the game give more agency to the player as well as accurately portray how depression is a behemoth of a challenge to feel you can overcome, not a parasite that forces you to make choices you don’t want to.

While the atmosphere left me ready to cry some more, the game wasn’t immersive enough to make the experience feel well-executed. If the game had more focus on allowing choices that are difficult rather than simply disallowing the best options, I would feel completely in the place of this miserable protagonist. In short, the game has potential, but definitely needs refinement before it truly becomes what it sets itself out to be.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
150 of 203 people (74%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 9, 2014
I tried this game and realised that the disclaimer at the beginning was correct, this isn't a game. This "choose your own adventure: Tumblr edition."
I keep hearing the DQ as the short form of title in the reviews and quite honestly keep thinking of Dairy Queen, which I can recall can offer delicious if not fattening solutions to many woes. But while it cannot cure depression it can possibly cure the depression that you will come down with when you attempt this game.
I would say don't get it but it's free and you will feel tempted to try it. But word of caution the music can be pretty unsettling to listen to at times especially since it kept making me think something scary or disturbing would happen which actually might temporarily stave off any boredom you will experience. This in turn can be quickly averted with a snack "buff" courtesy of Dairy Queen:)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
115 of 152 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2014
The music is alright for what's suppose to be droning depressive background.

This game just drags on. I don't know if that's an attempt at being meta and "Oh, you're sort of depressed with this game, see how it feels?" but it's just dumb. What's even the purpose of a game to get into the depressed mind? Is there no better interactive or visual elements than a glorified Choose Your Own Adventure book?

I wanted to give this a try for the sake of the GamerGate controversy, but I got forty five minutes in before it all just felt heavy handed and contrived.

If you want a game that makes you feel a bit bleak, play LIMBO.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
104 of 153 people (68%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
This is not a game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
45 of 58 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 17, 2014
Depression Quest is an interactive narrative with a set goal: to try to help people who haven’t experienced depression understand what it’s like for the sufferer. However, throughout my time with the narrative, I couldn’t focus as much on the goal of the story because of the poor implementation of the game design itself.

You play as an unnamed character who struggles with depression that progressively gets more burdensome as the game goes on. The goal of using an unnamed character was probably to put the player in the character’s shoes, but for me, it only served to give me no real connection to the character. In the first few pages of the game, when the character is introduced, there are various links to other pages that explain some of the context for future situations. One, for example, is described as “a project you’ve been working on,” but since it doesn’t go into detail, the player loses a connection with the character that could’ve been more personal. At the end of a long section of pages, when the character needs to make a decision, there are a few different options, with the first always crossed out—the next few will continually be crossed out as the depression worsens. This option is clearly supposed to show what the character could do, if not for the depression, but instead it just distracts from the actual possible choices and the player finally picks something to just get past the page.
The music and overall design of each page also leaves the player feeling bored and uninterested.

The supposedly “sad” piano music is distracting from the text, and the page itself, being a static, gray affair, doesn’t do much—if anything—to hold the player’s attention and keep them focused on the story. The status buttons below decision options are also static, with a poor font choice, and slightly distract the player from the options available. Another problem is that you cannot stop playing and pick back up where you left off. For a game with such a bland, boring interface, not having this option makes the player even less likely to want to work back through the game, if they have to stop playing for some reason.

