Auto-cannibalism. Demonic Seduction. Occult Rituals. Bloodfeasting Worms. This dark, horrific Twine-based dungeon crawler pairs edgy interactive fiction with grisly pixel art and light RPG elements. Navigate this sprawling narrative-driven labyrinth bristling with otherworldly doom.
User reviews:
Very Positive (55 reviews) - 83% of the 55 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 9, 2015

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

Buy This Book Is A Dungeon


Recent updates View all (6)

August 22

Steam Trading Cards are Live!

Creeping forth from the blackest pit of pestilence comes a delicious invention of dark, wicked design...

That's right: Steam Trading Cards are finally here!

Thanks so much for your continued support of TBIAD since launch! The community has been asking, so I've finally managed to carve out time to create and implement Steam Trading Cards for the game. Mercifully, I've elected to set them to drop at slightly shorter intervals than most games.

I really appreciate everyone's interest in the game! If you're enjoying it, please take a moment to leave a Steam review! That makes a big difference -- especially in terms of motivating me to keep tinkering away on some grisly future projects I think you'll love.

The positive reviews have been very kind and encouraging, and I've also gained a lot of insight from useful critical feedback, too.

TBIAD was first created with Twine as an experiment. I'm thrilled with what I was able to create within the tool's limitations (and my own, at the time), and I've learned a ton over the past year. Now that I'm working in GameMaker Studio, I'm able to do SO much more, so I can't wait to share with you what's coming up!

Stay tuned and thanks again!

1 comments Read more


“[For an interactive text adventure, This Book Is A Dungeon succeeds very well and makes us feel as though we are in the story, immersing us in its fear and horror.]”
IGN Greece

“Nathan Meunier has created a dungeon crawler horror game filled with HP Lovecraft-inspired monsters and puzzles…[TBIAD] also creates detailed, horrific scenarios, both physically and mentally.”
Indie Game Magazine

“Surprisingly cohesive, and striking in its resemblance to older Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, albeit with a fairly thick Lovecraftian polish. It captures a desperate tone by offering numerous ways to die. It’s charming, occasionally trippy, and gruesome throughout.”
Paste Magazine

About This Game

Auto-cannibalism. Demonic Seduction. Occult Rituals. Bloodfeasting Worms. This Book Is A Dungeon has it all and more. This dark, horrific Twine-based dungeon crawler pairs edgy interactive fiction with grisly pixel art and light RPG elements. Prepare to be disturbed, titillated, and savaged by unholy denizens aplenty in your quest to navigate this sprawling narrative-driven labyrinth bristling with otherworldly doom.


Part of the intended challenge is in experimenting to see where different paths and choices lead you. It's impossible to experience all of the content in a single runthrough. Experiment, be bold, and uncover your fate, wherever it may lead!


  • Experience a grim story-driven horror adventure
  • Solve cryptic and disturbing puzzles
  • Die in dozens of horrible ways
  • Enjoy light RPG elements, including combat and inventory
  • Discover multiple endings
  • BONUS: 40,000 word game dev diary

This game is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.


This Book Is A Dungeon was originally created as an interactive fiction and self-publishing experiment. It was initially launched as a game inside a Kindle book that served as a developer diary documenting the entire process for creating the game from start to finish. As part of the Steam Edition, you can access a free download link for a PDF version of the dev diary within the main menu.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2+
    • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or later
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM MB RAM
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Very Positive (55 reviews)
Review Type

Purchase Type


Display As:

(what is this?)
52 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 14



the game delays the text on screen. I'm not talking 1-2 seconds. But longer at a time. FOR EACH SENTENCE. Unfortunately since the core competency of this game was the storybook-like text style this simply does not cut it - each "Room" takes ages to complete - jarring you in and out of the story - I wont go further as this point alone made me not want to play anymore. If it was removed I'd be more than happy to update this review
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
Random deaths force a lot of restarts. That might be okay if you could either save or skip through text you've already read more quickly. But it forces you sit through long pauses between every short bit of text. Got too frustrating quickly.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
40 of 44 people (91%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2015
If you're wondering what kind of game this is, there's two clues in the title. Firstly, it's a text-based adventure, with minimalistic graphics and a LOT of reading. So if that doesn't sound like you, SKIP THIS STORE PAGE NOW. Secondly, it's kind of an old-school "dungeon" explorer, complete with some nice pixel-y maps, but completely lacking in any stats or other regular "RPG" elements apart from an inventory. Combat consists of nothing more than choosing to fight something, then you keep clicking on text messages until you or it dies. THAT'S IT. No stats, no combat tactics, JUST STORY. Again, if this doesn't sound like something you can live with, LEAVE THIS STORE PAGE NOW.

