If you are old enough to remember, back in the 1980s kids didn't spend their school breaks updating their Facebook status on their mobile phones. We probably had video games at home, but we had to rely on other types of fun when we were out and about. In my case, my classmates would devour gamebooks from the school's library, mainly the translations of Choose Your Own Adventure. Who could tell me that thanks to the iPad I would remember those epic roleplaying sessions of my teenagehood? Tin Man Games are the creators of the Gamebook Adventures series for the iPhone and iPad. Just like with the original interactive gamebooks, you are the main character of the story, have to fight fearsome enemies and choose your own destiny.
The conversion of the format to a touchscreen device is enviable and works as you would expect. The book pages turn just like iBooks: you can play in portrait or landscape mode and different links will take you to the destination page - no need to flip through all the pages to get to 184 to continue. So far I have started reading the first two books and found the plot absorbing and well written.
The four titles in Gamebook Adventures have an RPG element where you create your own character and assign stats rolling dices. Unlike the old gamebooks, you won't be able to cheat, as the app manages all the points for you. Along with vitality, offense and defense points used for the battles, you also have fitness stats, which allow you to access certain passages of the book. You will need to roll a dice to see if you are fit enough to progress to certain areas. While most of the battles are quick, if you have to face two opponents, it will take a while. One of the good points I have to mention is that the rules are fairly simple and you can jump directly into the game on Classic or Novice mode to get used to the mechanics. However, once you are getting further in the story, remember to use the bookmarks. If you enter a battle and die, you will loose your progress.
The illustrations you find in the different chapters can be collected as achievements and will motivate you to come back to the book once you have finished it a couple of times. You can finish these sort of games fairly fast or stop and fight as many as creatures as possible. The fact that the apps are Universal makes them a perfect companion for nostalgic parents who want to entertain their children with something more educational on their iDevices than Angry Birds and social networks.
I can't help but feel a certain nostalgia for these four interactive books. Without noticing it, I got sucked into the first one over the Christmas holiday and went back to the previous pages and cheat reading different plots.
Tin Man Games has released four titles so far: An Assassin in Orlandes [iTunes Link], The Siege of Necromancer [iTunes Link], Slaves of Rema [iTunes Link] and Revenant Rising [iTunes Link], all following the same story written by S.P. Osborne and illustrated by Prikka Harvala. I won't spoil the story because is different every time you reader but I guarantee it is not too cheesy.
If you don't find the iBook Store attractive enough, interactive fantasy titles like these did the trick for me. They might have miraculous properties, as they got many of my friends reading! Whether you are a teen interested to try the genre or an adult wanting to bring back old memories, I am giving away one of the Gamebook Adventure titles for you to try. See instructions below.