Gamebook RPG thriller Narborion Saga has just arrived for Android device owners.
It features Choose Your Own Adventure gameplay, and co-written by two novelists, Francis Hora and Tom Pollack.
Narborion Saga is an epic fantasy story that writes itself as you play. Written by award winning novelist Francis Hora and Dr Tom Pollak, a professional novelist and former editor of Dragon, the popular Dungeonâ€™s and Dragonâ€™s role playing game magazine. Narborion Saga aims to immerse readers into the world of an elaborate RPG fantasy, in the first of several stories planned in the Narborion Saga. Readers will rewrite the fate of the storyâ€™s hero through dynamic elements when the reader rolls virtual dice to decide the outcome of the story.
It looks to be quite the interesting game; we look forward to checking it out.
Appointment With F.E.A.R casts the player as a hero with powers of their choosing out to stop an evil meeting of the minds as the criminal organization known as F.E.A.R meet in three days to hatch an evil plot to take over the world.
Players begin by picking their powers. What powers they have affects the story great deal. They may be able to fire energy blast from their hands or simply be a Batman like gadget genius with no actual superpowers besides being clever, among others.
A few of these feel a bit half-baked though. The engineer type doesnâ€™t really get enough chances to use his gadgets and the mind reader doesnâ€™t get to really read minds, more just use their physic skills to hurl objects at enemies and so on.
After creating their character the player embarks on a long, interesting adventure in Titan City. Picking the right way to react to events, what to prioritize and the correct dialogue responses to uncover clues are essential to success. The game has a strict time limit of the three days until the meeting. If the player hasnâ€™t found clues as to where the F.E.A.R meeting is by then the game is lost. There are many red herrings and wastes of the time player can fall foul of and sometimes the most sensible choices may not be the right ones.
Appointment With F.E.A.R uses a similar battle system to other Fighting Fantasy books, but the mechanics are quite different. During combat the player can pick between easy, normal and hard to land attacks which do increasing amounts of damage. The chances of landing an attack are random, just leak the dice rolls in the gamebooks of yore, but these dice rolls are hidden from the player.
Finishing combat quickly is often required to get the best outcome of a situation, so unleashing risky attacks is sometimes important. The game doesnâ€™t have too many battles however compared to other FF books. It tends to be more dialogue based.
Appointment With F.E.A.R is an enjoyable story and brain power is required to make headway though the game. It is also packed with humor, like the ability to ignore a crime scene in order to purchase a custard tart or finishing coffee before checking out in progress crimes.
The game has some annoying glitches however. More than once I had an issue with the game simply blanking out when I tried to start it or text becoming black on a black background and being impossible to read. Both times this could only be fixed by reinstalling the game which is not an ideal solution.
Appointment With F.E.A.R doesnâ€™t read much like a Fighting Fantasy story. While an enjoyable read with plenty of silly dialogue like any campy superhero story, it is a complete departure from Livingstoneâ€™s earlier books and this may not sit well with some players. Hero names are very silly as well. I laughed when a suggested name for my heroic energy blast firing heroine was Velcro Pants.
Appointment With F.E.A.R tells a good, funny story and is an enjoyable game. While it may be a little frustrating sometimes working out where to go and what to do the general air of ridiculousness and fun really make it an inviting game.
Mecha Ace is a new gamebook from the boffins at Choice of Games, a company famous for their excellent gamebooks.
Mecha Ace casts the player as an ace combat armature pilot taking part in a galactic scale rebellion against earth. Earth has been mistreating its colonies as of late and this animosity has finally blossomed into an all-out war with the colonies attacking their old homeworld. As the leader of a squad of six 60 ton combat machines, what happens next is the playerâ€™s choice.
The choice in Mecha Ace starts off with background. The hero can be a unhinged killer, a noble hero or somewhere in between. They can focus on gunnery skills, melee or just leadership. Throughout the adventure there are tons of choices which may or may not get your squad killed. A lot of these play into the playerâ€™s stats which can be boosted or lost due to choices made in the story.
Say for example the player may have to ambush an enemy squad in the cave. Depending on how fast the player got there (in itself a moral choice) the enemy may be set up already. There is also another armature the player can control. The choices are to go in guns blazing, lure the enemy into an ambush or remotely control the other mech. Remotely controlling the mech can either have it shoot at enemies or take out the main support pillar in the complex, killing most of the enemies but also causing the civilian town above to plunge into the ground in a catastrophic sinkhole like event. Of course this will likely fail unless the player is an exceptionally good pilot and marksman. Which is the better choice? Only the player decides.
Mecha Ace is written extremely well. The brutality of war and the uniqueness of people are portrayed extremely well and small touches like descriptions of body language and details of massive starships exploding really help illustrate the story in the playerâ€™s eyes. The story changes completely due to player choice and the inner monologue describing why the player character feels the way they do is always spot on.
And indeed, the plot itself is excellent. Full of twists and genuine suspense, Mecha Ace is a gripping tale until the end. Its believable characters and surprises really make it captivating reading. The way it personally involves the reader every step of the way makes it impossible to put down until the book is finished.
A lot of replay value is gained by allowing the player to change the gender of everyone in the story. This allows them to romance different people or simply be treated differently. And of course changes to the playerâ€™s skills, or just different choices completely change the story and what can and cannot be done.
Mecha Ace is a fantastic story wrapped around a robust gamebook format that really affects the plot and is a must read for sci-fi fans or fans of gamebooks.
For an 80s kid like me, gamebooks were worth way more than their weight in gold… and diamonds. In a world not yet entertained by the Real Housewives shows or helped on by Wii Tennis, a youngster’s life could be quite dreary; a good Choose Your Own Adventure quest helped to bridge the interminable lull between Summertime tag and kickball games.
Joe Dever is a venerable name in the CYOA community, and his Lone Wolf series is a fine example of the reason why the adjustable fantasy nature of this genre of games is so popular. The continued digitization of Lone Wolf is the next episode.
The visual segues set the tone. The artwork in the “book” prologue invokes the look and feel of massive story books of old, with weathered, beautifully stark scenes and an appropriately foreboding narration voice. The backgrounds are pretty sharp. The animations work, and the color is really nice.
The protagonist Lone Wolf is the last of a special group of warrior monks known as Kai that survived decimation by their enemies, the evil Darklords. The game follows the adventure of Lone Wolf, who is on a quest for vengeance. The game action starts with an elaborate system that allows for the selection of attributes, weapons and other helpers. The flow from the story to the action sequences are superb, and almost worth the price of admission. Choosing a path is easy, and for the most part, I found a lot of the flow to be logical within Dever canon.
The actions scenes are fun too, and somewhat surprising. At various points, enemies present themselves, and the book moves to a “live” action battle sequence, with Lone Wolf facing down his otherworldly opponents. in this, it incorporates some turn-based RPG elements. Battles involve attacks, defensive moves and depleting the enemy life bars before the same could done to Lone Wolf
In some places, the game does feel a bit repetitive, especially the fight scenes. Shamefully, the stories had a bigger draw for me. The action scenes feel a bit formulaic, even if calling up a wolf to inflict damage is awesome.
As far as gamebooks go, it’s hard not to put this one at the top of the pile, and also hard not to wish for more. It isn’t the cheapest game out there, but this just might the game to bring one home, or build a whole new one.