Phew. Glad that's over. Are they gone?! Good.

Now that it's just me and you, curious one, let me say straight up that whatever else this "game" is, it's extremely well-written and has a fascinating story. This Nathan Meunier person could probably write books for a living. And highly Lovecraftian books they would in all probability be. Yep, he's one of those...but a very GOOD one of those. The depth this game goes into about rituals and demon summoning and what-not suggests a first-class crackpot who either reads too many "esoteric" texts, or has a spiffingly good imagination. This Book Is A Dungeon is short, but intriguing, and I certainly look forward to anything Mr Meunier gets up to in the future.

A few suggestions to the dev/author for next time: The price is a tad on the silly side (one or two dollars would be far more realistic); how about some MUSIC to further invoke that Eldritchean atmosphere; and thirdly, how about some save/checkpoints next time, as redoing bits over and over and over again does get a bit tiresome (especially when the text is so moodily staggered and can't be skipped, and so many bits of the game are so ruthlessly trial-and-error)?

Fantastic first effort, though. Keep up the good work, sir.

Verdict: 8/10.

(PS Some advice to budding players: Be sure to keep a pen and paper close at hand. The game might keep a map for you, but you're gonna need to make plenty of notes, just the same!!!)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
47 of 59 people (80%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
This Game Is A Nevrotic Visual Novel

Imagine a young-adult horror book where you'd have to wait to read the next sentence.
You bet

Even better, the game is based on fails and retries, and on restarting, prepare to have to read it all again at that arbitrary pace.
No keyboards allowed: to progress through the story requires clicking hyperlinks (sometimes representing decisions; more often just an alternative to what is achieved by pressing the "enter" key in most sane game). As the text consists mostly of quick successions of short sentences, I got dizzy chasing those around.

The irritating writing and pretentious introduction didn't help either.
I'll waste my time at my own pace, thank you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
34 of 39 people (87%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
*Decent writing
*Interesting environments

*The white background, which is the vast majority of the screen, is blinding. I got a headache while playing this game, but not everyone will have my problem, so I won't count it against the game in my review.

*No music or sound effects
*No saving
*No skipping text that has already been seen
*Pointless combat
*No way to know if a choice will lead to death in most cases
*Writing is mostly descriptions of the player's current location or deaths
*Can't return to the main menu except after death

30 minutes to 2 hours. I took around 80 minutes because I was unlucky enough to choose multiple routes that led to my death, forcing me to play the game again and again.

2 out of 10

Considered simply as a story, This Book Is a Dungeon is not great. Most of the text is devoted to describing the player's current location and there doesn't seem to be much of a plot or connection among the four chapters. The protagonist simply moves along in confusion to the next set piece, dying almost randomly. There is not only little meaning to the meager story, but also little sense in the deaths that the protagonist endures, which also force the reader to start from the beginning of the story every time.

Considered as a game, This Book Is a Dungeon is even worse.

One notices right away that there are no sound effects or music, which are powerful and important tools for creating the appropriate atmosphere in any medium that is not restricted to visuals (or even just text) alone. Since the text itself does only a mediocre job of creating a good atmosphere in a genre where that is usually very important (horror), there is a distinct lack of immersion.

The "gameplay" consists entirely of clicking on blue text to progress, which is acceptable for the genre as long as it is used appropriately. Unfortunately, the developer thought it worthwhile to try to include unavoidable, choiceless combat. In predetermined locations, the player will enter into battle with some eldritch horror and be forced to click on the same blue text repeatedly as the character and monster whittle away at each other's health by 1 or 2 HP at a time, the process of which is extended by their mutual inaccuracy. The player here is merely an observer. Though I never died in battle against one of these creatures, I came close once, so I am forced to conclude that they are just one of many examples of unfair deaths that, again, require the player to start from the beginning of the game.

I would mention other such deaths, but they would constitute the only real spoilers for the game besides the meaningless ending. Trust me when I say that there is generally no way to know what will happen after any given choice nor any way to prepare for the consequences.

Being forced to play through the game again after each death because there is no save feature even within a chapter is bad enough. But the absence of a skip button, the delays between text that progresses the story, and particularly one chapter where I estimate that the player must get through over 80 separate lines of text before he can make any choice make the game much more frustrating.

