We've posted at length regarding all the other gamebooks available on the App Store, but they all (or at least the ones I've read) are set in fantasy worlds with orcs, dragons, wizards, and other mystical things. Star Breed [$2.99], as the title may hint, is a two part episodic story with a glorious sci-fi setting. Initially, it can be run on either the iPhone or iPad with pixel doubling, but a universal update is in the works that will make it look even better on the iPad.

The developers explain the premise of the story:

By the year 2387 AD, Mankind has spread across the stars leaving a destroyed Earth behind.

A now unified human government, the United Dominion of Man (UDM), spreads unchallenged, marshaled by its most powerful agency, its Armed Forces (UDAF). The UDAF spends billions each year on weapons and technology to accelerate this colonization of the stars. Man now reigns supreme over a thriving new world, one encompassing hundreds of star systems. His progress has gone unimpeded - he has yet to come upon intelligent alien life.

Man's civilization is at its peak in this era of expansion when the game begins. The player takes on the role of an Officer in the Armed Forces. When a human survey ship operating in fringe space goes silent while exploring an uninhabited planet, the results are far-reaching and threaten to alter the course of human history forever. The player is at the forefront of the horrific turn of events that follow. The choices he or she makes will decide the outcome of the story … and the fate of mankind.

Something that's really cool about Star Breed is that dice-based challenges have been replaced with skill-based mini-games. While this is somewhat of a departure from the random nature of traditional gamebooks, it's so much nicer to actually feel like you're controlling the outcome of things instead of slowly watching a set of dice allow a pair of goblins to bring your tale to an end. Also, since this gamebook was designed from the ground up to be played on the iPhone, the decisions you make can often result in subtle differences in the story that go beyond turning to two different pages depending on which path you want to take.

I've been amazed by just how much I've found myself enjoying gamebooks on both the iPhone and iPad. Be sure to check out some of the other ones we've posted about if this is the first time you've heard of gamebooks, otherwise, Star Breed - Episode 1 is a worthy download for any fan of interactive fiction.

  • EastsideStompers

    I like the sound of this. A twist/evolution on the usual dice system sounds fun. So, is this the definitive Gamebook (theme aside) on the iDevice at the moment then?

  • http://twitter.com/mateofalcone Matthew G. Woodard

    Thanks for this article, I grabbed it. The shift to a sci-fi theme is great. But how they handle the challenges is what sells it for me. How they are handling story interaction feels perfect on my iPad.

    I own most of the Fighting Fantasy series in their print form - a collection I built up long ago. I've bought a couple of the iOS versions of the books, but I find the (admittedly faithful) reproduction of the dice-based system to be off-putting. I don't mind seeing dice roll in Monopoly, but I've found that the dice systems in these other titles make them feel antiquated - enough so that I've yet to put any real time into any of them.

    I've had Star Breed installed for two hours now, and I've stopped long enough to walk the dog and write this comment. It's an engaging experience, and I recommend everyone check it out.

  • Joel

    I like the look of this, but it is a bit pricey. I'm not saying $4(AUD) is a lot of money... I just wonder if the pricing could be more competitive :)