80 Days iOS review

80 Days iOS review

Two of my favourite App Store games ever are Sorcery! and – you guessed it – Sorcery! 2, a couple of choose your own adventure fantasy interactive novel type thingies from the mind of Steve Jackson.

Developer inkle has hooked up with beautiful lady and – more importantly – incredibly talented writer Meg Jayanth for a little something called 80 Days, a similar(ish) outing that puts you in the shoes of Jean Passepartout, Phileas Fogg’s valet, as they attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less. Brilliant.

Built using the same engine as the Sorcery! games, 80 Days is undeniably familiar, but different enough to stand out as, like, its own thing. And fear not if you haven’t yet savoured Sorcery! 1 and/or 2 (shame on you); they aren’t exactly a prerequisite.

Anyway! Enough about Sorcery! What we have here is a globetrotting choose your own adventure slash resource management game with a frankly ludicrous volume of content.

In 80 Days, you’re pretty much flung in at the deep end, and while there’s loads of stuff going on, it all quickly becomes second nature. In addition to planning the most effective route, you’ll find yourself investing in goods that are more valuable further down the line, managing storage, negotiating departure times, exploring, making strategic visits to the bank, and of course looking after big Phil.

And all of the above is standard fare for each city. Each city. There are 144 in all, though obviously you’ll be aiming for significantly less than that (high teens or low twenties, I reckon) if you want to win Fogg’s bet.

80 Days iOS review

There’s yet more action to be found on the road, whether you’re riding a submersible train, soaring through the sky in an airship, or mounting a mechanical camel (ouch). Among other things, you might find yourself fending off bandits, smuggling spies, or delivering babies. Again, there’s a silly amount of stuff going on.

And that’s 80 Days in an incredibly concise nutshell. Had I not played Sorcery! (sorry to bring it up again, but comparisons are inevitable), I’d probably be declaring 80 Days the best thing since sliced Angry Birds.

Personally – personally – I was more won over by Sorcery! on account of the ability to rewind the action should you find yourself in game-ruining peril; the presence of a unique combat system (there’s no combat at all in 80 Days); and the grittier story.

Still, that’s a bit like watching True Detective and concluding that it’s not quite as good as The Sopranos. In 80 Days, we have what’s undoubtedly front-runner for 2014’s App Store Game of the Year. True story.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my first attempt resulted in an embarrassing 102-day slog (stupid explosions, sky pirates, four-day stint in Russian jail…), so I’ll be going straight back in for a second run – another sure-fire sign that we’re onto a winner.

80 Days; go play it.

Pros

  • 144 cities
  • 500,000 words
  • Various modes of transport

Cons

  • Uhm, it’s not Sorcery!
  • Maybe a little samey after a bunch of hours
  • A combat system (for fighting pirates etc) might be nice

Summary: 80 Days is a hugely fantastic and fantastically huge interactive story that demands to be played over and over. Ready to go again, Phil?

Developer: inkle

Price: £2.99 @ App Store

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

80 Days iOS review80 Days iOS review

Read more about: iOS

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