For me, this was not a game in which surviving a chapter created a sense of accomplishment. It was a game in which knowing that more senseless deaths and clicking awaited me created a sense of dread--and not of a Lovecraftian nature. The ending, sadly, did nothing to help me feel that my experience was worthwhile.

And while I was ultimately grateful to only spend 80 minutes on the game, the roughly 30 minutes of actual content does not justify the $6 price tag of a text-based game.

The developer has expressed a desire to improve the combat and include sound and achievements, but says that the game engine makes these features difficult or impossible. That is not an excuse; it is a reason to not use the engine in the first place. And it certainly does not excuse the tedium that the player must endure after each death.

As I find that This Book Is a Dungeon fails both as a story and a game, but recognize that the writing is of decent quality and the environments are interesting, I give it a 2 out of 10.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
44 of 59 people (75%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 9, 2015
Before you walk past this game because it's a text adventure and doesn't offer all the fancy graphics you seek...

Let me speak some wise words of wisdom that might give you a 'permanent INT+3' :-)

Your imagination is far more powerful and much better, more vivid, and much more fascinating then the best graphics that can be made even twenty years from today on the most powerful computer. Your mind. ..Don't take it for granted!

And a game like this can open up your all powerful imagination. It has good writing and descriptive words that can spark pictures in your mind that no graphical game can possibly match.

Take a look!

..Two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
20 of 22 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 10, 2015
This is really good interactive fiction. I can heartily recommend it to any fans of the genre and horror in general. The writing is superb and the whole atmosphere is very engaging: grim and macabre but it's varied enough not to take away my desire to explore.
I liked the story, and the enviroment. The artworks are not the best, but they fit the theme and the game so perfectly, that it doesn't really matter. It does get a little repetitive a few times if you die and need to redo something, and the fights feel boring and unnecesary, but those are just minor annoyances.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
19 of 23 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2015
This game is baisically a hyper text choose your own adventure, if that means anything to you.

If that doesn't mean anything to you: this game is 90% text screens and clicking on text. If you are expecting lots of RPG elements and pixel art, you will be disapointed. If you don't like reading your games, you will be disapointed.

If you expect to read some atmospheric prose and chose how to die in a dungeon, you will not be disapointed. It's really pretty decent. I got it from a bundle, and you should too.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 15 people (87%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 25
"You're a fool to trust me, Summoner. Now, I simply cannot waste but a single drop of your blood."

This Book is a Dungeon (TBIAD) is a fantastic little text-based adventure game with a bit of unsettling dark and gloomy theme. Expect to die, A LOT, in this game and every choice you make seems like a possible bad ending. That doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing since the game encourages you to try again with different paths each time and hopefully brings you closer to the conclusion. I haven't managed to get that far myself but I did managed well enough to get to the second chapter before the inevitable happens.

However, the brilliant writing and creepy atmosphere is marred by the game's lack of basic feature for a PC game, a Steam title even. I think this is what deter most of the text-based games enthusiast, or even just casual gamers, away from what could've been a great indie gem.

  • CLEVERLY written story with immersive setting and rich with lore! I was hooked straight away even at the prologue, leading me to play for an hour straight (until I met an unexpected but-I-guess-it's-my-own-fault death).
  • High replayability value with different pathways on almost every different choices you make.
  • Accessible english that's easy enough to understand and enjoyed but not too simple that it's silly.
  • Can run on a toaster.
  • Charming character and world artwork throughout the game.
  • Smooth text flow, perfect for immersive reading.
  • Fun puzzle section that requires you to think rather than just go for trial and error sequence.

  • Detailed map but I think how the game shows the whole thing right off the bat is a bit spoilerish and, in my opinion, changes how I'd play given that the map is hidden at first.
  • The white background is nice and all but I do prefer an option for a darker theme. Reading the text with bright background for hours will probably thickened my cornea even more.


