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 (2,728 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 11, 2014

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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
749 of 849 people (88%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2014
As someone who has been diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 17 (now 22), as well as living with a diagnosed manic depressive older brother and formerly suicidal sister, I felt like this game, Depression Quest, could help me gain stability in parts of my life where I lack.
As it turns out, it is nothing short of insulting. Depression Quest takes the impossible weight and drain of simply feeling /bad/, and reduces it to a rather whiney, irritating and self-absorbed narrative. It /then/ takes the raging emotional battles and incredible fears cloud rational thought and displays them as so many single-line responses. I KNOW WHAT TO DO. I KNOW A SEEING THERAPIST IS THE CORRECT CHOICE. I KNOW LYING BACK IN BED IS THE WRONG CHOICE. It's not about what you should do, it's about how in the heck to conquor all that negativity and emotional drag to get anywhere. It's about how to consciously break those cycles of self-hating thoughts and stop those feelings before they happen. Bear in mind these are only my objections to the depiction of depression as a disorder.

Depression Quest as a game? I have literally read popup books that were more interactive, and I use the term correctly. The 1996 classic Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey was 100 times the game this one could ever hope to be, and it had a neato dog. I tried to think of games that came close to being as frustrating to play, aside from personally offensive, and I counted to None! None games! Ah ah aaaahhh!
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627 of 727 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 26, 2014
The best way to misunderstand depression.
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376 of 458 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
My heart goes out to all those who suffer from depression. To you I say: You are so much more important to others than you realize, and there is no shame in needing and getting help. In fact, it is quite heroic of you to be able to admit your weakness to others and to seek to better your situation.

And to those who are depressed, this "game" will do absolutely nothing for you. Please go get professional help.

To those who are NOT depressed, you would be better of looking at your group of friends and looking for signs of depression yourself. Skip this "game" entirely. It is a waste of time.

Here are (some) warning signs of Depression and/or Suicide.

•Always talking or thinking about death
•Clinical depression -- deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating -- that gets worse
•Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
•Losing interest in things one used to care about
•Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
•Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
•Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
•Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
•Talking about suicide or killing one's self
•Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

If you notice that somebody you know or love exhibits some, any, or all of these symptoms, make sure you say something to them. Offer them your support. Tell somebody else about it, whether it be your high school or college councellor, this person's parents, lover, doctor, etc. Encourage this person to seek professional help. Do NOT expect them to get better on their own, and do NOT take depression lightly.

Thank you to all of you who care about your fellow human beings and are willing to make the small effort it takes to make a big difference.
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216 of 266 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
Firstly, I'd like to say that for the amount of content found in this 'game', there is not enough to justify it being a downloadable file. This is the kind of thing that I imagine as a flash game, somewhere on Kongregate or Armor Games where you don't have to keep it on your computer for the fact that it's just about clicking on links and expecting that you chose the right option.

The music I'd have to say is something I that I myself did not enjoy. The piano was slow, and as far as I could tell it was just a few second loop. The party music would have to be the same in regards to it just being a loop as well. Anyone who is seriously considering trying Depression Quest out, I recommend listening to something on youtube. "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid made playing this game a fun experience but if you don't like that song, "Hakuna Matata" from The Lion King is a good substitute.

The story itself is something that I personally could not get into. I think it was something to do with being depressed and having a girlfriend named Alex and yeah ... Couldn't get into it.

The fact that certain visable options aren't available in Depression Quest is quite annoying - but I guess that was what was intended when it was being developed. The choices when in your first reading were quite obvious to make, the train of thought that I had was "Choose the options that make the most sense. Don't focus on work? Hell no. Ignore girlfriend? Hell no. Go to party? Hell YEAH (the most exciting thing that happens until you find out that you're socially awkward even though you HAVE a girlfriend who tries to be intimate with you)"

Thinking that you clicked the wrong button and then backtracking to try a different selection of options probably made my experience a drool. Also the fact that choosing different options didn't really change the story all that much was also a bummer, for as short an experience as Depression Quest is, it does seem rushed, and if not rushed then not thought out a lot.

