Buckle up because it’s time for another choose-your-own-adventure book in the world of Marvel superheroes, from Aconyte Books. This time Moon Knight is looking for some help from an Egyptologist (you) dealing with a living mummy that is stealing the souls of New Yorkers and starting a zombie plague. But it’s not as simple as just picking an option at the end of each page. In the Multiverse Missions gamebooks, you gain and lose attributes based on your choices and they affect your path through the book. So grab a pen, paper, and some dice and help Moon Knight save the night in Moon Knight: Age of Anubis by Jonathan Green.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Moon Knight: Age of Anubis contains some spoilers!]
Moon Knight (and you) go up against an ancient threat
The game starts out introducing your character. You’re an Egyptologist who put together a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the sarcophagus of King Akharis and many of the pieces relate to him. You give the exhibit one final look the night before it opens and notice that things have been moved around. As you’re puzzling over the changes a mummy suddenly breaks its way out of the sarcophagus! Then none other than Moon Knight comes smashing through the skylight to save you.
After an intense battle, the mummy escapes with a canopic jar featuring Anubis’ head. Moon Knight starts to chase after him when Khonshu’s voice rings out “Wait my son! Take the high priest with you… for you will both have your part to play in bringing this servant of Anubis to heel before the night is through.”
The first shock for you is that you heard Khonshu’s voice. The second shock is that he thinks you are a high priest. The third shock is that Moon Knight actually listens to him and takes you along for the adventure! From here on out it is your choices that guide the action. Choose wisely and you will save the world. Choose poorly and you will die one of any number of tragic deaths.
But it’s not all about choice in Age of Anubis
Most choose-your-own-adventure books just give you a choice of a few different actions at critical decision-making points. But the Marvel Multiverse Missions game books take that premise to the next level. Dice rolls, attributes, and items are incorporated into the process.
Your choices affect each of these aspects and in turn, each of them affects the choices that can be made as you read. It adds an aspect of je ne sais quoi to the experience that really takes it to the next level. You have to weigh your choices really carefully to make sure that you have better options as you progress. The items are especially important as some are extremely useful or open different pathways that aren’t available without them.
Beyond the way that attributes and items affect your choices, dice rolls add an element of chance to the game. Even if you’ve made really good choices and raised your attributes to very high levels, if you can’t roll the right numbers you’ll still end up losing rounds and being defeated (why does my die like “1” so much? Why?).
Make sure to play, no cheating!
Author Jonathan Green takes a minute at the beginning of the book to explain how to play the game. I’ll give a little info here, but make sure you read his explanation, it’s worth it (wink, wink). Green suggests having a pad of paper and pencil plus a set of dice. I used a note app and let Google roll a die instead. However you do it, you need to keep track of your attributes and items while you read.
It might be tempting to say “That sounds like a lot of work, I’ll just do what I want” but that would be a mistake. It really wasn’t that difficult to keep track of things and it completely upped my investment in the story and the outcome. I don’t think the book would be nearly as engaging if you skipped the gameplay and just read it as a normal choose-your-own-adventure.
While it’s perfectly possible to save your notes, slide a bookmark in the book, and take a break from the game, I don’t recommend it. It’s a lot easier to forget what’s going on in Moon Knight: Age of Anubis than it is with a normal book. Especially if it’s not your first read-through.
It’s easy enough to keep the story straight while you’re playing, but when you walk away the storylines start to bleed together. Because the same scenes can be reached from different pathways, things can get really messy in your head if you don’t play through to “the end” all in one go. Now obviously some storylines take longer to play through than others. But most of my plays took approximately 1-1½ hours so make sure you have a little bit of time before you sit down to read.
Moon Knight: Age of Anubis has a high re-readability value
I am happy to report that Moon Knight: Age of Anubis was more than a one-hit wonder. I read it through multiple times without repeating many scenes. And even with a couple of repeated scenes, each round felt unique and held my interest. What’s more, I know that I still have plenty of scenes I never even got to. This means that I can read it through several more times (at least) and get different adventures each time.
That greatly increases the value of the book to me, I’ve already gotten several hours of fun out of it and there’s still more to enjoy. That’s what I look for in a book, especially one that touts itself as a game. So if you’re looking for some fun and have an hour to spare, pick up Moon Knight: Age of Anubis and save the world with Moon Knight!
Moon Knight: Age of Anubis: A Marvel Multiverse Missions Gamebook by Jonathan Green is available on Tuesday, September 5! Will you be checking out this choose-your-own-adventure novel? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.