Developer: Thumbstar Games
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_1715Few games have the cult following and mythical status of Talisman. Easily accessible, imminently playable, and outrageously expandable, the original boardgame, introduced by Games Workshop in 1983, entranced a generation with its clever combination of traditional boardgame mechanics and D&D-styled theme.

Fast-forward to the present, and board gaming of all kinds is now experiencing a new life and an unusual upsurge due to the iPad. Is it any wonder, then, that Talisman has descended upon an unsuspecting public once again? This time, however, it has its limitations. This is Talisman: Prologue, and it’s not exactly the complete game by any stretch. Honestly, Talisman: Prologue is just a few steps beyond a tech demo.

IMG_1712Don’t look for multiplayer in any form or fashion here. Talisman: Prologue is strictly a single player affair. Rather than recreating the full interactive game experience, developer Thumbstar has opted for creating a single player adventure quest, with the player traveling around the board and completing various assigned missions. It’s ok, and it has elements that hearken to the original game, but in the end it only whets the appetite for the real deal.

Fortunately, since the gameplay is limited it’s a very good thing that Talisman:Prologue looks and feels great. The game board is rendered in 3D, and board spaces (which are notoriously crammed with information in the original game) are now easy to click and read. Everything from dice rolls to performing various in-game actions looks and feels authentic.

Which brings me back to my ‘tech demo’ comment a few paragraphs back. Yes, this is a stand-alone game, but I doubt it’s going to truly satisfy those who have been waiting to play the full game on their iPads. At best, it will remind older players of the basic Talisman gameplay mechanics and environments (and probably remind them of a few late-night gaming sessions in college as well), but that’s about all it will do. At the moment, Talisman: Prologue is a fun to look at and click through museum; gameplay is strictly minimalistic. The good news is that the developer is planning and developing a full implementation of the multiplayer game (hopefully with available add-on modules). If it looks as good and plays as smoothly as Prologue does, there will be many happy old-school gamers out there, and probably more than a few new converts to the way of the Talisman as well.

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