Although this review in my opinion was not well thought out and was just me typing out things about Depression Quest that came into my head, I'd have to say that this isn't a fun or interesting experience. If you want to have fun with it, try listening to music that doesn't come from Depression Quest itself and don't get your hopes high when you see options that require you to be in any way social as they probably won't be selectable no matter what you try.

Note: I avoided trying to call Depression Quest a game for a reason, the reason being because it doesn't take long at all to finish. Seriously though, not a long experience, I read it over a decent number of times just to see how fun I could make the experience with whatever I could find around me at the time.

I recommend trying a 'Doctor Who Choose Your Destiny' book if you want to make choices in a story that directly impact how it plays out and haven't tried a interactive story before.
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232 of 290 people (80%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
It's a cold day, and you're thinking of installing Depression Quest. You've read the reviews and see that it maybe isn't the best idea to download.
Do you...
Install the game with confidence that it will be good.
Download the game to laugh at how bad it is.
Cautiously install, with negative review in hand.
Walk away, and never come back to this page and tell Alex what you saw today.

You are currently deeply concerned about Depression Quest
You are not going to play Depression Quest any time soon.
You are currently not taking medication for being shown this game.
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187 of 229 people (82%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
I don't know how to explain this game...

Lots of reading, gives you an illusion of choice but half the choices are crossed off. The story is meh. You have the choice of getting a cat though which is nice because cats are cool.

Download it, give it a go, then uninstall it.
- - -
Also, I should probably leave this here.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
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129 of 160 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
I'll say this - if Depression Quest helps one person better understand his or her own issues, good on it. However, as a game, DQ is sorely lacking. There's no gameplay to speak of, just a choose-your-own-adventure wall of text. There's only a single story, meaning all options are exhausted quickly, and the quality of writing is fairly shoddy. The choices presented are transparent, making it easy to see which ones will lead to a "good" and "bad" ending. DQ would have been better served with A) multiple story scenarios to give the player variety (and prolong its own replay value, which sits at exactly zero), B) less "telling" in the form of excruciatingly long setups and more "showing" how the player is feeling, and C) an editor for the mediocre story.
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117 of 145 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 15, 2014
WARNING: This game can cause you to feel depressed! Do not play if you already suffer from depression! Seek help instead.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Talk about anything stressful and find help with depression: http://www.crisischat.org/

This is not a negative review. I just do not recomend it.

This game opens my eyes, It made me understand some of what goes through peoples minds when in a situation like this. I will say that this game was not any fun and does not have any replayable value, however, it is a very informative game and is not meant to be fun or played over and over again. It is only meant as a way of teaching people what it is like to be depressed. I found myself getting a little mad at the game when it didnt let pick the answers that didnt seem very depressing but i understand it. You wont always choose the right way in depression.

