Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in Review – The great-great-grandfather of Adventure/RPG has found its way to the “Jesus” phone

Back in the late seventies, when a computer was something out of a sci-fi movie and RPG was associated with pen-and-paper geeky games like Dungeons & Dragons a couple of British writers got together and started one of the most famous series of interactive gamebooks ever – Fighting Fantasy. These gamebooks allowed the reader to take part in the story that affected the course of it. And now the first one of the series – The Warlock of Firetop Mountain – has found its way to the iDevice.

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, co-founders of Games Workshop, have made a great leap in popularizing the genre of interactive gamebooks and made the series with over 60 volumes. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is one of the original seven authored by the masters themselves and is an exceptional representative of the series.

You are a hero and your goal is to defeat the evil warlock and get treasure. But this is quite unlike to RPG games most people are probably used to. For anyone unfamiliar with the genre I would strongly recommend to spend the time on going through the help section.

At the start of the game you roll your Skill (Attack), Stamina (Health) and Luck and choose a potion to help you along the way. The gaming process is broken down into pages, just like the original. On each page you get a description of the situation and one or more possible options on what to do next. Each option leads you to the next page. Sometimes you’ll encounter monsters triggering the combat sequence or various traps and other object requiring you to roll the dice against your stats.

The combat sequence is quite simple. Both you and the monster roll the dice and then add the skill modifier to it. Which one is higher – hits. After the initial roll you may choose to roll the dice against your luck modifier to double or halve the damage (depends on whether you hit or vice versa). Rinse and repeat until either one of you is dead. Be careful with using luck though since every roll against it decreases the stat by 1, even if it was unsuccessful. Along the way you may find items that can add other options to combat, raise stats or simply help you along the way. Also make sure to tap any positive stat modifiers on the page to apply them, since the game does it automatically only for negative ones.

The interface looks great, the graphics are excellent. I especially liked the page flipping animation. You can tap and hold any picture and marvel as it is zoomed and coloured in. The dice also look excellent and I liked that you can use the accelerometer to shake them. A couple things the devs could improve on, however, is the option to turn off or at last speed up the combat sequence animations when the dice score is added up and  to add the auto-hit (if the enemy’s combat roll ends up being less than your minimum possible roll). Also an automapping feature would be nice. While the help advises to draw a map on a piece of paper manually, since most of the time you’ll be playing the iDevice is on the go, it proves to be quite impossible.

Playing Fighting Fantasy on the iDevice is almost like playing the real live gamebook. I immediately felt the memories of myself as a kid with a book, a piece of paper and a couple of dice spending the rainy evenings at my grandma’s house. I think it’s a must try for anyone who missed the experience altogether as well as a source of nostalgia for ones who spent hours on the interactive gamebooks.

With this I declare Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Developer: Big Blue Bubble
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 19.5 MB
  • An excellent transition of the original
  • Great graphics
  • The interactive gamebook experience on the iDevice
  • Combat animations seem annoyingly slow after a while
  • No automap


TMA is a haven for RPG junkies – go ahead, we don’t hide the evidence. Also be sure to look at our App Store RPG compendium: The App Store’s Best RPG which compares some of the best games in the genre for the iDevice.

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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