Game of Thrones Review

Game of Thrones Review

Mar 27, 2015

Telltale Games? Game of Thrones six-part game? Bring it on.

The game story picks up right before the infamous Red Wedding (and if you haven’t seen the gory spectacle, you might want to, if only to watch the interesting reaction videos that spawned on YouTube). The game focuses on the adventures of House Forrester, which most show fans may not recognize, as it’s a minor House with Northern allegiances. The decimation that occurs in the Red Wedding put House Forrester in a precarious situation that frames the gameplay.

In this game, we get to roam and alternate in the person of three characters. While the core Houses of the actua franchise are not the main ones here, we do get to enjoy cameos in action and voice. The narrative is fairly involved, and one might be forgiven for getting lost in the opening interactions. Thankfully, as the action starts, it gets busy enough. The game employ some Choose Your Own Adventure elements via the use of multiple choice dialogue boxes; picking any one choice affects upcoming action. It also incorporates a control mechanism that affects the game within the action; for example, swiping up can be the difference between raising a held shield or getting perforated by arrows. When such action symbols occur, one has to react quickly or suffer a (usually) painful ending.


It must be said, it isn’t a game for the faint of heart… or ears or eyes, for that matter. The language is raw in parts, and there is a lot of involuntary loss of body fluids of the red variety. The artwork pays direct ode to the Game of Thrones universe, and having a preexisting affinity for the show definitely helps with enjoyment of the game. The dark themes fit perfectly, and the way the game moves on just makes sense. It helps that mistakes are forgiven with the automatic checkpointing.

As noted, the game is a six-part series, with subsequent ones (3-6) on the way. The first gets one’s feet wet, and the rest are available via in-app purchases.

It is a fun game, and one that can probably be played more than once. The best part? one need not necessarily be a fan of the show to enjoy the game.

But yes, as we said… it helps.

80 Days Review

80 Days Review

Dec 23, 2014

Yes, there was a time handheld entertainment wasn’t a “thing.”

Back in those days, we didn’t have these handy gizmos that do so much. You wanna know what we did back in those prehistoric times? Well, we availed ourselves of decidedly non-electronic entertainment. Libraries were my favorite haunt; I loved the classics, and especially loved adventure careers like Jules Verne’s Around The World in 80 Days.

That well-loved tale is craftily re-imagined in Inkle’s new game 80 Days, which takes old and mishmashes it with new and then blends that union into the artistically futuristic.

The player takes on the persona of Phileas Fogg’s new valet Passepartout, who, at his employer’s bidding, has to accompany him on an epic journey across the globe. The beginning does sound sedate enough, but it quickly gets moving shortly after the credits quit rolling… right from the opening dialogue which gives us an inkling of what is to come.


The game uses cutscenes and dialogue to move the gameplay along. The artwork is bright and intriguing, with some interesting steampunk inventions making appearances every so often. The dialogue, as hinted at earlier, frames a “choose your own adventure” type of experience, as different paths are taken depending on the option selected; there are numerous points where one must select an option from a series of choices to proceed. The developer does an admirable job of making the adjustable narrative engaging, with clock speedups and such used to streamline the gameplay.

The commerce system is interesting, involving procuring useful tools, dealing with the banks and stuff like that. I felt that while this element does help tie the game overall, it does feel a bit contrived in segments.

All in all, if one is wont to give props to a developer for bringing a classic tale to handheld gameplay — and yes, one should — it is easy to use this game as a template. It plays easily, incorporates several elements and sucks one into unpredictable gameplay. I love the upfront pricing too, and feel fairly confident in saying its worth the gamble.

80 Days Launches on Google Play

80 Days Launches on Google Play

Dec 15, 2014

We’ve been keeping an eye on 80 Days, a fun, graphical treat set in Choose Your Own Adventure style, and we can say, with joy, that it is now available on Google Play.

The game comes from cross-platform development house Inkle, the crew behind Android games Sorcery! and Sorcery! 2.

Since we spoke about it last, we have been giving it a run via the review copy the developer provided us, and without giving away too much, we can say it is well worth a look. It takes cues from the Jules verne book, and adds some interesting steampunk elements to the traveling adventure.

The game costs $5; for folks who like upfront pricing, this will be welcome.

Keep an eye out for Android Rundown’s review, which will be going live soon.

