Developer: Visual Baker
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There’s been quite a resurgence in interest in the humble adventure game book, thanks to the work of Tin Man Games and many others. The Choose Your Own Adventure books from Edward Packard did wonders for encouraging kids to read more upon first release in the 1970s and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and many children of that time have fond memories of such titles. So, it makes sense to see the release of one such book onto the iPad. Visual Baker, through a Kickstarter campaign, has managed to turn that into reality with Underground Kingdom.

More of an interactive book than game, Underground Kingdom follows the exploits of the player as they explore a strange new world, and discover bizarre new creatures, while taking decisions for themselves. 23 different endings can be unveiled throughout the tale, and it’s a fun quest to find them all, as well as see the best conclusion. Primarily, players read through the storyline before taking a decision every few pages that can take them down a different route. Some of these choices may lead to an extension of the story, while some lead to an abrupt conclusion as the player is trapped in some unfortunate way.

It’s all done in an interesting and compelling fashion. Players won’t have to feel frustrated by the need to re-read passages, as they can use an interactive map to return to an earlier point to choose a different route. It’s attractively laid out and very simple to negotiate. A similarly attractive interface is provided for the book part of the app, with numerous animations and colorful drawings adding to the intriguing underground world.

For fans of the series, it’ll be a delightful walk down memory lane, but it’s more than that. It’s a genuinely interesting story boosted by its interactive components. This isn’t a title for adrenaline junkies, but Underground Kingdom is ideal for adventure fans. I’m hopeful to see future titles from Choose Your Own Adventure covered on the App Store.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Books, Reviews

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