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 â€“ 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!