Enter to play, win to escape.

It seemed like harmless fun at first, when Justin entered the world of ERDE Inside. He quickly discovers that the real game is trying to save his own reality.

Justin Schwartz is obsessed with ERDE, one of the most popular franchises in the world. The most recent iteration of the game has been in development for a decade, and is called ERDE: Inside, a virtual world that lives and breaths independent of its creators.

As part of a massive PR campaign, OMEGA-DEGA starts a contest for people to join the open beta of ERDE: Inside. Obsessed with getting in, Justin exploits the system to win a slot in the beta, but his actions don't go unnoticed. A hacker called Pnutxebra spotted Justin's exploit and blackmails the leadership of OMEGA-DEGA. Either they allow Justin into the game and trap him there until he finishes the Son of Schwarzvald questline, or Pnutxebra destroys ERDE: Inside so thoroughly they can't recover a decade of work.

Let the game begin.


My Opinion: 323 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is technically a LitRPG novel. It is set in a game world, and there is a small amount of RPG progression. But those elements are relatively minor. If you want a crunchy RPG action story, this isn’t it. Instead, this is a novel with some interesting characters, pop culture world building, and lots of dialogue. There is a minor amount of action but the story is basically this big philosophical narrative about the nature of reality and what it means to be alive.

It's all couched in a very outlandish premise of forcing the main character (MC) to play a full immersion fantasy game and trapping him there unless he finishes this game scenario to become king. But within that are some interesting adventures, and a lot of talking.

That’s one thing that will either push readers away or delight them, the amount of talking in this story. The dialogue is humorous sometimes, but a lot of is in the form of philosophizing and debate. So, if you’re into that you’ll enjoy this story. If you aren’t or just want something more action oriented, this may not be a good fit for you.

Overall, even though the debating got to be a little repetitive for me sometimes, it was a good read. I appreciated the philosophical themes, the sense of humor, and the pop culture references.

Score: 7.1 out of 10