In a "good news/bad news" sort of situation, I always like starting with the good news first. Maybe it's just me, but it makes the bad news easier to stomach. So, try this on for size: The Fighting Fantasy game books were originally first published in 1982, starting with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and blossoming into a full-blown series of gamebooks. What's a gamebook? Well, imagine one of those choose your own adventure novels from when you were a kid (You do remember those, right?) except with more interactivity. Instead of simply turning to page 92 to to jump across a pit or turning to page 59 to go down the tunnel to the right, you need to roll actual dice to do a skill check to see if you can make it across the pit.

This adds a great element of randomness to things, and it feels more like you're playing the book instead of just making arbitrary decision along various branching paths. I like 'em a lot, and if you're a fan of fantasy novels I'd go as far as saying this whole series is a "must-have," especially considering at the current sale price of 99¢ you can buy the whole set for less than one dead tree version will run you.

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, $2.99 - Deep in the caverns beneath Firetop Mountain lies an untold wealth of treasure, guarded by a powerful Warlock – or so the rumor goes. Several adventurers like yourself have set off for Firetop Mountain in search of the Warlocks hoard. None has ever returned. Do you dare follow them?

Fighting Fantasy: Deathtrap Dungeon, $2.99 - Deep in the caverns beneath Firetop Mountain lies an untold wealth of treasure, guarded by a powerful Warlock – or so the rumor goes. Several adventurers like yourself have set off for Firetop Mountain in search of the Warlocks hoard. None has ever returned. Do you dare follow them?

Fighting Fantasy: Citadel of Chaos, $2.99 - The Citadel holds a dark and dangerous peril for anyone foolhardy enough to venture through its gruesome gates. And yet venture you must for your mission lies at the heart of the Citadel, with the dread sorcerer, Balthus Dire!

City of Thieves, $2.99 - Terror stalks the night as Zanbar Bone and his bloodthirsty Moon Dogs hold the prosperous town of Silverton to ransom. YOU are an adventurer and the merchants of Silverton turn to you in their hour of need.

Fighting Fantasy: Creature of Havoc, $2.99 - You begin this adventure not knowing where you are or who you are. All you know is that you are some kind of creature of instinct, understanding little. During the course of the adventure, it may be possible for you to begin to control your bestial nature, to find out more about yourself, and even to learn your destiny. But even if you know all this, success is by no means certain, for the traps and terrors of Trolltooth Pass are many ... Are you ready — to become the Creature of Havoc?

It doesn't matter what order you play them in, so just download and start with whatever sounds the most interesting.

Now, the bad news. Big Blue Bubble, the developers responsible for bringing these gamebooks to the App Store, are on the verge of having their licensing agreements expire. It doesn't sound like they're being renewed either, so once these are gone, they're gone. This also means there won't be any updates for any of them, so don't expect any Retina iPad enhancements, or tweaks/bug fixes if future iOS upgrades break the apps.

We've yet to hear when the licensing agreement actually expires, but needless to say, you should jump on these sooner rather than later if you want them.

  • Crunchewy

    I grabbed one (City of Thieves) to try it out. Reviews seem mixed (crashing?), but hopefully it works well for me.

  • Doug

    Which is the best? Opinions?

    • Doug


  • John Posey

    I was afraid of this. The other game for the Sorcery! series was on the app store too. I bought it and took it off my phone awhile back. I went back to redownload because I wanted to play it again and it was no longer on the app store. I was disappointed because I paid for it and now I can never get it again. I was hoping they would do the whole series of books.

    • Haliaeetus

      Actually you can get your app back. It is on your previous purchases list in the App Store. Unfortunately you can't search that list for pulled apps, but if you manually scroll through the list far back enough, you'll find it. If you have many apps it might take some determination though, so it depends on how badly you want that app back.

  • Rirath

    Thanks for the head's up.  I'll probably bite on at least one.  Any feedback on which, guys?

    Worth noting that a lot of these are available for the Kindle through Amazon at $3.99, with a lot of the automation features like dice and maps it seems.  I believe you have to own an actual Kindle however, which I do not.

    • drelbs

      If I were to recommend one, it'd be Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

      EDIT: Well crap, I didn't know about the Worldweaver Kindle stuff. Now that my dad has an iPad, maybe I can con him out of his Kindle Fire... 😉

      • Rirath

        Thanks for the suggestion - went for City of Thieves and Deathtrap Dungeon as they spoke to me a bit more than the others.  Warlock would probably be my next choice if I like those, and they're still around.

  • araczynski

    got em all a while back, if you like CYOA books, you can't go wrong with any of them.  

  • Cat Astrophy

    In choose your own adventure books you had a random chance of living or dying based on your decision. So in this game it's basically the same except I get a saving roll?

    • drelbs

      With the Fighting Fantasy books you have character statistics, inventory and combat in addition to the aforementioned skill checks.

  • jin choung

    whelp, that's one way to get me to spend $5 in one shot....

  • Gametrender

    I loved those books as a kid, and all the spin off books to like "Way of the Tiger" and the grittier ways involving Vampires and Ghouls and you as some sort of monster hunter-anybody remember the name of those?

  • Gavin Woods

    I have them all and got them all as they were released. I own all the real books as well. Loved playing these when I was a kid. Really disappointed to hear this news. I'd have loved to see them all released and HD versions as well.

  • Gavin Woods

    My favourite from the existing FF apps would be Deathtrap Dungeon. This was also released as a pretty decent PC game quite a few years back. Also Tin Man Games have released their own Gamebooks which are HD I think. They look great on the ipad at any rate.

    I also agree with John Posey re the released Sorcery Book. These were like FF but with Magic. I was looking forward to more of those being released.

  • Jacob Gehman

    I picked up Warlock of Firetop Mountain back when that originally released and enjoyed it, but never took the plunge to pick up the others.

    This news tipped me over and I've grabbed the other four. I've spent some time with each of them, and right now Creature of Havoc is really standing out to me--just the premise is fantastic, and looks like the execution is pretty good.