I’ve always been an avid reader of any kind of book that contains at least three of the following elements: suspense, action, mystery, logic, or and extremely well written plot. That’s when I stumbled across the “Gamebook Adventures” series on the App Store. My interest was piqued when I found that not only did the gamebooks seem to contain all of the aforementioned elements, but it also allowed me to make my own choices, had a multitude of different endings, beautiful illustrations, and a unique combat system. I had my doubts of whether these gamebooks would really be the perfect blend of an RPG and a book, but I’m glad to say that none of my doubts were justified.
The iteration of the Gamebook Adventures series has its own unique plot, including stopping a necromancer from destroying the continent to escaping from a vicious gladiatorial arena back to your homeland or Orlandes. Each gamebook’s plot is fresh and exciting, and full of twists and turns. To keep the plot going, you just select what you want your character to do next. If you are unsure whether a decision is good or not, you can place one of your limited amount of bookmarks on that page and it will act as a save point you can come back to should you do something that is detrimental or leads to your demise. There are usually two to four options to choose from, and some actions your character can do (in the right context) include buying items, doing detective work, and hiding in the sewers. What an interesting aroma.
There are three difficulty levels: Novice, Bookworm, and Classic. Each of them has their own set amount of bookmarks and conditions regarding Health and Fitness, which are randomly determined before the game starts. Novice is the easiest, Bookworm a bit harder, and Classic is the way the game was meant to be played – with caution and quite a bit of luck. Needless to say, these three difficulty levels provide quite a bit of replay value. In addition to the difficulty levels, there a lot of achievements and art that you can unlock, which also adds to the gamebook’s replayability.
In each gamebook there are a multitude of endings, some of them happy, some of them sad, and quite a few of them ending with your death. Only one of these is the “Ultimate Ending,” which is somewhat akin to the “happily ever after” endings in fairy tales. The ultimate ending always fills me with a sense of accomplishment, and is extremely satisfying to attain.
The Gamebook Adventures series also has an interesting combat system system relies on randomized dice rolls. The number of dice you roll depends on your weapon and armor rating, and if you win the roll the total of all your dice is the amount of damage you do. You can also tip things in your favor by using your Fitness level. Fitness is also using in context in the gamebooks during dangerous events such as avoiding traps or escaping from guards.
Each of the gamebooks in the Gamebook Adventures series are great interactive, pick-your-own-path books. It’s hard to recommend any one of the current four, as they all have their own plot merits; however, if I had to pick the most enjoyable one it would probably be Gamebook Adventures 3: The Slaves of Rema, as it was the most suspenseful and action-packed of the four. Overall, all four gamebooks in this series are heartily recommended and worthwhile purchases if you are the least bit interested in books or an interesting new take on an RPG game.