That Dragon, Cancer is a moving and heartfelt game brought to us by Numinous Games. The game follows the Green family and how they coped with Joel’s four year fight with cancer. Joel was the second youngest out of four boys in the Green family and was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) at the age of one. We are almost a spectator in the life of the Green family. That Dragon, Cancer has you switching between both first and third person throughout.
This heartfelt game is filled with stunning visuals and intense imagery. We only see the important moments in those four terrifying years for the Green family. Ranging from the good times at the park to horrible nights in the hospital. These different scenes in the life of the Green family are shown in a imaginative way. You may see Joel riding on his favorite animals to show how bliss things can be, or you may even see the feeling of a father drowning in his emotions brought to life. With vibrant colors and beautiful sceneries throughout the story, you can’t but just stand and look around to take it all in. The game, whether it is showing it’s imagery or recreating an actual event, looks amazing.
As soon as you start the game, we are introduced to the wonderful soundtrack. The opening scene is of a mountain type landscape with beautiful trees waiting on the other side. We are gliding through the air just absorbing the beautiful sounds that mix along great with the visuals. With the game’s emotions fluctuating up and down the soundtracks do change often. In every scene there is a heartfelt sound to it that makes you twice as immersed. The game has dialogue from the actual family. Some of the recordings feel as if they were homemade, which gives you the sense of togetherness with Joel.
That Dragon, Cancer is a roller-coaster of emotions. From the start we are introduced to Joel and quickly find out that he is the one undergoing cancer. We meet him and we care for his cute self. We help him feed the ducks in the pond, then we play with him at the park. We feel for Joel, and just hope that the happiness stays with us, because we fear of what might come. We then see Joel in a journey, with the game’s personification of the cancer inside Joel. It is dark and evil. The game has this method of bringing you to happy times in the life of the Green family to the more difficult and important times. It does this so well that you are caught crying out of pure joy because you no longer see Joel in pain.
The poetic dialogue in the game is absolutely beautiful. There are many touching ideas that are very symbolic and show the love from the family. The title itself is a symbolic expression of how the Green parents explained the idea of cancer to their children. The game is a love letter from the Green family, and you can feel it. That Dragon, Cancer is a game that you very much need to experience. It is not something that you can fully immerse yourself in by watching a play-through or reading reviews. I very much recommend this game, and I thank Numinous Games and the Green family for bringing this game to life and sharing their experience with me. You can download the game off of steam for $14.99 today!