The recent loss of my brother stopped all of my traditional gaming the past couple of weeks. As much as I needed and wanted a distraction, I couldn’t put my mind into doing much. Before that day, I was rolling along in WOD, my Warlock having reached level 98. I was holding down the fort on my farms in AA and had re-subscribed to EVE Online.
I’ve never been much of an iOS gamer given my preference for MMOs. Circumstances being what they are, and the fact that I’d treated myself to a new iPhone for Christmas, the larger screen encouraged me to try a few games when I couldn’t motivate myself do anything else.
I’ve always had an interest in interactive fiction but have only run into a couple on the PC that I liked. As luck would have it, I hit the mark on the very first try for iOS. SORCERY, immediately caught my attention because of the name and my fascination with magic. I wasn’t expecting very much so was pleasantly surprised.
In the style of choose your own adventure, your hero is sent on an important mission and the choices you make along the way impact the journey and the outcome. An important distinction in Sorcery versus other IF titles I’ve tried is the addition of choosing your path on the journey. The physical route like you did in MUDs. The road is forked, which way do you want to go? In all cases, the choice has consequences. Some are minor and do nothing more than flavor the adventure. Others are dire and have the potential to end you!
Luckily, all is not lost when you die. The game is saved at various checkpoints and you can “resurrect” yourself by re-starting at any of the checkpoints you’ve accumulated. This can be important as some of the choices that impact an encounter were MADE A LONG WAY BACK. I restarted the whole adventure twice when I couldn’t complete a pivotal encounter because of choices that were so far back starting over was the best option. And even then it wasn’t a complete repeat. I made different choices along the way, some of which exposed more content the next time around.
Unfortunately, there are some encounters you can’t avoid and if you can’t win, your story is essentially over. It wasn’t until I’d beaten the encounter that I realized it was the end boss, which accounted for the extreme difficulty. I had made a few too many “goodie two shoes” choices, leaving me unprepared and lacking the health needed to have a prayer at surviving the final boss. That was a bit frustrating and was the only time I felt annoyed at a mechanic in Sorcery.
Always about the Magic
I enjoyed the magic mechanic in the game. Your known spells are in a book that lists the incantation and how much stamina is lost by casting the spell. I liked out maneuvering enemies using spells instead of hack-n-slash. I would have liked more freedom of when I could use the magic since it was being balanced by stamina consumption. However, the game inserts a companion you can’t avoid taking with you that blocks your magical abilities. And trust me, I rewound to when I met this creature a few times trying to avoid him or ditch him early to no avail.
The end boss would have been more manageable with access to magic. I wouldn’t have needed to restart the game if I was allowed access to cast spells during the boss encounter. In truth, it felt like the game was cheating since there was no scenario where that companion who blocks your ability to use spells wouldn’t be present for that encounter. Other than that, I enjoyed the game very much and am likely to pick up the next chapter.