Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer in Review – This could go wrong in so many ways…

The adaptation of the Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook genre to the iDevice had truly exploded earlier this year, with the release of both the tried and tested classic Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (TMA Review) by Steve Jackson and an original Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes (TMA Review) written exclusively for the iDevice by Tin Man Games. The former was not a big surprise in terms of content, being a port of original paper gamebook. The latter, however, turned out to be truly a bold re-imagination of the genre for the platform, with some interesting design decisions. And it seems this bold step has only been the first one with the long awaited release of Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer.

Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer continues in the footsteps of its predecessor and is a classic Choose Your Own Adventure interactive gamebook. The story is in no way connected with the first game; in Siege, readers are thrown in the midst of a goblyn attack that leads to some unforeseen events. An evil Necromancer is on a quest of raising an undead army of his own using the ancient staff crowned by 4 rubies. Will you foil his plans or will he succeed?

The mechanics remain unchanged from the original as well. For those who are unfamiliar with them, I will reiterate – You are presented with a description of a situation and have to decide on the course you wish to take. Depending on your choice you will follow the story to a different page. From time to time you’ll be required to take a roll against your fitness stat or face an enemy in combat. Combat is quite simple and is designed so that with luck you can overcome even the most powerful opponent, regardless of your equipment. Both sides throw dice and then compare. If the attacking side has the at least on die with a number higher than the highest opposing side’s die, then it is considered a hit. Rinse repeat.

Unfortunately, with the pros of the original, The Siege of the Necromancer has inherited some of the cons as well. While it may be considered a design decision you can still miss a crucial items or piece of information quite early in the game with no chance to make up for it later on. Factor in only 3 save slots (bookmarks) available and no backtracking allowed, you are left with a gamebook for the patient player, rather than the more casual crowd that is the majority of the iDevice users.

The graphics are simply excellent, with selectable fonts and backgrounds available. The quality of the design is such that it’s easy to forget you’re holding a mere iPhone in your hands and not a real-live book. Also left are the achievements which try to make the frustration of replaying the game from the beginning just a little more bearable.

So what’s left in the can after we dissect Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer? The game is a true sequel to the original with all of its pros and cons. The superly written story, perfect combat balance and the solid overall design will only be a gratifying experience for a truly patient gamer, one not averse to replaying the story over and over again to find the path through the game for a successful finish. And while I could forgive this in the original, I feel the developers ought to have put in some kind of an “easy” mode that would broaden the target audience to include the casual players as well.

With this I declare Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the NecromancerDeveloper: Tin Man Games
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$4.99App Size:55.41MB
  • Deep and involving story
  • Excellently balanced combat mechanics
  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Too unforgiving for the average gamer
  • 3 save slots may not be enough for some

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