Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes in Review – Choosing your own adventure, page by page!

Some time ago I reviewed Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain – a rendition of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure Book for the iDevice and was quite satisfied with it. Just recently Tin Man Games released a similar title in Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes, but it is completely original and developed exclusively for the iPhone. How does it match up against the series, written by Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone? It seems it is actually better! Feel free to discuss this review of Gamebook Adventures 1 in our forums.

*For the promo code giveaway, please refer to the comments area after the review for details (Closed).

Despite being a completely original game, Assassin in Orlandes follows all of the classic rules of the Choose Your Own Adventures genre. It chronicles the story of a young noblemen, accidentally becoming witness to a murder and receiving a ominous warning about the kidnapping of his girlfriend. He has no choice but to follow the trail to try and rescue her.

Assassin in Orlandes, unlike the more classic Fighting Fantasy series, focuses more on the story than the dungeon crawling/RPG elements. It spans the city, a mysterious crypt, some wilderness locations and finally the castle of the evil-doer. If it was a classic game rather than a virtual gamebook, I would call it more of an Action/Adventure (despite my hate of this term) than an RPG game. There aren’t that many battles and equipment, while being valuable is not a gamebreaker. At least the equipment, used in battles.

Speaking of battles, Assassin in Orlandes uses quite an original system. You and your opponent both throw dice for attack and defence. Then you compare only the highest dice value – if attack rolled higher than defence, you hit. The equipment only defines the number of dice each rolls. That means that even barehanded and stark naked with luck you can ultimately win the battle. The check rolls are not as forgiving, however, so having a high fitness roll when creating the character will go a long way towards making the game easier.

What irked me a bit while playing Assassin in Orlandes was the enormous amount of game-overs you’ll run in to. The game is very unforgiving and with no way to go back to fix the decision – apart from the 3 single-use bookmarks. You may easily miss an item, that turns out to be critical only at the last scene of the game, which means you’ll have to start over again. And while in a sense this does add to the replayability value, this also brings a lot of frustration associated with it.

The interface in Assassin in Orlandes is excellently done with a choice of fonts and page styles to suit any taste. The game automatically does all of the item collecting, saving you the hassle of nitpicking the icons on the page. The dice rolling works and looks great, and is controlled both by a tap on the screen and a shake of the iDevice. Since all of the dice respond to shaking, this allows some leeway and for a bit of cheating as you can try to reroll if some are not to your liking. There is also a quick roll mode which does away with the animation, though due to some strange bug the game sometimes doesn’t register the result and freezes.

An Assassin in Orlandes is an excellent game, adapting the mechanics of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks to the new era while preserving the spirit of the genre. It takes the focus away from combat and towards the story, truly allowing you to choose how it progresses. At the same time, the unforgiving gameplay may be a bit frustrating for the more casual player. If you haven’t tried the Choose Your Own Adventure genre, this may not be the best place to start, however the fans of the genre will appreciate the original story, excellent interface and the built-in achievements system.

With this I declare Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes Developer: Tin Man Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $4.99 App Size: 40.1 MB
  • Exclusively developed for the iPhone
  • Less focus on the combat, more on the story
  • Very nice interface
  • Achievements
  • Very unforgiving
  • Only 3 bookmarks with no flip-back pages
  • Occasional glitches with dice rolling


*For the promo code giveaway, please refer to the comments area below for details (Closed).

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):

Next ArticleMike V: Do or Die! In Review - Tricks and grinds do just fine!