Bad Writer Hero

Bad Writer Review

Emily just lost her job, but instead of feeling down she attempts to follow her true passion: writing. With the wholehearted support of her wife, Cleo, and her cat, Meowphistopheles, she decides to spend a whole month getting ideas, writing short stories, and submitting them to various magazine publications in the hopes of following her dreams and achieving maximum happiness.

Bad Writer plunges players into the unforgiving world of an artist. It’s not easy trying to make a living off your creativity alone, and following Emily’s journey is bittersweet at best, depressing at worst.

Will this one give Emily an idea?

The entirety of the game takes place inside of Emily and Cleo’s modest house. You can interact with several objects to attempt to glean ideas for new stories, or boost Emily’s happiness: make some food in the kitchen, read a book, or go outside for a stroll. Every action is simply described with a small bit of text telling you what Emily did and how she felt about it. 

The small and limited setting feels cramped rather quickly. It’s a very short game to begin with (you could easily beat it several times over the course of an hour), and the gameplay eventually becomes a repeating pattern of actions: walk to computer, check email, submit story, write new story, or go get idea for story. Rinse, repeat. You can talk to your wife and your cat once per day as well, and this will raise your happiness meter by a small amount.

Just chillin’ in the kitchen.

The happiness meter is the main game mechanic. Being productive and successful raises the meter, while wasting the day and being rejected lowers it. If the meter gets empty, the game is over and Emily will decide to get another job she hates rather than deal with the life of a struggling writer. 

The happiness meter doesn’t feel like much of a challenge once you get the hang of it. When Emily is trying to find new story ideas she has to partake of various activities that are not writing. These idea-generating activities always lower happiness, as Emily will feel bad about herself for wasting a day she could’ve been writing. It discourages players from attempting something like stockpiling ideas because you’ll be seriously flirting with a Game Over if you do. 

Success feels good.

The game has a huge amount of frustrating randomness to it as well, which is perhaps very akin to the life of an artist trying to make it on their art alone. While true to life, it doesn’t translate well into gameplay. Sometimes, when searching for ideas, an activity will simply give you none. Submitting your stories to the publications will eliminate the ones that reject you, until they don’t… Suddenly you’re submitting the same story over and over to the only option left and still getting rejected. 

Perhaps the point the developers wanted to portray is that making art is hard? That the struggle is real? The game is an excellent metaphor, and anyone thinking about pursuing a career in writing should give Bad Writer a try if only to prepare themselves for the harsh reality of the real world rejection an artist faces every day. However, if you are simply searching for a fun game to play on a day off, perhaps look into something else. 

Bad Writer £4.99


Bad Writer is a short little step into the world of a struggling writer. While it is an accurate insight into the challenges of pursuing art, the metaphor doesn’t really translate into a fun gaming experience.