Thanatophobia (2022, Robert Goodwin)

Maddie is a 20 year-old girl who suffers from Thanatophobia, a morbid fear of death.  You are the hypnotherapist who, after a chance meeting, helps her come to terms with her fears.  After you have put her under hypnosis, Maddie tells you that she is standing in a hallway and there is a hooded figure behind her.  No matter where she goes, the hooded figure is always there.  She needs you to figure out who the hooded figure represents and also how Maddie can get away from it.

Maddie is a chatbot.  You type in questions and she answers.  It’s like that old Eliza game except that some of the questions will lead to Maddue discussing her past and revealing her secrets.  It’s a challenging game but it does come with just enough hints that most players should eventually be able to figure out how to help Maddie.  The biggest hint that I can gives is that, just like with a real person, Maddie sometimes has to be asked the same question multiple times before she’ll open up.

Chatbot games are always hit-and-miss for me but Thantophobia does a pretty good job of simulating a real conversation and Maddie comes across as being a real person instead of a bot with several pre-programmed responses.  The game is challenging but the mystery can be solved and Maddie can be helped.  In fact, Maddie’s answers are so well-written that I actually felt really proud of myself when I finally helped her get out of the hallway.

Play Thanatophobia.

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