Overall, this game could have been much better, if it had been designed to better keep and hold the player’s attention. As it is, there are too many distracting things going on and not enough draw to the story to keep the player interested and caring about the outcome.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
57 of 78 people (73%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 14, 2014
I found the depression quest shockingly similar to my own life, as I struggle with depression and currently take medication once a day to help combat the depression and stop it from destroying my life. The warning at the beginning of the game and the author’s note of the purpose of the Depression Quest worried me at first. I hesitantly hit next and started the “game”. And without a single doubt I can assure anyone this is an accurate depiction of what it feels like to suffer from depression. Immediately after starting the game you can expect to slowly be dragged on a horrible ride of sinking feelings in your chest followed by an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and pity for the main character. I found myself beginning to cry as it almost felt like someone made a story about my life. Throughout my brief play through I found myself wishing I could go into the game and save the main character by bringing a basket of meds and free therapy sessions along with the large amount of money needed to get help. However before I forget I want to make the point that I was unable to finish because I feared I might trigger my own illness during my play through and I whole heartily don’t recommend anyone with depression should ever attempt to play this game, for the very real fear that this could trigger you into entering a state of depression. I’m extremely impressed with Zoe Quinn for how spot on and responsible she was when making this game. From a designer aspect this interactive narrative had a very interesting feature in regards to how you were able to click on certain words in order to gain more background information on that topic. It was a very interesting choice she made and one I wouldn’t have thought of. The music was dead on as it set the mood extremely well, and the fact that It was in an infinite loop of the same track over and over, really played with my mind both consciously and unconsciously. While I played the conscious part of my brain recognized the music as a good mood setter while I realized after I had finished “playing” my unconscious brain was seeing the infinite loop as a representation of how it feels to have depression and being stuck and a loop of never ending sadness. To conclude I find that the “Depression Quest” accomplished its goal of taking the player through the stages of depression and did so in a non-offensive manor. Hopefully this game will spread some awareness and understanding of what it feels like to suffer from depression to aid those who struggle to understand it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
100 of 151 people (66%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2014
this gave me depression
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
80 of 118 people (68%) found this review helpful
15 people found this review funny
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
There is no suicide option.

0/10 game gave me depression.
Press f to pay respects.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
454 of 754 people (60%) found this review helpful
21 people found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2014
This game makes me appreciate all of the other games in my library!

Thanks Depression Quest!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
346 of 580 people (60%) found this review helpful
34 people found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
I gave this game a positive review where is my blow-job?
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
83 of 129 people (64%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2014
Why are there options available that are unclickable?
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
24 of 29 people (83%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2014
According to this game's prerequisites, I, as well as the vast majority of people that I've ever met are officially depressed. Do you procrastinate? Do you think about past events of your life at night? Ever felt weird at a party where you didn't really know anyone? Have no fear fellow snowflake, there is help available in the form of this empathetic masterpiece.

---

Real talk though, not even criticising it because of the whole backstory. I genuinely downloaded it wanting to like it; wanting it to be a misunderstood gem which molded eloquence and painful personal experience into a story which communicated the pain of depression (note: the neurological chemical balance, not mere sadness) to a world which doesn't understand it. I wanted this game to thwart the multitude of self-diagnosed sufferers and create a better understanding for the harsh people who've misunderstood the sickness or mistaken it for weakness. What I found instead was material that will serve only to negatively fuel both parties.

It's a relatively small download and free so if there's a level of intrigue regarding the story feel free to pick it up but in terms of being a legitimately worthwhile piece of prose then this ultimately fails.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 25
As an avid reader, I was curious to play this "game". However, when I got into it, it wasn't fully what I was expecting.

It does have a decent amount of replayability, if you want to go back and make different choices, however, one questions if that is something that most people would even really want to do. Most of the choices seemed geared more towards keeping you in that depressive state, and all of the 'good' choices were unavailable to you. At the same time, only one side of depression was expressed, with a lot of things about the disorder being left out. This could have easily been fixed by lengthening the story and adding more to the characters in it. I felt like I wasn't really connected to the characters.

It did, however, do an excellent job expressing the fact that depression is something that can effect anyone, no matter what you have in life. This is the one really great thing that I hope people will take away from this game.

The music created a nice ambiance for whatever part you were at in the story as well. Which adds slightly to the mood of the story.

All in all, it wasn't a terrible game, but I do think that there are ways they could have made the experience better.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
17 of 22 people (77%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 31
Absolutely terrible. Does not describe depression well at all, the story is uninteresting and in fact boring, the setting is horribly written. Very lazy "game" by all aspects, but the UI at least doesn't look too bad
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
29 of 47 people (62%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
As someone who identifies as depression-kin, this game triggers me.
0/10 would not leave my Girlfriend again.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
25 of 41 people (61%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
its akin to spraying pepper spray in your own eyes
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 25
This game looks like something that could have just been uploaded to Newgrounds. It's the laziest visual novel I've ever played and I've played Sakura Spirits.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
63 of 115 people (55%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
boring
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
93 of 173 people (54%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
I was sitting at home, being a normal person I am. Then I had a knock on my door. It was a woman. Hair colored oddly. She gave me money and offered sexual services as long as I give good notes to this game I don't know anything about. I seized the opportunity. Needless to say, here I am.

10/10.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
19 of 32 people (59%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2014
this game gave me cancer 10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny