Sorcery! 3 out now for phones and tablets

Hey all!

Just wanted to stop by and say that inkle’s latest, Sorcery! 3, is now out on phones and tablets of the three main species.

This one might be interesting because, although it is a choice-based game, it’s built like a classic Zork / Mulldoon game – a world of “locations” you can navigate freely between, with puzzles to solve using found items (and some magic, hence the name). Locations have state-changes over time and through action, there are locked doors and keys, that kind of thing.

I’ve wittered before about how parser games can be viewed as “unrefined choice games” – where a parser-like design is improved by adding by a layer of “intelligent context” on top, which strips out pointless options and gives the the player a choice-based interface with enough agency but no redundancy. Sorcery! 3 is our first real stab at making that idea fly. (80 Days most definitely isn’t; being something else entirely, I think.)

The actual code/script for Sorcery! 3 is quite interesting: a lot of hubs in which a player can drill down on one object or another; or apply verbs under various conditions (have you just tried it? did it work? will it make any progress?) - but with the freedom to “drop” into a purely branching-narrative structure at any time – for conversations, say, or straight-forward “moving forward” sequences. The actual logic is occasionally a nightmare - as it is in most parser games too! – but I found in building it that being able to drop into a “boring” choice model was incredibly liberating. Including characters, for instance, becomes something of a pleasure rather than a chore - dialogue is actually easier to write than moving-boxes-around type scenarios.

Anyway, the initial results are, people seem to like it, and if you’re interested in any of the above, you might be interested in the game.


[ In the interests of not being too spammy, I’ve not included a link. ]

Already purchased! I’m anxious to try it out, both because I’m enjoying the story/game experience and because I want to see how these IF paradigms you’re writing about work out.

Weird question: how big is the game? Because I’m juggling apps in my iOS device. I definitely want to buy it and play it - but, ah, if you could tell me how much space it’ll take up? :slight_smile:

312mb, according to the App Store + 2mb or so for the save file, I guess.

Right-o. Cheers!

(I somehow accidently erased my savegames from sorcery 1 and 2, so I’ll be replaying them before getting to 3, but it’ll be a pleasure)

Congratulations, Jon!

Killed by a whirlwind on first try.


Rewind, and avoid. For the love of Gredd don’t start again from the beginning when you die…!

By the way Jon. Another gorgeous IF app. – Dave

Sounds interesting, but I haven’t played the previous two Sorcery! games; should I do that first?

Yes! Sorcery 1 is good, though short; some have theorized that it’s mainly meant to get you introduced to how this game series works. Sorcery 2 is just amazing, though. Early reports (see for example Pocket Tactics’ review at are that Sorcery 3 has raised the bar yet more — but you’ll get more out of it if you’ve played the predecessor games.

(For the record: I’ve bought Sorcery 3 but not yet started to play it.)

Hmmmm, is there stuff randomised at the beginning of the game?

No. My point is only; the game is designed to keep going forwards; so replaying from the start would be a bit duller. (Some people think they’re meant to.)

Normally when I see reviews like this for games on Steam, they end “12/10 would whirlwind again”, which seems appropriate here.

I actually hadn’t seen when you released these on Android, so I’ve just purchased the first one and plan to work through. Congrats on releasing!

I killed a serpent!

I’ve played the 2 first chapters on Android, and it’s very very great. The only complain I have is the fonts are really tiny (on a 7 inch tablet) and also on my 4.5 inch smartphone. A way to increase the fonts as a whole would provide a much better playing experience :slight_smile:

I think I killed three serpents but the game says I only killed two…

Doesn’t the serpent of despair count? Or did I only kill an illusion of it?

Also, it’s being an amazing experience so far. :slight_smile: At first I thought, oh crud, it’s tracking the time I actually spend exploring? And I have to eat every day? A timer and resource management? What if I go past a serpent without noticing, am I screwed?

…I should have had more faith in your excellent design skills. :slight_smile: Four (or five?) Days in, past the Forest, I have seen enough - and done enough - to know better. It’s a wonderful game and no mistake. I think I’ll actually be sad once part 4 gets released and we get no more of Sorcery!

EDIT - Another serpent down and I think I know where the next one is. Funny thing, the things that I dreaded most about this game at first at the things that make it exciting. :slight_smile: Excellent work.

EDIT 2 - Here’s an interesting thought… have you realised that the excellent rewinding system you’re using here, which brings a layer of strategy into the game, is a legacy from The Last Express? I don’t recall any other games that make such full use of rewinding. Not save/restore, not undo - but actually rewinding, as general strategy.

I love The Last Express, and would happily nick things from it for the rest of my career. Though I can’t say we were inspired by it in this case; we were actually basing it on the way people play and solve FF gamebooks – by holding their fingers in the pages, and switching between exploring forwards and sideways.

Glad you’re enjoying. Oh, and the Despair Snake is just a snake – not a true Serpent.


Whew. Pre-teen and teen me thought I was a big nasty cheater for doing that.

I probably was, but if everyone else did it, who cares!

Think I need a hint… where the heck is the Sun serpent?

Also, I’m traipsing back and forth now, and I’m finding some events don’t update properly. For instance,

I’d already defeated the water serpent when I doubled back and found myself promising to avenge someone by… er… killing it again?

EDIT - Nevermind, Google was my friend. My post was quite ironic, really, must have given you a laugh.

I can’t seem to go back into the place I need to go, though, which seems downright cruel. Do I need to rewind?

And, well, if the Sun Serpent is trapped, do I even need to kill it?

EDIT 2 - Again, nevermind. I weighted the pros and cons, and thought, well, I can rewind to just where I need and all I miss out on is exploration I can easily do again. :slight_smile: It was a bit of a blow, though, that it was so easy to overlook that serpent. Still, I don’t suppose…

…that overlooking the air serpent would have been any harder, so…