Price: Free ($9.99 to unlock all games)
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Once, during the increasingly distant days of my childhood, the best form of true adventure gaming was through interactive fiction or text adventures. These games offered no visual pictures, instead providing players with plenty of descriptive text to give them an idea of what was going on around them. Similarly, action was initiated by typing in instructions rather than moving around with a joystick. Infocom was one of the big names of this era and, now, iOS owners get to enjoy over 20 of their best titles through Lost Treasures of Infocom.
Bundling the original Zork game (a name familiar to fans of The Big Bang Theory, given its many references) for free, 26 other titles are available for the price of an in-app purchase or two. There's something for everyone too, with a wide range of genres catered for here, from horror to sex-farce (yes, really!). As Zork demonstrates, however, gameplay is similar throughout each title.
Arguably, the forerunner to the point and click adventure, the focus is heavily on understanding the environment around oneself and then interacting with it appropriately, in order to move onto the next area. It works well on the iOS screen, too. An on-screen keyboard pops up when the player wants to interact with the game. Autocomplete ensures that this isn't as tedious as it sounds, though, and makes things much quicker. Shortcut buttons can also be set up, and there's an on-screen compass for further ease.
It's this attention to detail that makes Lost Treasures of Infocom a cut above the rest and more than just a retro collection. It's a tribute to the days of Infocom with a whole section devoted to the 'feelies' of the games in the 1980s, offering a place to read manuals and any other bits and pieces that came in the original box once upon a time. Invisiclues offer a style of hint book, offering advice on what to do next. It's lovely to see, although I'd have appreciated being able to print some of the pieces out for easier reference.
Some classics are missing from this collection, most notably The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but license issues are to blame here rather than anything more sinister. Lost Treasures of Infocom is a delightful tribute to a fascinating time of gaming history. More impressively, the games still maintain an ageless quality to them.