Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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Children and adults the world over have been enjoying the “Choose Your Own Adventure,” series of books for over thirty years now. Though the publishers of the popular series were hardly the first to happen upon the unique brand of storytelling, numerous others have taken their own shot at reinventing the genre on iOS. The most recent attempt at this is the new interactive literature experience, Neighbourhood Necromancer. Will readers be able to bend the undead to their will, or will the open-ended experience lead to a watered down story?
Interactive literature is somewhat of an acquired taste. Not only does the reader have to be a fan of the story’s genre, but also be predisposed to being somewhat of a control freak. Even from the first page, Neighbourhood Necromancer manages to meld teenage angst, amusing side interactions, bumps in the night, and commanding the dead in a way that is not only organic, but provides the reader with compelling story choices along the way.
Assisting the story itself is the slightly “gamey” mechanic of monitoring the reader’s character stats. Based on the decisions made, statistics in the categories of control, energy, luck, corruption, and humanity will all be tracked. It is hard to determine if these percentages have any determination on how a story plays out, but if nothing else it is an interesting way to track how decisions made are interpreted within the context of the storyline.
The one thing that is sadly absent is any sort of ability to create a revertible saved state or bookmark, then venture down different roads just to see where alternate decisions might lead. It is understandable why this isn’t included, but it would have been interesting to see how alternate choices would play out without having to start all over from the beginning.
Though it could be said that Neighbourhood Necromancer is about as minimalist as they come, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Letting the story play out in the mind’s eye of the player harkens back to an age of entertainment that isn’t revisited near enough. Commanding corpses might not exactly be everyone’s cup of tea, but when the first three chapters of the story are free there is no hurt in at least giving it a spin, just to see what happens.