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 (2,869 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
76 of 115 people (66%) 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.

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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.
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48 of 73 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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.
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75 of 121 people (62%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 27
PROS:
-It's free
-Little/no downloading time.
-No hassle when you go to uninstall.

CONS:
-It's insulting as it paints those with depression as lazy people who would rather float along in a narcissistic cloud of self-defeat rather than seeking help.
-Treats a tricky subject in a problematic and blatantly disrespctful manner.
-Should have an age restriction due to some of the subject matter that it covers. While I'll admit that it isn't majorly graphic it's not suitible for everyone.
-Music was repetitive and added nothing to the ambiance of the game.
-Have seen better graphics created with the use of a myspace page generator over 10 years ago, and that's being generous.

To put it simply this text simulator is highly insulting to those who suffer with mental illness. Though the developer's aim was to raise awareness and combat social stigma, by showing people with depression as being lazy, miserable people with no hope at all even with treatment. It genuinely makes me wonder if they were actively trying to discourage others from seeking professional help. Which is wrong, if you have problems with depression you should seek help. This game is not a diagnosis and the developers clearly have no experience in the field of psychology and prefer to work within the bounds of negative/damaging stereotypes.

As a gamer, a woman, and someone who has worked with people who have mental health issues and have dealt with some of my own.. I think this game is horrible and has no place on steam.
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59 of 99 people (60%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
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.
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156 of 280 people (56%) found this review helpful
14 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.
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17 of 26 people (65%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
I didn't really care to get caught up in the hullabaloo that is "The Five Guys Scandal" in which the lead , Zoe Quinn, was accused by her boyfriend of sleeping with game journalists to leave an artifically large review. Perhaps they just used this to insult her more.


Jesus was I wrong.


This game is completly misrepresenting the subject material of depression by giving the correct answer and a couple of wrong answers. Then they cross out more correct answers (that you could never use) and give more wrong ones if you do something non active. If you attempt anything social or active you get less things crossed out. Then it does this bull about "This game doesn't end because depression doesn't end" and expects that to hide that its just a bad ending.

STORY: Nonexistent/10

The background audio is one of the most annoying things I've heard. It starts off as pseudo-smooth jazz and adds in random chatter and mechanical keyboard clicks.

AUDIO: Annoying/5

The entire thing runs as a bad text game with jpeggy pictures of copywritten material.

GRAPHICS: Plagerised JPG/100

Overall, you're better off with real depression than this piece of crap.

VERDICT: Find a cliff, build a house on it, and hope God(s) is merciful enough to kill you.
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 27
This should be on tumblr not Steam
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47 of 86 people (55%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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
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24 of 44 people (55%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 22
Do I recommend this "game" (more like a choose your own adventure book) to people who have never experienced depression and want to know what it's like? Yes. Absolutely. This is right on point with what depression is like, even the noise on the status. You want to understand a friend or family member with depression, absolutely download this game. This is just plain clinical depression though. When you wanna mix in other types of depression or things like manic depressive or bipolar it is a whole new territory. Just use this as a baseline for regular clinical depression depression.

Do I recommend this as a game? No. I like the sound track but there are very limited choices in which to live your depressed life and you don't get much insight on things. You don't even get a technical/medical aspect of depression. I'd like some customization, a more in-depth game. Turn it from a choose your own adventure to more like Kudos, where you can pick who you are, what you do, what kind of friends you have, and then fight depression by cutting out toxic people, going to a therapist, support group, seeing friends, petting cute animals, meds, or even just forcing yourself to get out there with both good and bad consequences. Perhaps even include different types of depresison or personality disorders. It could show you what its like in a wider scope and show you how to beat it. Now that's a game worth playing! Of course, this game is free and supported on donation. So perhaps that's unreasonable. But I'd pay for Depression Quest 2 if they kick it up to this level.

Do I recommend this to someone with depression? Kinda. This game was super triggering for me. I got super depressed the first time I played it because of how familiar it all was. I took it as a challenge and played other routes without too much problem later, but I'm in a much better place than I was back when I was severly depressed. But this kid has a lot going for him and while I am perfectly aware that this is exactly how depression works and he can't control it, is an ungrateful prick. If you have depression and lots of bad life situations going on, you'll be jealous of this kid, but it can serve as a reminder that even people that have it better than you can be just as depressed as you, because it's pretty easy to feel alone in depression. Especially if you have depressed friends and you don't feel like they get it because the situation is different. I don't recommend it unless you want to feel understood or get a new frame of perspective. It can be really hard to play at times.
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49 of 93 people (53%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2014
this game gave me cancer 10/10
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73 of 140 people (52%) found this review helpful
2 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.
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30 of 57 people (53%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
Don't play this "game", nor should you view it as an accurate depiction of depression. You don't make the choices in the game, instead, the developer has already crossed off certain options in order to force you down the same bad ending. Depression Quest only tries to show the worst case scenario for depression, not at all acknowledging that it is treatable by the choices you make, instead, it portrays the only way to treat depression is with pills and a therapist. Notice how I said "tries", because even then everyone in the "game" acts like a complete idiot around the player.

Accuracy aside, this is just a poor excuse for a "game". From the static overlay constantly on the screen in a pathetic attempt to make the mediocre story seem "deep" to the lack of multiple endings with your choices basically doing nothing, there's a reason this game's top reviews are mostly negative.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
I now have a goat fetish... This game man....
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2014
This game gave me depression
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 22
Seeing this game again made me remember how mad it made me. It felt very fake, instead of the developer having an actual interest or personal experience with it, it more felt like them trying to get their name out with something that has an interesting synopsis and title, instead of actually trying to share a genuine story.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
Ow wow. I downloaded this game out of curiosity figuring it couldn't hurt because it was free, but boy was I wrong. I can't comment on depression or the struggles of those who suffer from it, but I can comment on the quality of a game and this is a boring BORING "game". I played it for all of about five minutes before quitting, wanting to hit my head against my keyboard due to sheer boredom. Abandon all home all ye who enter here.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 16
Not exactly what I expected but the music kept me reading..
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 22
Interesting concept and well written but I wish it was better designed, the choice of typefaces is terrible.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
This is not a game. It's hardly even a "text based adventure". It consists of reading walls of average-at-best text and choosing from a few different options. Depending on previous choices, you can get to a point where there isn't any choice at all- every option but one is crossed out. I guess the developers were trying to represent the lack of motivation that can come with depression, but when your attempt to simulate depression results in 20 minutes of clicking through boring pages of text, you've done something wrong.

After playing through this "game", I just found myself angry and offended. It claims to try to help people without depression understand what people with it go through, but all it really accomplishes is making people with depression look lazy, completely unmotivated and utterly incapable of making any good decisions to improve their situation. I have depression. It does make you feel like crap, it can destroy your motivation. What it doesn't do is prevent you from trying to get help. When one of the characters gave the protagonist the phone number for a therapist and my only option was to crumple up the note and throw it away, I just sat in silence.

That's the main problem with this garbage (aside from the fact that it's a boring piece of junk)- it portrays what I can only assume is one of the developers' experience with depression as what all sufferers go through. Maybe their depression makes them just sit around and watch Netflix to distract themselves from their crippling lack of motivation and sadness, but mine doesn't. Every case is different, and frankly, I find this game insulting to anyone who does suffer from depression. It's an insulting, patronizing chore with a poorly thought out choice system and subpar writing. If you want to learn about and understand depression, go look it up on Wikipedia or a mental health website. This garbage isn't worth anybody's time.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 11
CYOA that misrepresents depression and doesn't have any real substance, nor does it help the viewer understand what he or she is seeing.
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