You’re Getting Dr Who For Christmas

The fourth episode in the Dr Who adventure game series, Shadows of the Vashta Nerada, will go online as soon as the television Christmas special episode finishes airing in the UK. That’s the plan, anyway. Producer Steven Moffat says: “Shadows of the Vashta Nerada takes place entirely underwater – something which would be impossible for the TV series, as water is so expensive. It’s thrilling, terrifying, educational and fun. Just steer clear of those shadows…” The BBC’s game budget is set to expand, too, with more Dr Who games turning up next year, and probably some other stuff, too.

Britons can get the rest of the games for free here. I haven’t played a single one of these. Any good?


  1. AndrewC says:

    I’d like to get Karen Gillan for Christmas! Wootles!

    Anyways: ‘It’s thrilling, terrifying, educational and fun.’

    Don’t think you can sneak that in there in third place, Mr Moffat! I see it! We can all see it!

    • Daniel Johnston says:

      Bit young for us oldtimers, no? Although the police uniform was rather, um…

      I’ve played and completed all three so far. They’re fairly duff, unfortunately. Really need to rethink the challenges and game mechanics a bit. Frankly, a decent game with no voice acting would be preferable. Maybe good for kids who aren’t allowed to play most modern games for some reason? Also surprisingly resource-intensive, so not that good for social inclusion stuff aimed at people with really low-spec machines or very limited internet bandwidth either. Hmm.

      Also also, slightly less educational than those Brain Training games. Which are *not* educational. Coo I’m in a grumpy mood today.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      I want Kieron Gillen for Christmas!

    • Hypatian says:

      Surely there’s some sort of Karen+Kieron multi-pack available on Steam.

    • Rinox says:

      I heard that if you pirate the Karen-Kieron pack, KG himself will track you down and kick you in the face based on torrent data. No buy for me.

    • michael says:

      I just checked the site and there was a small pop-up window:

      “Help us make Doctor Who games better
      Do you have 5 minutes to tell us how?”

      So, those who played, do you?

    • Birky says:

      I believe Kieron was only available if ordered the collectors edition second hand from CEX… It was always going to be a niche offer.

    • Xercies says:

      Actually no you don’t I’ve seen her and watched interviews with her, she is so far up her ass its unbelievable, shes very cold and she seems very disinterested in everything that is happening around her. if you did get her sure you would have a fit women to put on your mark but it wouldn’t be a nice time.

    • AndrewC says:

      I’ve chosen not to trust the woman-advice of RPS commenters. Please don’t take it personally.

    • Basilicus says:

      I like Karen Gillan as much as the next guy, and she comes closer than any other, but she’s still no Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) or Louise Jameson (Leela) back in their heyday.

    • TheTingler says:

      I preferred Peri (Nicola Bryant) myself. Especially in The Bikini Episode (aka The Two Doctors).

    • Urael says:

      After the abomination that was, is and ever shall be Catherine Tate I welcomed Karen Gillan – “a REAL actress, at last!” like the proverbial oasis. Strangely, though, I went right off her again as the series progressed. I’m not sure if she herself is not likeable, or her character is just not likeable, or if it’s a bit of both, but I’m a bit fed up of her now.

      Freema Agyeman seemed a much nicer person. She just wasn’t much of an actress, imo, and was given a horribly soppy retread plot-line to munch through. And the less said about the Piper-monster, the better.

      I echo comments above – we’ve been poorly served for companion-totty in NuWho. If only Elisabth Sladen was 30 years younger….! And, yeah, Perpugilliam Brown aka Nicola Bryant. Happy face.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Rinox: Well then how lucky that it’s downloaded and not actually shipped. So a boat and a sabre are pretty useless in obtaining it.
      And how lucky that passing on information is not a crime, but pushing one’s own delusions about information mechanics onto the world with terrorizing behaviour is.

  2. SF Legend says:

    So the piranhas of the air are underwater this time?

  3. fuggles says:

    The games are meh. On the one hand they look nice, but they are fairly poor stealth games with awful minigames. The most fun I’ve had was sneaking around getting the pickups to read the trivia…which may be the point.

    Real voice acting is appreciated, as is the cost, and the overall feel is good, just they are so lacklustre to play. Third one especially was short and felt phoned in.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Perhaps, coming from people who were used to making stories with aesthetics, they did not really think about the third key element that games have, but films not: Mechanics.

  4. Ian says:

    I suppose I ought to try one of these. It’s on my Spose-I-Ought-To-Do list.

  5. Daniel Rivas says:

    I wanted Spiderman.


  6. Fergus says:

    Tbh, I’d rather the Beeb took the budget they’re using for these Doctor Who games and just made a real new season of Torchwood.

    • phlebas says:

      You’ve just made me feel a whole lot better about the games – thanks!

    • Vandelay says:

      BBC is teaming up with the American STARZ network (those of Sparticus: Blood and Sand) to make a new season. I was particularly excited to hear that Jane Espenson will be one of the writers working on it (from Buffy and many other Joss Whedon shows, along with BSG and Caprica.) link to

      Children of Earth was by far the best thing Russel T. Davis had written for the Who-verse, so I’m really looking forward to more Torchwood.

    • Rich says:

      Ah good. The acting in Torchwood was always a bit wobbly. There were a few exceptions mind.
      Thankfully the worst character in the series, the supposed ladies man with a face like dried catfish, was incinerated shortly after becoming a zombie.

    • TheTingler says:

      Um, they’re doing that, just in conjunction with an American company.

      And Children of Earth was by far the best story.

  7. Web Cole says:

    “something which would be impossible for the TV series, as water is so expensive.”

    Ah, I suppose they’ve already blown their budget on hiring all those REAL aliens…

  8. pakoito says:

    Go, go, data shmuggling team!

  9. Deano2099 says:

    The second one was a big improvement on the first actually. The third one was only about half an hour long.

  10. westyfield says:

    ‘All I want for Christmas is Who’?

  11. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I miss one thing here:

    Knock, knock..
    Who’s there?
    Doctor who?

  12. rammjaeger says:

    Can I whine like the EU guys usually do when they get shafted on delayed release dates or prices :) It’s a real bummer that this is free for Brits but costs elsewhere.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      TeeVee License fee.

    • JB says:

      Daniel Rivas says: TeeVee License fee.

      ^ This

    • golden_worm says:

      There a nifty little program called Expat Shield from Anchorfree that lets you be British online. You can use it to download these or watch iplayer and 4od. It does put some annoying banner adds on your browser but they are easily remedied with adblock.

    • TheTingler says:

      We rarely get anything for free or first, even in Europe, so I can happily give you two fingers.

  13. Jahkaivah says:

    I often felt the Doctor should give Rapture from Bioshock a visit.

  14. The Tupper says:

    The games are, let’s say, undemanding. They fulfil their purpose, however, of channeling traffic onto the BBC website and (undemanding) kids seem to kinda mibbe like them, a bit.

  15. malkav11 says:

    I get that they’re underwhelming as games, but are they good Who?

    • The Tupper says:

      Are they good Who? No, absolutely not.

      Don’t get me wrong: the games have an innocent quality to them that’s rather endearing, and they’re nowhere near as bad as the ‘edutainment’ (my parentheses) brief suggested by BBC press releases.

      They’re just ultra-simple 3D point-and-click adventures with a somewhat-wooden voiceover by the show’s two leads. So no, in my opinion, they’re not good Who.

      Because modern television Doctor Who is, generally speaking, awesome.