As much as I've enjoyed the game, I have to admit that the absence of the even basic features in the game annoys me.
  • Not a single audio can be find in the game. Eerie silence? Check. (I prefer the ambience, if you don't mind)
  • No Setting or Configuration menu. The game don't even have a Fullscreen toggle!
  • Steam Overlay is not functioning in the game, as I've crashed twice when I attempted to open the overlay when playing.
  • You can't take a proper screenshot (probably because of the flowing text?). Every screenshot I took came out as a white screen showing only the map and the inventory.
  • Uninspired combat sequence. It's basically just clicking next, next, next until either one of you dies.
  • There's no option to save your progress in the game (or at least from what I've noticed). I've created a thread asking for this and once someone clarifies, I'll update the review Accordingly EDIT: The dev confirmed that there are no save function in the game due to the engine limitation. However, he did mention that he's working on a patch to add a quick skip point early on in case anyone wants to wade through the story faster.
  • Some of the artwork are inproportionate with the window size. Since the game doesn't have a fullscreen support, I played the game in small windowed mode (just nice to read without burning my eyes out). I noticed that some words, that are meant to be a background artwork, doesn't show up properly. I had to rescale the window size just to see what the words meant (I had this in Chapter 2).

To conclude, I give This Book is a Dungeon an enjoyable but all around mediocre 3 / 5. Get it for the amazing story!

I've scoured the Discussion section for the game and I've noticed that Nathan, the developer, is actively working (last update is at the end of January last month) to release a Redux version of the game, reworked on a brand new game engine, which promises all of the basic Steam functions, including achievements and sounds. It's not clear yet whether it will be released as a separate title or an update to this one. I'll update my review in the future after I have confirmation regarding this (as well if there's any new info I find).


TLDR version: the redesign of TBIAD is coming's an agonizingly slow process, but along the way it's giving me great ideas to retune and add/change a lot of the game.

I'm taking all of the reviews and player feedback into consideration. When it's done, TBIAD Redux is going to be a very different animal from the current Steam version. I think anyone who liked the core game is going to super dig it, and the changes may appeal, too, to a much broader swath of players.

Anyhoo. This is a long-term redesign, but I'll share updates as I go. Everyone who buys the game in its current form on Steam will get the full updated version for free when it relaunches.

As usual, feel free to drop a comment if there's anything you'd like to add or if I've made any spelling or grammatical mistake in my review. If this is helpful or enjoyable to read, I'd appreciate a thumbs up so others can view it as well!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
This Book is a Dungeon is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure game in a horror setting, but it has some rogue-lite elements as well.
Everything is done through text with occasional graphics for enemies and other special encounters, and a dynamically updating map as you proceed through the game.
It is also very difficult and unfairly so: there are multiple instant kill choice results, so you have to replay to learn to avoid those. Making this a little more interesting is that there appears to be some randomization going on, sometimes an alcove will contain a monster, sometimes the same alcove will contain something else instead.

I bought this on a whim based on the cyoa tag, and I'm not disappointed. Excellent writing and good gameplay, good enough that even though I rage at the unfair deaths, I keep playing.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Recently Posted
1.5 hrs
Posted: October 18
This game is FAR TOO SHORT to warrant a 6 euro price point.

However, if you get it at a discount for 1 - 2 bucks/euros it's a pretty good experience.

The good
- Writing and atmosphere. The writing is pretty good and motivates to imagine yourself in the character's place.

The bad
- Needs more checkpoints
-> This lead you to replay some parts over and there is no option for skipping text...
- Combat is pointless.

Hopefully there will be more of this, because the game has a lot of potential, although not much in content.

Combat should be removed or redone. And here is my suggestion for it: Make the combat choice based. One or two of options wins you the combat, the other kill you. Players can deduct the right choice from the monster either from monster appearance (like don't try to run pass a 10 armed monster) OR the encounter description.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Saint Aaron
3.8 hrs
Posted: October 15
Product received for free
the game is okay, its not the best but its missing a lot of features such as no music, no skipping text, and no saving. The combat is pointless and shouldnt even been on here. AVOID IT
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3.4 hrs
Posted: October 7
"This Book Is A Dungeon" is a text dungeon crawler with a dark theme. Each choice has the possibility to led to your death, or push you forward to possibily die by another means. The game encouraging you to try to reach the conclusion of the book. The story is written well, and encourages you to read about the lore, especially when it comes to be helpful later on, and with various ways to proceed, or die, it is likely for you to take a different path. The puzzles rely on thinking through the process and the information you could of gathered, and sometimes tempts you to go with the wrong decision. The way it shows the text and the way it lets you progress is clever, and doesn't take you away from the game with pixel art dotting here and there when needed.
The cons are few, but aren't necessarily deal breakers. This Book Is A Dungeon would of done well with some audio going with the area you are in or the situation you just got in. It would of taken a step further with the immersion. If the area includes various things to do, and you die, you will have to redo everything. There are skips to areas you were in when you die that helps. The combat is confusing on what affects it, does how fas you click affect it, or is it random? But the combat is far and few, so this won't show as much.

