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 (2,808 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
924 of 1,072 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 26, 2014
The best way to misunderstand depression.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
285 of 353 people (81%) found this review helpful
2 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
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
294 of 372 people (79%) found this review helpful
2 people 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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
189 of 242 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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
128 of 166 people (77%) 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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
114 of 156 people (73%) 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:)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
55 of 66 people (83%) found this review helpful
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
87 of 117 people (74%) 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
126 of 182 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
69 of 95 people (73%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
Depression Quest for all its stated aims and intentions doesn't quite achieve what it wished to. Although I applaud the intentions of the development team, the execution fails miserably.

Whatever genre/style etc of game you play one of they key focuses is on creating an immersive environment. The first faux pax "Depression Quest" commits is to intentionally alienate the player through the constant use of the accusative pronoun "you". Being constantly reminded that you are a player and not the game's protagonist means it is increasingly difficult to actually empathise with Alex. This deliberate alienation between player and game actually detracts from the stated aim which is to "help people understand what it is like to be depressed". The over-use of the pronoun also makes the game appear to be controlling the action and outcomes, rather than the player. (Alright that's a highly subjective statement so I will clarify it further). When using accusative pronouns, we are telling others what we think about them or what to do. As the only interaction the player can engage in is choosing options, using the accusative makes the game appear as if it is telling us what to do, essentially coding a response, rather than the player having the illusion of control. This is particularly compounded by the fact that the choices are also phrased in the accusative... i.e. "You choose to stay at home and watch Netflix". Now the styling of "Choose your own adventure" does use the pronoun you, but usually only when asking the player a question. Questions are a direct, overt engagement that break the narrative (and consequently breaks immersion), this isn't necessarily the developers fault, it's a fault of the format, but when juxtaposed against the larger narrative it serves to further alienate the player from the story.
The sad thing is this could have been easily overcome by simply rewriting the game as a journal, blog or diary and so switching to the pronoun "I". (This is actually a viable option as many counsellors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists encourage the keeping of a diary or journal as part of therapy).
The writing is tediously unimaginative and dull, and simply fails to hold interest. There is little use of metaphor, simile or any sort of figurative or descriptive language. Now, this may have been a stylistic choice on the part of the writer, Patrick Lindsey, but it doesn't pay off. In other media we have been exposed to vigorous compelling accounts of people who have suffered from Depression, from Woolfe to Wurtzel with Plath inbetween. Lindsey has borrowed nothing from their style and in choosing to create a "factual" account has lost the lyricism that allows people to emotionally engage with a piece of writing (or game).
Lindsey isn't all bad though, his characterization is consistent and the narrative account is well researched. In fact I can recommend the portrayal of Depression at least. Three of the methods for coping and dealing with Depression are emphasised, the two most obvious are Therapy and Medication (primarily emphasised visually but also within the narrative itself), and the narrative additionally reveals the need for support systems, whether from a close loved one, family or friends. He also manages to note the relapse stages of depression through his characterization, however the game suffers from a lack of dialogue or choices within counselling/therapy. Even when you do opt for the counselling you aren't able to interact with the psychiatrist by giving or receiving information from her, information is only supplied through friend/family/girlfriend interactions. This means that, again the developers have managed to exclude a great deal of important information regarding coping techniques that would have enhanced the game by providing more interactions and improved their narrative discourse to meet their intention of informing people.
Visually I presume they wanted to adopt a minimalist style, to better evoke depression. The colours are primarily shades of grey and the background is left a neutral white. The choice of font is similarly plain and clearly legible. In addition a variety of pictures are included to accompany the text, in an attempt to enhance visual appeal as well as serve a function of assisting in a display of how depressed Alex is. This is done by increasing the amount of "noise" overlying each picture and the text at the very bottom of the screen when he begins to suffer greater depression and decreases as he returns to an equilibrium state. It's a clever idea and it works fairly well, at least in the case of the pictures. On the text at the bottom of the screen however, it merely serves to distract from readings of the text by annoyingly catching attention in some sort of entoptic diversion. The pictures themselves are at least evocative, and add some much needed emotional colour to what is otherwise a rather drab piece. Now again, Depressed people do suffer from dampened emotions so the choice may have been a stylistic one on the part of the developers, but if you are making a game for non-depressed people to engage with you need to convey lethargy and despondency through your medium which Depression Quest would appear to, intentionally, refuse to do and so fail.
The music is suitably doleful, and repetitive, which does assist the atmosphere when reading the story. In fact my response is slightly different to most in that I don't find it annoying, its chords become familiar and in a way reassuring, blurring off into background noise, and not overtly intruding, allowing one to focus on the text. I didn't however notice any substantial change in the music depending on your depression level, in fact it doesn't even tranpose to a "happier" key, so I was slightly disappointed there.

In conclusion, I applaud the intentions of the game to attempt to recreate what depression is like, however it alienates the player, is riddled with poor design decisions, and utterly fails to capture attention or interest despite being well researched.
Instead of playing this go read Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" instead.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
70 of 99 people (71%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2014
I honestly cannot see what purpose this 'game' is supposed to fill. Its just the same stuff we all hear about depression rehashed over and over again it barely qualifies itself as a legitimate piece of work, at least if there was some element to it besides scrolling through what amounts to a Wikipedia article filled with hyperlinks it might be intresting, sadly there isn't and the 'game' pays for it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
64 of 95 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
This is not a game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
407 of 682 people (60%) found this review helpful
25 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
37 of 49 people (76%) found this review helpful
3 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
274 of 455 people (60%) found this review helpful
38 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
69 of 105 people (66%) found this review helpful
5 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
38 of 52 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
67 of 104 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 31 people (77%) 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
44 of 69 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
♥♥♥♥ed 5 dudes while in a RS.
lied to get attention
screwed up other ppl
made corrupt media help her.
make's not even a good game
GG won in life but not real life
I r8
5 bananas out of a shotgun website
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny