Sorcery! Review

Sorcery! Review

Mar 17, 2014

Sorcery! is an unabashedly classic homage to game books and D&D where story is king and vanqushing great evil is par for the course, Does it capture the magic?

Sorcery! is an RPG but it lacks any true free roaming, Instead it has a fantastic story, many branching paths and a huge selection of magic and ways to handle a situation. Venturing out to recover a sacred artifact of great power from the clutches of evil, the player runs into many varied situations from mysterious old ladies in cottages to capture by headhunters.

Screenshot_2014-03-15-04-34-44There are many ways to handle each, whenever through a strong sword arm or some smart use of magic. For example, a minor quest is digging a large cesspit in return for money. Rather than spending the whole night doing it, the player can simply cast the BIG spell which boosts their muscle size and get it done in a few minutes. Using spells of control on dumb enemies can do such varied tasks as avoid a fight or create a living ladder made out of snakes to escape a pit.

Combat is fun and intuitive as well. Countering the opponent’s moves generally lets the player strike them without being attacked. For example a reckless charge attack interrupts the lightest one, while middling attacks tend to stop heavy ones. A well written, detailed description describes what happens in the battle and often contains subtle hints as to what the enemy might be doing next. The super visceral description of the combat really makes it satisfying.

Screenshot_2014-03-15-04-32-43And indeed the writing in general is of a very high standard. Anyone who is a fan of the Fighting Fantasy books will feel right at home with Livingstone’s writing and will relish every amusing description or grisly fate dealt to them.

Sorcery!’s presentation echoes the books as well. With a handrawn, lightly coloured style and black and white illustrations it feels almost exactly like you’re playing an interactive gamebook. Battles likewise are very simple affairs, as sprites slide towards each other to deliver their attacks but it works very well in the context of gamebooks.

The sound is quite minimalist. A few sounds like footsteps and birdsong accentuate the solitude of traveling alone on the quest and some snatches of music help the game along.

The only downside of the game is its length; it only takes two or three hours to work your way through the game and while there is plenty of replay value up for grabs by going back and doing things a different way, it’s hard not to wish the game was a bit longer, such is the quality of the story and the fun of its choose your own adventure gameplay/ Part 2 should be arriving soon and this will hopefully be a bit longer.

Sorcery! is a very high quality game with a great plot, an excellent old school feel and captivating gameplay. If you’re a fan of Fighting Fantasy it’s a no brainier.