British game designer Steve Jackson is a cornerstone of the gaming world. He co-founded Games Workshop back in the '70s before co-creating the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series with Ian Livingstone in the early '80s. That might be enough for others to just call it a career and retire off into the sunset, but Jackson instead went on to co-found Lionhead Studios with Peter Molyneux in the '90s. Quite an accomplished fellow, that Jackson.

Tonight, Inkle Studios is releasing a digital iOS conversion of Jackson's Sorcery! gamebooks, which are a part of the Fighting Fantasy series. Not really being heavily into gamebooks myself, I've given Sorcery! about an hour of time so far and all I can say is that I'm incredibly impressed. The presentation, the flow, the visuals, and of course the writing in Sorcery! is nothing short of top-notch.

Sorcery! plays like a gamebook mixed with a board game. The actual chunks of text glide elegantly into view with the various options for you to choose presented at the bottom. As you make your choices, more of the story glides in with even more branches to choose from. In between the reading, you'll direct your character around a gorgeous 3D overworld map, again making choices on which path to take through the terrain.

The game does a great job at hinting towards what might await behind each choice you make, whether it's clueing you in on the demeanor of the intimidating stranger you meet in a tavern or what sort of perils (and possible rewards) await you if you choose a given path through the countryside. Being that I'm not exactly a gamebook aficionado, I've found Sorcery! completely approachable so far, and I'm hooked enough on my current adventure already that I can't wait to see it through.

There's plenty more to discuss about Sorcery!, like its battling and spellcasting systems which are equally as intuitive as the rest of the game has been so far. We'll continue to plug away at the game to bring you a more in-depth review in the near future, and you can search out more early impressions from players in our forums. My gut takeaway thus far though is that if you already enjoy gamebook adventures, or even if you're a newbie like me, Sorcery! should be a satisfying endeavor when it hits later tonight.

Sorcery! should hit the US App store tonight around 11pm EST, so if your interest is piqued then add it to your TouchArcade app [Free] Watch List and we'll send you a push notification when it's released.

International App Store Link: Sorcery!, $4.99 (Universal)

  • Bool Zero

    This just cements my decision further of grabbing this when it releases without looking back! It's just wonderful to see what used to be a childhood staple of many of us older folks seeing such a grand return and re-imagining in digital form by way of our devices!

    I can't seem to get enough of these gamebooks!

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  • John Casey Keyser

    This has the potential to be the big release tonight. Does it feel like a full-featured game, or more like a single player board game (I'm looking at you, Talisman on iOS!)? Midnight is already going to be full of quality titles. Hopefully this will be one of them.

    • drelbs

      This is an adaptation of a gamebook, which has inventory & combat, but mostly follows a linear story.

      If you want something like this, but more full fledged, check out Fabled Lands, which is more of a sandbox RPG.

  • fredfnord

    I wonder if they went through and corrected all of the serious errors in the series? There were dozens of places that it told you to turn to the wrong paragraph, several places where you could get into a loop (which should never be possible), and a few places where you had the perfect item to deal with a situation (and one that had clearly been designed for the situation) and were not allowed to use it.

    The fourth book in the series was really pretty awful, too. The first three, you could generally reason your way through most places, and the places where you couldn't, you could at least fight your way out. The last book was full of 'Oh, you made the most reasonable choice? YOU DIE!' moments, including a few 'Oh, you made the most reasonable choice fifteen minutes ago? We'll lead you on for a while and THEN kill you!'

  • Doctorossi

    Wow! This was my favorite gamebook series back in the era of paper. Tonight's starting to look expensive (in the best way).

  • monkeyrotica

    Not a fan of the books but, dammit, I want him to make an iOS version of The Fantasy Trip, Ogre, and G.E.V. Instant buy.

    • Bool Zero

      I would love to see the Grailquest and Freeway Warrior, among many others, come to iOS in digital form!

      • railgunjustice

        I thought Tin Man or someone had the license for Grail Quest.

    • morpheus

      That's a different Steve Jackson....the creator of this Sorcery game is from the UK, the creator of Steve Jackson Games (Ogre etc) is an American.

  • Youjinbo

    Shamutanti Hills Sorcery book used to be on the App Store but was taken off. I had the game but took it off my phone and switched macs. I went to go redownload and found out it was removed. I contacted the developer but no response. Glad to see it's coming back and looks like even better than before. Sad I have to buy it again....BUT it's worth it.

    • wreckratz

      I believe the rights changed hands to a new developer. I never got the last version but heard it was buggy (and obviously incomplete) - can't wait to play this version as I also had these books as a kid.

  • dalglir

    Was super stoked to see what looked like an ios version of Sorcery! on the AppStore however...

    Sorcery! is a set of four books that can be played through, one by one, with a single character.

    At the moment this app is only book 1 of 4 with the others to follow. Here is no hint as to whether these will be available via IAP, free updates or as separate apps.

    I, for one, will wait to find out before purchasing.

    • Biowhere

      This is just a guess but I think it's safe to assume each of the 4 books will be $4.99 each regardless of how they are available (separate apps or IAP)

      • dalglir

        I'm sure you're right but I hope it's done as an IAP (like The Walking Dead) rather than as separate apps.

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