I do not recomend this game only on the fact that it can and will mess with your mind. It left me feeling a little depressed but then i just thought happy thoughts and i felt better. I'm sure there are people who could not do the same. So do not play this game unless you are 100% sure you can handle it. It is some tough stuff.
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129 of 166 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 2, 2014
This game is very rude towards people like me who deal with depression. I could only sit through 12 minutes of the game before I just shook my head and turned it off to write this review. This character you play as isn't even depressed. They just have no personality. I mean I understand that the creator wants YOU as the player to experience what it's like to go through life and make every day choices while dealing with depression, but this is far from accurate. Maybe it IS like this for some people in worst case scenarios, but still, even depressed people have a personality of some sort. Also, the music was very boring, slow, annoyingly repetitive, and just made me even less interested in playing more of the game. This also applies to the visuals. If I could, I'd rather continue to read it as a visual novel instead. Maybe it gets better the further you play, but until then, I wouldn't recommend playing this game if you have depression. It'll just make you angry at the creator. Even if you don't have depression the overall game so far is very boring.
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82 of 98 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2014
An absolutely atrocious, hopelessly bleak look into depression. As someone who has struggled with depression for years myself, the game offers nothing but negativity in the form of a poorly-written self-indulgent exercise in tedium. Anything positive, anything sensible anybody with half a brain would do and should do in these absurd situations are all blocked out to tease you, as if in an attempt to say "Because I have depression, I can not do this" -- which can not be further from the truth. The game attempts to showcase the mental disorder in an understandable standpoint, but fails terribly, instead taking it as some kind of given. It makes no attempt to show any glimmer of hope or actual realism in logical solutions, and instead wallows in its own idiotic sense of loathing. I held off on reviewing this because so many others with similar experiences have said in full-detail explaining exactly why this game is a failure, but I felt drawn to simply add my thoughts also because it is a representation of part of what my life largely consisted of. Horrible, horrible "game."
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97 of 124 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
This is more of an interactive text experience than a game, and I could liken it some of the old interactive Animorph, Goosebumps and Doctor Who books. Not a lot can be said for it in terms of originality, aside from the fact that nobody to my knowledge, has had the nerve to attempt to make depression into an interactive experience.
I can't help but feel, as much as the supposed intentions of the author as stated at the beggining of the game are all fine and good, that this game comes from a somewhat self centered place. Many of those, and I include myself, who have suffered depression, can often tend to allow their experience to inspire their art and the results can be very satisfying. When I listen to, watch or observe such art, as much as it comes off as sad, it makes me feel joy. This is simply not the case with this game. The author has clearly taken their own experiences and their output has been to make a game that attempts to make other people feel depressed (and I'll place emphasis on the word 'attempt'), rather than to create art and other things that instead express and explore the feeling. It flimsily attempts to impose the feeling upon the viewer rather than present the feeling for the viewer to explore and gain something out of. This gives the game a very self indulgent tone. Self indulgence emanating from any piece of art is not necessarily a bad thing but in this case it feels as though it was completely unchecked by the author, and puts a very bad taste in my mouth.
There really isn't much to speak about in terms of art assets aside from it's sound track, which in my opinion sounds rather tacky and contrived, like the sound track to a depression ad campaign. I must actually say that I feel that the lack of art assets is one of this game's only wise decisions. It's white background and plain text don't overstate the feelings of depression the game is supposed to be imposing on you, which may even compensate for the horrible cheasy music I just mentioned. I can only imagine the overused contrasty pictures and grain effects that could have been chosen to give the game an 'edgy' and 'dark' appearance, and this makes me cringe.
If I could say one other good thing about the game, it would be in the effectiveness of the way in which it makes the player feel hopelessly as though their choices won't matter. Although as stated above, I can't say I appreciate this game's over all approach, and so this slightly impressive mechanic does not even begin to remove the bad taste from my mouth. It should also be mentioned that as a trade off this causes your play through to have little variation as your choices make little difference. No matter what, you tend to wind up back on the same path of the story no matter what choices you make. This only makes a story that is already dull, unoriginal and boring, even less worth while and gives it very little replayability.

In short, I feel that this is a misguided and self indulgent exercise running behind the pretence of being an attempt to reach out to people. It lacks both subtlety and substance, and as an experimental indie game it is dwarved by hundreds of text adventures, point and click adventures and experimental games that have come before it on the levels of creativity, originality, taste and righteous intent, and I can't say it deserves the greenlight it has received.
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123 of 169 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
Disclaimer: This review is not meant to be an attack on women. I have no hatred for women. I adore them. I do not hate this game due to women. If you think I'm lying, then you're full of it. Thank you.

This is not a game. This is just an interactive book. Now while those have some appeal, here, the writing is so bad and pretentious that the experience is just not enjoyable. And should I mention the whole controversy behind its developer? Yeah, even if its free, it's still a waste of time.

To add, this game is not a solution for depression. The choices you make, no matter what, always end you in the same path, even if the choices could help you with depression. The creator was obviously stereotyping those who deal with depression. If you need help with depression, talk to someone about your problems, look out for solutions, call a hotline, anything is better than relying on a game like this for your depression.
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146 of 207 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2014
Do not try this game, it is not a game it's a story about a real person with depression that uses REAL information on people throughout it.

