Version Reviewed: 1.4
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Fairgrounds are pretty creepy, right? I think we can all agree to that one. For those who don't, playing The Sinister Fairground will quickly demonstrate exactly why such places are creepy.
An adventure gamebook, The Sinister Fairground is a pretty involving experience. It takes a different path to the likes of Tin Man Games' offerings and veers nearer to the kind of stuff that Inkle has done recently. This is ably demonstrated through the map that gives players a choice of different directions as they negotiate the fairground. Players control a character who's trying to find their girlfriend, but instead finds plenty of danger. It's distinctly spooky at times.
Of course, choices are made the typical adventure gamebook way - involving reading plenty of text and taking a specific path. Combat and lucky rolls also play a part with a set of dice dictating how things fare. It's a simple combat system, enhanced by the addition of weaponry that can affect one's capabilities. Plenty of other items can be collected too, changing one's course as they play.
Most interesting of all are the string of riddles that must often be solved to progress. These require typing in the answer and can be quite tricky. It makes a change for a genre that's usually solely focused on storytelling and fighting it out with dice.
The Sinister Fairground is pretty unforgiving at times though, sticking to the traditional method of 'you make a few bad choices, it's game over'. Unlike other titles, there's no way of lowering the difficulty level or enjoying a free choice. Instead, it's a game that's going to take quite a few attempts to complete.
Fortunately, it's worth pursuing as it's an interesting tale and a new take on the conventional gamebook format. Don't be surprised if it makes one much more wary of fairgrounds in the future though!