Chooseco, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-937133-25-2
The Magic of the Unicorn was initially published in 1985, and this current edition has been revised, or so the copyright notice says. At any rate, it’s very likely that the core campaign remains the same.
It’s 1507 and you are a villager in the Flanders. There is trouble afoot as a severe drought is slowly killing off the crops and livestock, and your neighbors may soon follow suit if you don’t do something. That’s right, a situation this dire, and you decide to strike out solo to find a way to stop the drought, because… little kid’s gamebook, that’s right. You are given a talisman by Marie-Claire, your friend and an elderly crone with such a strikingly Dutch name, and some vague riddle about the location of a sorcerer who can point you to an unicorn who can use its horn to remove some poison from the village well. Do you get all that?
The problem with this one – and it’s a big problem – is that it is completely random. You are given no clue as to what you should do other than some vague instructions to look for something that is both high and low and follow the bat there. Hence, you will be simply picking options based on your whims and moods, and where you end up depends on Deborah Lerme Goodman’s whims and moods. With this being a kiddie gamebook, you’d think picking the most moral option will always lead to a good ending but no, it’s startlingly not the case. In fact, picking the moral option more often than not leads to defeat or death, while being bad more often than not sees you stumbling to some completely random but pleasant, even happy ending.
Not every option involves the unicorn, by the way. Some routes will see a unicorn showing up without rhyme or reason, though, because hello, random.
It’s very unlikely that The Magic of Unicorn will hold any appeal to folks above the age of ten.