Sorcery! – Spellbinding Storytelling on the iOS

The joy of a classic choose-your-own-adventure book comes to the iOS in this magical game from Steve Jackson.

Platform: iOS available for iPhone and iPad

Release Date: May 10th, 2013

Price: $4.99

Players: Single-Player

Reviewer: Elizabeth Brooke (NerdAtlas) steve_jacksons_sorcery_16

Sorcery! is not your typical game, especially on the iOS, due to its reliance on quality writing to drive the gameplay. This is a review of the first episode in the game series, The Shamuntanti Hills. In Sorucery! there are no physics engines or innovative touch mechanics here, just a journey from point A to B with a myriad of choices to determine how you get there. The journey is engaging and the concept is inspired, making it a definitive experience on the iOS platform.

Pros:

Sorcery! is a powerful example of how well crafted text can lead your imagination through a fascinating epic. The choices presented to you throughout the game are often influenced by even the smallest details of description, such as a person’s dress or the way the sun is setting. The game is shrewd with the possible outcomes from your choices, but I think this proves to be one of the game’s greatest strengths. It’s hard not to care when a game is serious enough to demand your attention with sacrifice and loss.

The design is simple but elegant. The world takes place across a gorgeous ink and watercolor map that looks like something straight out of a story book. Adventure options appear as you travel, helping guide your path and determining your version of the story.

bat combat

Combat is interesting, with minimal animation. You take your cues from the text scrolling behind the paper cut outs of the combatants. For example, if you read that an enemy bat swoops upwards, it would be wise to take a defensive position because there’s an impending attack. This style of combat fits the iOS platform exceptionally well.

Cons:

The game ends right as you get to the larger, overarching plot. I know there is  a second episode is in the works, but I was disappointed that it ended where it did. The second Sorcery! installment, Kharé: Cityport of Traps, will be released this summer.

Also, out of a spell inventory containing roughly 50 enchantments, only a handful are actually useful. I wish more of the options had been useful, it was a wasted opportunity.

The Verdict: 

In case it isn’t obvious with the discrepancy in length between the Pros and Cons sections – you should REALLY buy this game. If you love stories and if you are interested in video games as a story telling medium, Sorcery! is the perfect iOS game to buy. It’s well formulated and well executed and delivers a memorable and re-playable experience.

– E.B.

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