I see little discussion or comment in this forum about Sorcery!, and of course I understand why. You need an iOS device to run it, it’s not free, and it’s not strictly speaking IF. The first one is a very real obstacle for many people, the second may make some people go “Meh, I can play Kerkerkruip free…”, the third might take it out of consideration from this forum altogether.
So, having just started to play, I’d like to take a moment to raise awareness of the game. Ingold has done a marvellous marketing job to be sure, and doesn’t need my help, but I though I might as well kick the ball because, well, haven’t we been on and on and on about bringing IF to a wider audience? That’s what Inkle is doing, and, true to Ingold’s form as shown in “A Colder Light”, the CYOA format (or, to be more precise, the Fighting Fantasy format) is designed in such as way as to appear choice-based IF, rather than CYOA.
It’s a bit of a nightmare for completionists such as myself, as many paths are mutually exclusive, but the game is extremely friendly. You are welcome to retry battles, and to undo to previous nodes. You have many options at any given time, multiplied manifold by a spell system that, like “Sorcerer” and unlike “Enchanter”, really makes you feel as though you have mastery of arcane forces and can change the world as you see fit, and as the stars dictate.
But what I appreciate most of all is the sheer narrative vale, and how close it is to the old Fighting Fantasy books. I used to have the almost entire collection, and this brings it all back. Design and prose are just the way I remember it, and nostalgia aside, this game uses the CYOA format to its fullest potential. I have seen great CYOA games, some that moved me, some that intrigued me, but if the best of those was a Mozart masterpiece for the piano, which only uses part of the instrument, then this game is a Liszt waltz, utilizing the intrument to its fullest capacity and then some.
Bravo, Inkle, first and foremost, for a great trip through the years. Second and secondmost, for expanding IF, making it popular again, reaching wider audiences who would otherwise not give Zarf’s apps on the iPhone a second glance (and still might not, because they might not realise the similarities, but one step at a time, they are PLAYING the thing). And finally for taking CYOA to a new level.
Also, kudos for the combat system. It forces the player to try and stay one step ahead of the enemy, watching him carefully, drawing one’s own conclusions and acting accordingly.