App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I imagine there are a good number of people out there who are like me when it comes to the Gamebook Adventures series: Not sure if it’s worth the risk. Somewhat uncertain of all the glowing recommendations in the App Store’s reviews. Anxious to dive in to some text-based adventuring but worried that it would amount to a waste of time or money. After finally making my way through the series' newest release, Gamebook Adventures 6:The Wizard from Tarnath Tor, I’m somewhat ashamed that I’ve waited so long to take the plunge. I'm also thankful that the stories don't have to be read in order.
Each Gamebook follows the same basic framework of simplistic character creation, dice-oriented combat and a complex choose-your-own adventure approach to storytelling. Veterans of the series won’t find anything new with this installment aside from the story, but since they're veterans they probably already knew that. This particular tale follows the player character as they attempt to recover a wizard’s relics from the forgotten city of Tarnath Tor and hopefully put a stop to the looming threat of a zombie-style apocalypse. Danger, excitement and gruesome death await, naturally.
As with any good story The Wizard from Tarnath Tor can be utterly absorbing, especially toward the end. There are plenty of branching paths and alternate outcomes to virtually every scenario, and not all of them result in a Game Over. In a mere handful of playthroughs I’ve had my soul sucked out by an evil spirit, become the savior of a goblyn tribe, volunteered to be an undead alchemist's test subject, been attacked by some sort of glass tiger-thing from an alternate dimension, exacted revenge on an old foe and saved the day. There’s an amazing amount of variety to be found within these virtual pages, with even more waiting to be discovered.
Unfortunately, once all of the encounters have been found and each ending earned, there’s not a whole lot left to do. With the addition of Game Center achievements some players are bound to spend hours trying to earn everything, but others may not have the fortitude to try out each and every possibility when making their choices. There’s also one fairly irritating problem involving dice rolls: For some reason the accelerometer settings are hyper-sensitive, so the slightest bump has a tendency to jostle the dice. Intentionally shaking things to attempt a re-roll is fine, but to get hurt or killed as a result of a botched roll because the subway train was rocking slightly is really frustrating. And because the combat can be very unforgiving, even on the Novice setting, this can be extremely problematic for commuters.
It's not likely to appeal to ADD-addled action-junkies, but Gamebook Adventures 6: The Wizard from Tarnath Tor is a more than worthwhile experience for adventure and RPG fans. Even on the easiest setting it'll probably take a few attempts to succeed, and after that it's bound to draw players back in for at least a few more games as they wonder, "What would have happened if..." As for myself the only real question is, "How much longer do I think I can hold out before buying the other five volumes?" The answer: Not very.