Adventures in Gameworld: Game Start
by Robert Rumery
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Print Length: 269 pages
Reviewed by Melissa Suggitt
Lovers of the Jumanji reboot are in for a treat; video games meet reality in this thrilling virtual adventure.
When Jasmine finds a retro video game, she can’t wait to bring it home and play with her gamer brother Bobby. But things take a wild turn when they start up the old-school CD-ROM; they are catapulted into a digital adventure.
Finding themselves in the bodies of a cat and a bear, with some strange new powers to boot, they begin to discover that in order to survive, they’ll have to play through the game as these characters. With what appears to be an evil overlord, Darkcrest, having taken over this world, they must walk directly into the danger to hopefully come out the other side.
When they discover two new potential allies, a crow named Skate and a duck named Surge, they start to wonder if they aren’t the only two people hauled out of the real world and thrust into this digital chaos. Could there be more riding on them winning than their own two lives? Or are these new figures simply characters in the game?
While they battle their way through each level, discovering new abilities and new rules as they progress, the pressure to survive and return home increases. Will the relationship between Jasmine and Bobby begin to show cracks? Can these siblings learn to communicate in order to win?
I loved the exploration of the brother/sister relationship in this context. Having to work together as a team means we get to witness a massive amount of emotional growth in them both which takes the story in a deeper direction, adding an obstacle that has nothing to do with flying enemies or killer fish. For readers with siblings, it strikes a chord as they ruminate on their own relationships, and if they too would be able to work together to escape this virtual nightmare.
Haven’t we all wondered what it feels like to take on the big boss at the end, or what it might feel like to respawn, or throw a fireball out of your hand at an oncoming enemy? Maybe it’s just me. (But I doubt it.) The trip is delightful.
Author Robert Rumery is skillful in crafting his dialogue, peppering in cheesy one-liners reminiscent of video games past. While the last act of the book moved a bit faster than I’d expected, we get enough to keep us hanging on for more.
Chock-full of surprises, dangerous tasks, and intense battles, it’s hard not to enjoy this ride. It’s a quick read—perfect for a slow weekend afternoon. Make sure to have your favorite console nearby. I have a feeling you’re going to leave this inspired to take a trip down video game memory lane.
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