Infinite Universe Review

Infinite Universe Review

Jul 30, 2013

There’s a sound reason behind the unpopularity of choose-your-own-adventure books. They require a lot of work on behalf of both the creator and the consumer, a lot of talent that could otherwise produce many common books, and in the end, they’re simply not that more exciting than the common ones. Of course, it doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to exist, or that they can’t be interesting in their own way.

Infinite Universe is a choose-your-own-adventure book that’s ever-so-slightly closer to a game than its paper counterparts, and a bit more challenging. The story is a complex sci-fi clutter that, after an hour of playing, still isn’t clear to me. It’s mostly a casual alien-filled action with impossible technologies and cross-planetary adventures, but there are bits of a more complex story, showing up here and there. Describing it would be useless anyway, as the events may differ, depending on the player’s choices. The writing stile is mostly alright, although it’s not that impressive. A particular problem I’ve had with it is the word “whilst” that sticks out on the pages like a Christmas tree in a mosque. Anyway, it didn’t blow me off my feet, but the book is sufficiently interesting and unusual, and definitely counts as a quality literature. The pages of text are often divided by pictures, and enriched with sounds that aren’t anything stunning, but serve well to immerse the player into the world.

Infinite Universe 2As for the gameplay part – it’s mostly absent. Apart from choosing what paths to take, there’s almost nothing to do to keep control of the situation. Combat is calculated from several parameters, with two of them being randomly chosen at the beginning: vitality and fitness. The rest is gained while playing the game. Although the gameplay is not hugely different to the paper RPG books, it’s still interesting to play. There are lots of different choices to make, and there are plenty of paths to choose. There are even three different difficulty levels, depending on whether you like hardcore action, or more interested in enjoying the book. All in all, Infinite Universe offers more than most of the non-digital book RPGs, but whether it’s enough to be interesting in the long run, is unclear to me.

In the end, I can’t say for sure, whether Infinite Universe is good, or simply alright – the book needs to be read from the beginning to the end to say that. I do know that it’s not bad, but it didn’t change my perception of choose-you-own-adventure books much. So, I would definitely recommend it to people, who are already familiar with, and enjoying the books like this one. As for the rest – it’s a very unusual and fresh experience, but bear in mind that it’s a lot closer to a book than to a game.

Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes Review

Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes Review

Apr 13, 2012

Tin Man Games’ Gamebook Adventures series has made its debut on Android, with the first chapter, An Assassin in Orlandes now available.

What is a gamebook? Well, it’s basically a choose-your-own-adventure novel except some choices are defined by dice rolls. There’s combat, where winning or losing leads to two different paths (losing usually results in death), and then there are Fitness checks, which means that the player must roll below their Fitness stat to pass the check. In the middle of text, this often means death. In battle, this means the difference between an improved dice result or a reduced one.

The story of the game has players controlling an adventurer who starts out in a tavern drowning away his sorrows of the woman who left him, while barely able to remember anything in his life. He stumbles outside after a night of imbibing in fine adult beverages, and witnesseses a man being murdered who winds up being the member of a powerful family in Orlandes. As he pursues the killer, he discovers that there’s a deep conspiracy about that he must try to uncover. So, the player’s decisions and actions determine where the story goes, and just who is behind all these happenings in the world of Orlandes.

The issue with An Assassin in Orlandes is that with CYOA stories, and I presume many gamebooks as well – fate can feel random at times. While this is part of the reward, figuring out which decisions lead down the correct paths, it can still be frustrating because it may be one decision many steps back that leads to failure down the road. It can be frustrating, but as the game is designed to be a throwback to these classic gamebooks, that may be part of the appeal for some players.

However, the game does a good job at letting players who are not familiar with gamebooks get into them, especially with the game’s Novice mode. It does take multiple plays to figure out which decisions should be made, in order to find that perfect play through the story. It’s a very different experience, and one that is actually quite cerebral.

Now, some of us would go through a CYOA book and fold a page corner to make sure that we didn’t make a bad decision. This game makes it a gameplay mechanic, as bookmarks. The game gives the player a limited number of bookmarks that can then be used to go back to a certain spot, in case a wrong decision is made or death occurs.

Love those CYOA books as a kid? An Assassin in Orlandes is well worth checking out to get into gamebooks. It’s not for those who want intense action, or can’t handle some reading and dice work, though!