i received a copy of the game from harper collins nz in exchange for an honest review.

star rating

the game review

welcome to the game: the worst book of 2022.

this book had the potential to be something great. the writing was amazing – it was fast paced and thrilling. although i found the ending to be very underwhelming, with everything happening in the last 50 pages.

unfortunately, the blatant racism, homophobia, ableist language and fatphobia ruined the experience for me.

if these things don’t bother you, then i think this book would be perfect for you.

if they’re not, then maybe steer clear of this book.

some of the things i found in the game could’ve been put down to character quirks. it’s something that could be easily explained and passed off. however, the repetition in which these comments came made it seem like this is how the author thinks.

to make things easier for anyone considering reading, or those who’ve already finished this book, here’s a list of everything that i found (although i’m definitely missing some):

please proceed with caution, as there will likely be spoilers ahead.

content warnings for the game:

  • death of a dog (pg 46 for those wanting to avoid it, although references late on)
  • rape
  • rape of a minor
  • grooming
  • suicide (drowning)
  • kidnapping
  • child abuse
  • physical abuse (fairly graphic)
  • racism & homophobia ( re: bullying of a black child)
  • plenty of blood, gore, etc.


“This is Saint Paul, for Christ’s sake. The land of Minnesota Nice. It isn’t Mexica or Venezuela or Brazil. Children don’t just vanish here.” Pg 4.

  • while i couldn’t find statistics for the united states, this list has plenty of other countries on the list. both new zealand and canada are at the top of the list while mexico is #27.
  • a quick google search regarding abductions in mexico shows approximately 100,000 missing persons, and 800,000 in the usa.

“There’s stubble on his wooden face.” Pg 217.

  • i could be wrong, but describing your only black character as “wooden” doesn’t seem right ….?

each victim is abducted by various people. almost everyone in this book is white. unfortunately, the only captors to abuse their victims is a group of black men. this goes hand in hand with:

our one black main character becomes aggressive and angry, beating a victim. he then proceeds to die after he wouldn’t calm down. this perpetuates the stigma that black people are violent.


“Craig refers to the English as tea-sipping faggots or buck-toothed limey bastards.” Pg 204.

  • there’s multiple uses of the term “faggot” within this book. almost all are relating to Craig (a blatantly homophobia and racist individual). i could list them all, but i won’t. one is enough.

“fags eat assholes” – i didn’t tab it, so i can’t remember what page it was on. used in a scene to bully a defenseless black kid. his bullies shoved dog shit in his mouth/eyes. (tbh, it felt a little unnecessary to go into such detail).

why is this a bad word? check out this article here.

ableist language

“in Linda’s motherly opinion, the girl is always just a missed meal or two away from an eating disorder.” Pg 55 (and repeated further in the book).

  • missing a meal doesn’t automatically give you an eating disorder. eating disorders are based on persistent thoughts regarding food and behaviours. missing a meal ≠ an eating disorder.
  • did you know binge eating disorder is the most common ed?

“She has the trembling hands of advanced Parkinson’s disease, and her legs could go out at any moment.” Pg 61.

“Craig was supposed to be crazy.” Pg 297

“… wasn’t this the son of some psychotic racist?” Pg 298

  • psycho, retard, crazy are all words that we shouldn’t be using to describe someone.


“Please … I can’t physically do this.” Pg 274.

  • i can’t speak for everyone, but if you’re being made to run a mile (in under 10 minutes) in order to save your toddler, wouldn’t you be trying instead of complaining? if it was me, i would’ve ran as far as i could before giving up. not to mention, i know multiple fat people who can outrun a skinny person. being fat doesn’t make you unfit, just like being thin doesn’t automatically make you fit.
  • is it possible to be overweight and healthy?
  • can you be fit and fat?

“She has lost sixteen pounds, and her legs are getting stronger; you never know when you’ll need to run; never know when you might have to be strong.” Pg 420.

  • implying that fat people can’t run, and that they can’t be strong. fat ≠ weak.
  • also, why does our only overweight character have to lose weight by the end of the book?

buy your copy now!

mighty ape | the nile | whitcoulls


  1. avatar
    WendyW says:

    Nope. This one is not for me. I like the way you called out specific instances of the racism, homophobia etc for this book.

    1. avatar

      thank you! i didn’t want to be one of those reviews that accuses something but doesn’t back it up with proof.

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