One sign that you’re getting older is when things you remember from your childhood start having their 30th anniversaries. Such is the case for me and the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. Granted I was only 10 when the first one debuted, but you get my drift. In this year that marks the third decade of the series’ existence the man himself, Ian Livingstone, has penned a new entry called Blood of the Zombies. Thanks to Tin Man Games we can enjoy this milestone adventure on our iOS devices, and enjoy is being quite conservative. I’d say this is probably one of the best electronic gamebook adventures yet.
I first tasted of the intrigue that Phosphor Games could produce as I wandered the creepy halls of Dark Meadow. It had its issues, but overall it was a captivating game with wild creatures and a unique control scheme. That was, of course, until I played Infinity Blade and realized that I had suffered Déjà Vu in reverse. Now Phosphor Games has released Horn, and while the fantasy theme is reminiscent of Infinity Blade, it actually has a lot more to it then either of the aforementioned games in terms of things to do besides combat. At first I was a bit skeptical about it just because I was afraid it would be a clone of the Chair Entertainment Group’s franchise, but every time I load up Horn I manage to get lost in its mystery and grandeur.
I remember fondly spending a lot of time with adventure games back in the 80s and early 90s when the likes of Sierra Online and LucasArts reigned supreme. TellTale Games has done a good job of recapturing that magic, as has Bulkypix with their recent release of Yesterday. Now you can add Daedalic Entertainment to that list with Edna & Harvey: The Breakout. This adventure game about a young lady and her bunny has humor to rival the best Sam & Max installment, artwork that is quite delightful and some great voice acting. There is plenty of game play as well, which oddly enough might be its biggest detractor – there’s almost too much to do. Still, this is one nuthouse I don’t mind visiting.
I think few franchises have ever captured the imagination of the public like the famous Jurassic Park trilogy by Steven Spielberg. Books, toys, even theme parks – the world has seen it all. And even a couple of video-games, though they weren’t really worth mentioning. Until now that is! Telltale has struck again, taking an age-old intellectual property and twisting it in new and interesting ways. As a serialized interactive movie adventure none-the-less.
One of the staples of my game playing diet growing up was the adventure game, whether it entailed a text only affair like Zork or a sprawling 16 color extravaganza such as King’s Quest. Sadly, it seems as technology has gotten better the gamers’ taste for epic narratives and thoughtful puzzle solving has diminished, or so the folks in charge would have you believe. Thankfully the mobile renaissance has rekindled the spark for puzzle games, and amazingly enough it seems even for the full fledged adventure game. One of my favorite original IPs in this genre where iOS devices are concerned has always been The Secret of Grisly Manor, and after playing through its spiritual sequel – The Lost City – I can’t wait to see what this developer offers up next.
In the beginning it seemed like most of the adventure games popping up on the App Store were ports, but now we’re seeing more and more original IP make its way to the iOS platform. About To Blow Up Part 1 is one such game, and it’s clear the developers have a heart for the genre they’ve embraced. The game is quirky, interesting and above all fun. Unfortunately, it’s also a tad on the short side. Thankfully it leaves you wanting more in a good way.
These days it seems like when you visit a web site dedicated to “adventure” games they’re talking about the latest hidden object game from Big Fish or the newest FPS from whomever. When I was growing up, however, adventure games were a lot more special. They were about stories and talking to interesting characters. There were interesting settings, and several sometimes mind boggling puzzles. It’s clear that the developers of Yesterday grew up in that same era, or at least have done their research. I also thank BulkyPix for helping bring this tale to my iPad screen.
Many gamers, myself included, might liken The Act to a modern day Laser Disc epic, and at first glance that seems to be a fair assessment. For better and for worse that is not really the case, however. Aside from the visual aspect it doesn’t play like any laser disc game I’ve ever tried, and it is far from epic. The kicker is that it was actually a great experience. Unfortunately, I was a bit more than surprised when it was suddenly over. Not that I didn’t see it coming, but I just couldn’t believe how soon it came.
There’s an old adage that says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Apparently the developers of Letters From Nowhere took that to heart, because the sequel feels identical mechanically to the first game. Thankfully that’s not a bad thing at all, as I have become just as engrossed in this one as I was with its predecessor. Since this is a sequel I will just highlight the finer points, but I suggest checking out my review of the original Letters From Nowhere, because everything pretty much still applies.
In January of last year a unique new puzzle game called Cardboard Castle hit the App Store. If I were to quickly summarize Valentin – The Valiant Viking I’d say it was a “spiritual successor” to Cardboard Castle, even though it’s not by the same developers. The game has a similar knack for silly solutions to thoughtful puzzles and the visuals were clearly inspired. Still, Valentin does an excellent job of standing on its own two feet, and it throws a wrinkle or two into the mix to make sure it is a completely different game.