“A great adventure starts with a choice,” says the introductory animation of Heavy Metal Thunder. Indeed, a great adventure is what awaits you if you choose to play and read that recently released “gamebook,” which is the focus of this week’s edition of Shelf Control.
If you’ve enjoyed playing Dead Space, reading “The Martian” by Andy Weir, or watching “Gravity” starring Sandra Bullock, you’re likely to enjoy playing, reading, and watching (in a manner of speaking) Heavy Metal Thunder.
Essentially, Heavy Metal Thunder is a science fiction story written by Kyle B. Stiff turned into a choose-your-own-adventure hypertext novel by Cubus Games with illustrations by Marc Gonzalez and atmospheric sound effects.
It’s divided into seven segments, beginning with a prelude, continuing with five chapters, and concluding with an epilogue. Told in a compelling second-person narrative mode, Heavy Metal Thunder concerns you, an astronaut in outer space whose choice-and-consequence exploits determine the destiny of humanity, which is in danger of alien invasion:
On your journey you’ll meet the worst that the galaxy has to offer, and it will be up to you to choose how to deal with them. Do you help out those who have given up the fight? Or do you take shortcuts and gun down anyone in your way? As you learn how to fight the invaders you’ll gain new skills, but limited resources will make it impossible to save everyone.
As pointed out in a key passage in the story, Heavy Metal Thunder puts you in a middle of a war, “the war that is life.” And in this particular game of life, you’re defined by five basic characteristics: strength, intelligence, dexterity, charisma, and will. How you augment and expend each of these characteristics figures significantly in the all-important question of whether you ultimately win or lose in the game.
In addition, you can pick up various items and weapons to help you on your journey.
If you can’t see the video embedded above, please click here.
As a digital gamebook, Heavy Metal Thunder doesn’t require a pen and paper to keep track of your progress. You can just access the app’s menu at any time to cheek your inventory of weapons and items as well as your profile and journal.
And neither does Heavy Metal Thunder require a dice or any other aleatory implement. Just follow the prompts to make your choices and suffer or relish the consequences.
The gamebook also offers high replay value with its divergent narratives. You can continue from where you left off when reopening the app, or you can start a new game and reboot your adventure.
But if you’d like to get it at no cost, stay tuned to AppAdvice’s Twitter timeline later today to find out how you can score promo codes to download Heavy Metal Thunder for free.