My Father's Work Review: Stunning and Immersive Game With a Steep Learning Curve

Renegade Game Studios embraces the morbid eccentricities of a mad scientist with My Father's Work, a game that tasks players with using a mix of scientific and risk-laden methods to complete their goal. The story-based competitive game is rich in aesthetics and quality, with superb components and stellar voice acting through its companion app. Gameplay is wonderfully immersive, though there is a relatively steep learning curve, and the game can be a beast to get to the table due to its sheer size and amount of setup. I found it very much worth the time and effort, however, and it didn't take long to find myself lost in this world of meaningful choices, intriguing factions, and rewarding gameplay, and if you give it a chance, I think you'll find yourself lost in that world too.

In My Father's Work, you'll play through one of three different story scenarios with the end goal being to complete your Father's grand experiment, and each player gets one of their own to carry out. Each scenario introduces a different starting setup, unique characters and factions to interact with, different components that tie into that particular story, and their own pages in the Village Chronicle, which houses the different maps you'll be interacting with throughout three different generations.

(Photo: ComicBook)

The other major element of the game is the app, which is called the Storybook. The Storybook contains voice acting to set up each story and also contains unique choices that are linked to the area you are at in the Village Chronicle. As you move through rounds, which is also done via the app, you'll find unique interactions to choose once certain prerequisites are met, like exploring a certain part of the town, achieving a certain amount of creepy or insanity, or achieving specialty goals the Storybook reveals to you at the beginning of the scenario.

If that all sounds like a lot, well, it is, and that's the biggest challenge the game faces, especially in regard to new players. The game features a bevy of admittedly gorgeous components, as everything from the Estate Board and metal coins to the miniatures and variety of individually crafted resources screams quality. That does introduce a few challenges of its own, as certain spaces on the board have a difficult time housing all of those components when you're attempting to fulfill an experiment, and some of the pieces (like the Journal markers) are a bit too fiddly, falling over at the slightest movement. It all looks impeccably impressive on the board though, but that does come at the cost of significant table space.

(Photo: ComicBook)

Immersion is the key to making this all work, and My Father's Work has that in spades. You generally feel as if you have several choices in which to pursue your experiments in any given round, and the evolving story throws in enough twists to keep players on their toes. One minute you're attempting to not only create your final experiment but also cure yourself of an ailing disease, and then the next minute you're aligning with a dark faction that could end up overtaking your entire town, all the while moving through the regular rhythm of putting ingredients together to create works from the current experiment cards you have at hand.

While there is a lot to keep track of, the game does an admirable job of making it manageable once you figure out what everything does and how it all flows together. You can also find avenues to progress through several avenues, including adding Estate Upgrade Tiles, interacting with Storybook Tokens, upgrading your Journal Track, and utilizing the good and bad that comes with the Creepy and Insanity trackers. Most of the time it genuinely feels like you can move forward in the game in some way during your turn, and if you find yourself not having a great set of rounds, you get a relatively clean slate with every generation, allowing you a chance to start somewhat fresh and get things started again.

(Photo: ComicBook)

My Father's Work is a truly engrossing experience that continued to pull me in as the story moved forward, and with every new wrinkle, you are encouraged to adapt on the fly while also not losing your central focus. It's a stunning game once it's on the table, though getting it there is probably going to be a challenge with its lengthy setup, and it isn't the easiest game to teach to someone without much experience in the genre. That said, I truly enjoyed my time with My Father's Work and look forward to experiencing this world again in the future, and it's an easy experience to recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Published by: Renegade Game Studios

Designed By: T.C. Petty III

Illustrated By: Damien Mammoliti, Eric Hibbeler, Anh Le, Janos Orban, Kin Wald, and Cold Castle Studios

My Father's Work is available in stores now.

Review copy provided by the publisher.