Review: Sorcery! The Start of an Amazing Journey

For those of you born well after the 80s or who happened to not have giant geeks for parents, (I did. There is nothing wrong with it.) I'm going to take a minute to introduce you to Steve Jackson's Sorcery! tetralogy.

Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? Do you remember Choose your Own Adventure books? If not, you should totally go find some after you play this game. They were a style of almost interactive novel that presented situational conundrums every few pages. These problems could be solved via multiple choice answers and your actions would lead to the character's ultimate victory or demise. Got it? Sweet. Moving on.

Gamebooks, the genre of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series, are written in the reader directed style of a Choose Your Own Adventure novella, but gamebooks take that concept a few levels deeper. A gamebook will have most of the qualities of an RPG- you will collect items, have weapons, lose and gain health, cast spells and defeat enemies- all from the comfort of a book.

Inkle, the brave souls who ported the series to mobile, has done an incredible job of making the story come to life, while still keeping all of that old fashioned reading that everybody is positive that no one does anymore.

The digital gamebooks are $4.99 a piece (way cheaper than a physical copy of the same titles) and they are completely premium- no in-app purchases or ads.

The story focuses around a central (but nameless) character that can be either male or female. This character is a combination swordfighter and sorcerer, who is on a quest to restore balance to the evil and tortured Baklands by retrieving the crown of power that was stolen from your homeland.

Players can complete the main storyline as many times as their tiny hearts desire. Successful completion of the entire first book will impart a unique save code that can be inputted on any device across all platforms to continue on with the same character on Parts 2- (eventually) 4.

Part One is, admittedly, short. The entire story can be completed from start to finish in an hour or two. The first story functions as something of an introduction to the series and each subsequent part gets a good bit longer and a lot more involved. The first book will offer in depth discussions about sword fighting and spellcasting, as well as the chance to pick up a few items that won't be available in any of the other titles. The first book is the first leg of a long and dangerous journey.

So, here is my experience with the series: I read the gamebooks as a teenager who was more into Mario than Zelda. I remembered enjoying the story, but I didn't want to be bothered with keeping notes while reading a book that wasn't for a grade. I played through the first Sorcery! app when it came out a few years ago, skipped the second and then tried to jump in with the third. I was pretty impressed by the changes, both subtle and overt that the developers worked into the interface. So impressed that I went back and played through all three titles back to back to back.

I love the series. I wholeheartedly recommend curling up with a cup of tea, an iPad and a few hours for a gaming experience that definitely raises the bar, not only on similar gamebook apps but on the quality of mobile RPGs as a whole.

(Spoiler Alert: I'm giving all of them 5 stars)
5.0 / 5.0
review by CheerfulStar (Mallary) | May 10th 2015

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