Game: The Hunter’s Journals – Return to Wight Chapel
Platform: PC, Android
Genre: interactive fiction
Style: light influences
Verdict: Recommended
Buy: Steam
Lovecraft Video Games received a review copy of The Hunter’s Journals – Wight Chapel Dreams.

A year ago, we took a look at The Hunter’s Journals – Wight Chapel Dreams, the first entry in a two-part story. Now it’s time to talk about the second half, Return to Wight Chapel.

While the previous entry was a flashback to the case that made you famous as a hunter, Return to Wight Chapel begins with the discovery that some of the undead from that case were left unaccounted for. As such, you lead a team to track them down.

If you’ve never played a Hunter’s Journals game before, know that it is an interactive fiction series that incorporates dice roles. You begin the game with a stamina and skill stat. Stamina is your health, while skill factors into battles. On each turn of combat, you and the enemy each roll two dice. Your total is added to your skill stat, and whichever of you has the higher number deals damage that turn. You can additionally tailor your experience by choosing an Heirloom and Trait at the start, which provide you with both benefits and risks.

Outside of battle, you’ll make numerous choices that lead you down various branches of the story.

This time, that includes choosing which lead you want to pursue first. Return to Wight Chapel gives you a day to investigate three different leads, and you pick what order to go in. This actually matters a great deal, as your choice may determine whether or not you have time to pursue certain clue or lead to events from one adventure influencing the next.

These differences ultimately determine whether or not you end up on the path for the game’s true ending, although it might be a little too subtle for its own good. On my first few playthroughs, my impression was that the choices mattered little. You see, it’s not clear right away that the order affects anything, since many of the scenes remain the same. Only through repeated attempts did I find a combination of choices that made things change significantly. If the changes were indicated earlier, it might have escaped the initial sense that it was following a linear path.

Once you discover how to pursue different leads to change the outcome later down the line, the branching in Return to Wight Chapel becomes more impressive. This one is slightly more focused on the battles than previous entries, due to the nature of the plot premise, but still tells an interesting story once you get into it.

Like its predecessor, it has only light Lovecraftian elements. However, if you’re interested in interactive horror fiction, Return to Wight Chapel is a solid entry in the Hunter’s Journal series despite the impact of choices feeling a bit too subtle at first.

Buy: Steam