|Universal App:||Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)|
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GD Star RatingSorcery! 2,
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! is a four-part fantasy adventure based upon the 1980s gamebook series. Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone pretty much invented the choose-your-own-adventure RPG gamebook idea, known as Fighting Fantasy.
Set in the same universe as the Fighting Fantasy series (the world of Titan), Sorcery allows the reader to play each adventure individually and/or together as part of the complete story. As each adventure is sold as a separate app, this review will focus on part two of the story (The Cityport of Traps). If you’ve not yet played part one, be sure to read our review.
Just like in the first instalment of Sorcery, you start your adventure by selecting a male or female character. However, if you’ve played the first adventure, you can simply import your game save from Inkle’s cloud, which will allow you continue playing your character from where you left off.
In the previous chapter, you will have learned that the evil Archmage of Mampang Fortress has robbed your liege of the precious relic called the Crown of Kings. Having traversed the Shamutanti Hills, overcoming many ordeals along the way, you will have reached the outskirts of the city of Kharé, and this is where part two of the adventure begins.
Leaving the wastelands behind, you now enter the sprawling city of Kharé – a cesspit full of thieves and undesirables, and laden with deadly traps. Before long you’ll reminisce over the quaint villages and dark caves of part one with a certain fondness, as you trek through filthy streets and encounter vile characters. However, this all adds to the atmosphere, and you’ll need to explore every corner of the city to gain the knowledge you require to move on.
A new addition to the story is the mini-game called Swindlestones, which is similar to the ancient game of Liar’s Dice. Playing Swindlestones is a fun side attraction to the main event; even if you lose against an opponent, you can retry as often as you like. Each of you has a set of 4-sided dice which you roll, hidden behind your hands. You both then bid on the amount of times a specific value has been rolled, across all dice (e.g. 3 ones). On each subsequent turn, the bid increases. When either player thinks the other has bid too high (e.g. 3 fours), they can call, ending the round and revealing all dice. Whoever loses the wager forfeits a die, and the game ends when one player has lost all their dice.
Whilst there are fewer locations in this chapter, each one contains far more decisions and loads of fast-paced action, making this adventure longer and more exciting than the first one. What’s more, you’ll uncover secrets along the way which will help you solve the riddles, ultimately leading you out of the maze of Kharé.
Part two continues with the same theme and interface as part one, once again making the experience pleasurable and intuitive. As before, you drag your pewter hero from scene to scene, making decisions, engaging in combat and casting spells. The intricately weaved tapestry that works as a background map brings the story to life and feels like an essential part of the game, giving a rich, boardgame feel to the story.
As in the previous chapter, you can cast a multitude of spells from your spell book, assuming you have enough of the required resources (gold, stamina or magical items). The actual casting interface is elegant, constructed as a simple astrology task. Essentially, the spells you may cast depend upon the alignment of the stars at that given moment. As each spell is made up of three letters, you need to align each letter to its relevant position in order to cast it. Alas, if the stars are not aligned in your favour, you may not be able to cast the spell you wanted to. More often than not, I found I could usually cast a useful spell, even if it wasn’t the one I really wanted.
Having completed adventures one and two of Sorcery, I can’t wait for parts three and four (The Seven Serpents and The Crown of Kings, respectively). Unfortunately, at the time of writing, these last chapters have not yet been released, but are advertised as coming soon on the official website. As soon as they are released, we’ll devour them and give you our opinions, so watch this space.
9/10 With such an enthralling story to unravel, Sorcery provides an open-world experience better than many story-driven console games. With the inclusion of Swindlestones and multiple intriguing riddles, part two is even more challenging than the first part. Don’t hesitate to plunge head-first into this thrilling fantasy saga.