I suggest if you DO have depress to contact a therapist or talk to someone close to you to handle this issue and do not listen to a story on steam. Seek Help! not this ♥♥♥♥.

-9999 hotpockets out of 10 ♥♥♥♥ off
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81 of 107 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
Not that great of a game.

Sure, it'll be nice during the experience and the different choices will want you having to go back and playing however, each play through would only span about 10 minutes. Less if you remember the text in each scenario. Ergo, you'll play for about <1 Hour and you'll never touch it again.

It's not that great of a game but was an inspiring atempt at a Text Adventure.

4/10
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91 of 123 people (74%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
My main gripe with the game, other than that it shouldn't be on steam to begin with, is that it presents itself in a way that the character just seems sad, not depressed, but it might just be a different form of a depression cycle.

I am someone who was diagnosed with clinical depression, before I started to take medication (Taking mood stabalizers, not anti-depressents, my psychiatrist is a smart dude.) everything didn't seem gloomy and sad like people tend to think of it as, I saw the world exactly the same, the sun shining and the people smiling and ♥♥♥♥ like everyone else does, but I was disconnected from it making me happy because my brain chemistry didn't have the pre-requisites to MAKE me happy.

Maybe people feel depression in a completely different fashion than I do, but the character is written to feel that he should be doing more, he just isn't. For me, I just didn't care, I didn't see a point to, why strive for anything? I often sat outside of the classroom in a ball because first off I couldn't see a ♥♥♥♥ing point in striving to do any of the work, and then furthermore the frustration that you can't do that and you know it's not normal or healthy drives you even further.

It's a continous spiral I feel, and I feel like the character was just in a slump. It doesn't represent my depression, but it might represent less severe cases, so I can't really say "NO THIS IS WRONG", but I feel that someone playing this game couldn't learn about how my own depression has affected my life, and I feel it chips away at the integrity of the game in that instance, because it's trying to represent an actual perseption.
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82 of 109 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person 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:)
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101 of 140 people (72%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
This visual novel is like 10 minutes long, there are barely any visuals and the novel part is boring. A proper VS like Katawa Shoujo at least lasts several houres and has likable characters.

0/10 would not play again
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156 of 230 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
In your boredom you boot up your computer and browse Steam. Nothing seems to catch your eye except for a free game called Depression Quest. You've heard about this being lauded by the many stupid websites you check daily.

What do you do?
1. Ignore it and go about your evening
2. Install it and assure yourself you'll only play it for 30 minutes
3. Call Alex and ask her about it
4. Jerk off on your blog about how this is a masterpiece and uphold your part of getting pegged in the ♥♥♥ by the developer deal
5. Overdose on Flintstone Vitamins because the game is utter wank
6. Play with your kitten

In all seriousness though, this is ♥♥♥♥ and the protagonists comes across as merely sad and self-centered. The writing is as awful as the above and the people behind this either...

1. sincerely understand depression because they have soldiered on with it in their lives and ♥♥♥ the haters because we can do this guise pls
2. are over-privileged prideful clams that think that they are depressed because "people don't like me cause i have purple hair and a nose ring so now im sad lol"

This is a joke and it only barely comes close to portraying the most amenable form of being depressed.
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62 of 80 people (78%) found this review helpful
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.
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42 of 50 people (84%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 4, 2014
This visual novel is remarkable in its singular awfulness. The plot centers around someone suffering from a luxurious, hipster style depression that is ill-defined and capable of being treated with a myriad of different options, such as going to a therapist or taking medication. In addition, the main character is even capable of self-sufficiency and has the expendable income to enjoy going to bars. Many people suffering from depression don't have so many options. Often, they're unable to even go to a therapist due to a crippling lack of funding.

However, that's small potatoes compared to the main reason why this game is rubbish:

The writing.

My God, it's like the entire storyline was nuked from orbit by several adverb nuclear missiles. Reading it was like plodding through brambles full of actually's and probably's only to trip over an awkwardly. Repetitive wording and a ruined flow to the sentence structure makes this a certified mess.

What a shame the developers never used a thesaurus.
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