A few months ago, I had the pleasure of blasting through Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!, an interactive choose-your-own-adventure type offering, detailing our hero’s journey across the Shamutanti Hills.
I’ve just played through the second instalment, Kharé: Cityport of Traps, and I’m pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint. Sorcery! 2 is bigger and better than its predecessor in almost every way.
One of the many neat features of Sorcery! 2 is the ability to carry across your save game from the first chapter, which contains oodles of data pertaining to the unique choices you made.
But don’t fret if you’re behind; you can jump straight into the story knowing only that our unnamed protagonist is on a quest to reclaim the Crown of Kings. Simple. Having said that, you should absolutely play through the first instalment to get the full effect, though – again – it’s not vital.
In any case, Sorcery! 2 begins with the Hero of Analand outside the gates to the cityport of Kharé, “a magnet for ne’er-do-wells and thieves, ruled over by a Council of villains.” Doesn’t sound too appealing, huh? Unfortunately, there’s no way around it.
Looking at the map, it’s immediately apparent that there’s a lot going on in the Cityport of Traps. Indeed, Sorcery! 2 boasts more than double the content of the first instalment, including 300,000 words and 10,000 choices – all of which are remembered. The map also has little sub-sections – and a sewer, so it’s even bigger than it first appears.
One thing that struck me about Sorcery! 2 is how alive the world feels. Attending the Festival of Thieves, I missed out on the dancing bear as I was busy checking out the other stalls (the bear ended up “running amok” while I was otherwise engaged).
There was also reference to a “blood-curdling scream” behind me at one point; alas I didn’t have the option of turning back. Those are just two things I might want to change next time around.
And there will definitely be a next time. See, it’s possible to reach The North Gate and go on your merry way, leaving Kharé to its fate (without going into too much detail), but there’s actually a good ending that necessitates getting to the bottom of four riddles. I only nailed three, so I’ll be going back in ASAP.
Other great things about Sorcery! 2 include a spanking new four-sided dice game called Swindlestones, and the new 3D spell system. Incidentally, there seems to be loads more opportunities to cast spells this time around, whether you’re detecting traps or creating illusory mountains of gold for a bribe.
My only gripe is that the linear story system serves to hinder exploration, something that’s particularly irksome here as we’re trying to solve those four riddle thingies. I’m on the lookout for a silver weapon, and it could be anywhere on that map. Gah.
But, to be fair, you can rewind the story to investigate different branches, and a friendly ghost can teleport you from the North Gate up to three times before you get the bad ending.
And really, that’s one small gripe in an otherwise superb game.
- It’s huge
- Lots of opportunity for spells this time
- Load from Part 1 or start afresh
- Over 300,000 words and 10,000 choices
- Can’t explore as such; linear story system
Summary: Sorcery! 2 is bigger and better than its predecessor in almost every way – and it was superb. At this point, the thought of waiting till April 2014 for Sorcery! 3 makes we want to investigate cryostasis.
Price: £2.99 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.