Indistinguishable from magic.
It's a brave bunch of developers who'll willingly dive headlong into the nostalgia-ridden memories of gaming's primitive years, whether that's to breathe modern life into old gameplay mechanics, or often sloppily translate the experience between genres. But to take the tattered pages of that other area of 80s nerd-dom, the choose your own adventure book, and slap them onto something as gaudy as a 21st century touchscreen? It's sacrilege, surely.
Well, that's what you might worry about, but Steve Jackson's Sorcery! has clearly been given to a team of developers with more than a few fond memories of their own. This is still the core story, crisply presented with the rich fantasy intrigue of the original, as you assume the role of a single-minded warrior venturing into danger to retrieve the powerful Crown of Kings.
On a touchscreen, that means drawing lines across a map to draw your hero to his next destination - foul wastelands, taverns filled with the good and bad of the land, perilous caves and so on. It would have been easy to present the story itself as a static series of pages or - god help us - animated page-turns, but instead the story flows down the screen, with snippets of text blending between light sketches. The overall effect is to keep the story front and center, while enhancing that flow with modern technology, rather than allowing the latter to over-flavor the stew.
The adventure you embark on is a sprawling one that's packed full of twists and turns - and not just on the path you travel either. There are key points of the story that you'll arrive at one way or another, but there's a real sense of freedom in the interactions you make with the characters of the world - and potential bad decisions are everywhere. Fortunately, should you find yourself in someone's bad books, you can make use of the spell-casting system to create forcefields, fireballs and the like. It's another great use of technology to enhance, rather than undermine, the experience as you gently tilt the screen to spell out letters in the heavens.
Concessions to the modern crowd? Well, should you find yourself pummeled to death by a particularly unpleasant foe, restart opportunities are ample, meaning that the correct decision is always just over the next horizon, even if you have to retrace a few steps to get there. Combat is basic too, and you'll simply need to slide your character back and forth to switch between degrees of defensive or offensive combat postures.
This really is a lovely game though, even if the journey is all too brief when you consider the $4.99 price-tag. If you're concerned that this modern re-imagining might not do the original experience justice, cast those concerns aside. Technological progress has been weaved throughout the game to add another layer of magic to the experience - and you never know, it might just draw an entirely new generation towards this long-lost art form.Download Sorcery!
What's Hot:A hugely accessible re-imagining of a classic, where technology only enhances the fondly-remembered adventure.
What's Not:If it was a little more punishing, it would be a little more meaningful. A brief experience for the cost involved.