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.