I do recommend this game as something to play to pass the time that any computer can play. If you also liked those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, this will remind you of those books.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.4 hrs
Posted: September 20
A short, text-based adventure. The starting point in the dungeon is a little dull, but in the gallery, the feelings of the occult make this altogether quite enjoyable. Read the books and notes which are left for you, otherwise this will necessarily feel lacking (if you don't want to read, why are you playing a text-based game?). Recommended if you can get this for free, or as part of a bundle, but I wouldn't really pay more than about 0.50 for it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.6 hrs
Posted: September 15
sorry i tried i just dont enjoy
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Rorroh Snowcat
4.6 hrs
Posted: September 6
Wonderful storytelling. It feels like a mix between a text adventure and a choose-your-own-adventure book. And as a book, it definitely engages you and entices you deeper into the story.

Unfortunately, This Dungeon Is Not A Book.

I can definitely recommend this game for its story, and I'm happy about all of the endings, but there are several loose ends that need to be addressed before it's a truly enjoyable experience. I started off really enjoying it but it got to a point where I had to push myself through the frustration in order to finish it.

First and foremost, it gets repetitive. There are no saves in the game, and this means that every time you die, you have to start over and go through certain parts of the game a second time. This isn't too much of an inconveniece at first, since a lot of the time you're just flipping through pages and making a couple choices. But there are parts where you have to remember which steps to take, or long segments of text, or pages that only progress after some time has passed. The latter two, as I said, were executed great as far as a book goes, but does not mesh well with the game in its current state. This being said, it does have links in the beginning so you can skip ahead a bit. I believe this is to get around a limitation in Twine, so I don't believe that this particular point can be addressed easily, if at all. It's unfortunate.

Then there are parts where it's basically a guessing game. You do get a decent amount of information on what you're dealing with, but then you're given a number of paths where almost all of them kill you, and you don't have enough information to make a proper decision. To be fair, though, this is a classic way of doing a CYOA book. It just doesn't work as intended in a medium like this, and it's very likely a symptom of the repetition I explained above.

The encounters may as well not be there. There are, I believe, three encounters. They are all in the same place. You have one option. You have no will over how it plays out. You cannot die from them. They're just, well, there. I can understand the appeal as a storytelling mechanic, but the way it currently works, it just gets in the way.

There is no branching story. This isn't a complaint, but more of a warning to those who are thinking of purchasing this with the idea that it's a true CYOA. It's not. You make choices and you try not to choose wrong.

To sum up, this game is actually not a bad idea or a bad story, it's just poorly executed. For a couple bucks, I'd say to give it a try. Thinking about it, I believe the biggest issues (the repetition and the guessing game) can be remedied by putting in some option to revert to an earlier page when you hit a death scene. Not necessarily to that specific choice, but far enough back so you can make different choices without having to go through the monotony of reading the same thing over and over again. If such a change is made, or a similarly effective change is made, I'll revise this review and recommend it. In the meantime, though, I'm looking forward to the remake. With the better tools and the feedback he's gotten from this version, I'm sure the new one will turn out fantastic.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
11.5 hrs
Posted: September 5
Oh boy do I have a lot to say about this game. I'll save the rant for elsewhere though, and give you the highlights. If you want a Hellraiser-esque choose your own adventure experience, then this is the game for you! I got it on sale for a few bucks and definitely felt it was worth that.
It was a good experience in interactive story telling and the text was excellently written, and it gave me great inspiration for my own stuff (D&D), but I gotta say, the mechanics were pretty frustrating. The combat was rare, distracting, and ultimately pretty meaningless. The game would have been better without the brief combat scenes, either cutting them out or keeping with the multiple choice story options of other encounters. The last half of the game became an exercise in patience, as I had to resort to extensive trial and error (Chapter 4, I'm looking at you...), which is fine and could have actually been used to the advantage of the game, if it wasn't for the draining and frusting experience of retreading through the text every time I had to restart. Both endings were pretty fitting, but felt breif, especially after such a lengthy introduction and the amount of time I spent navigating the actual dungeons. Trial and error aside, the game actually seemed surprisingly short, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. My only real criticism is that it needed more "save points" or even just a fast forward button to get through the all that text a little quicker. I look forward to whatever twisted crap this guy makes next.

tl;dr good thing the text is well written, because you're going to have to reread it A LOT.
Helpful? Yes No Funny