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80 Days (iOs) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: iOs
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Final Score
8.0
8/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


An interesting blend of game and story that puts the power into the player's hands.

Not so much?


There is a decent amount of downtime to the game.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Around the world in…you guessed it – 80 days (give or take). As you may have guessed from the name, 80 Days is a play on the classic tale Around the World In Eighty Days. Playing out as an interactive fiction story, it’s half game, half story, and all around unique. You play as Passepartout, […]

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Posted August 12, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Around the world in…you guessed it – 80 days (give or take).
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As you may have guessed from the name, 80 Days is a play on the classic tale Around the World In Eighty Days. Playing out as an interactive fiction story, it’s half game, half story, and all around unique. You play as Passepartout, Phileas Fogg’s valet. After Fogg has made his iconic wager to circumnavigate the world in just eighty days, it is you who is tasked with making the magic happen. From packing your limited bags efficiently, to plotting out the most efficient route, to making the most of your funds, you are in charge of it all – and you need to keep Fogg well kept and happy too.

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If this is your first foray into interactive fiction, you’ll likely find the gameplay to be quite different from what you are used to, with the emphasis solidly on the text that tells your story. Based on a classic or not, you really do shape the story in 80 Days (which makes for quite a bit of replay value, as each decision you make then alters the course of the story later on).  You’ll pack your bags to go, keeping in mind that you have limited room. The items you pack may affect Fogg’s satisfaction with you (for instance, packing the riding goggles will make a car ride much more bearable for your pampered boss). You can’t just pack everything though, as you do have limited space – additional luggage can be purchased, but it will cost you both initially and in “luggage fees” down the road. As your funds are limited as well, you’ll also want to save some space to buy items at the market and then sell them for a profit in other locations. There’s a lot of strategy involved in finding the right mix of comfort items and sellable items, making for some interesting decisions.

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The luggage isn’t the only thing you are in charge of. Despite Fogg being the one to both make the initial bet and fund the expedition, it is you who will plot the course you’ll take around the world. This isn’t a simple task, as you aren’t dealing with modern transportation times. Whether you’re traveling by car, boat, balloon, or camel, these things take time and money. Your course then needs to be weighed heavily, as you choose between the slower ship that leaves sooner, or the train that leaves now but takes you somewhat out of your way. On top of that, you must unlock different routes by conversations had or maps purchased, and only the ones you’ve unlocked are available to you. Those conversations are themselves a choice, as you must often choose to attend to Fogg, converse with others, or read the paper – only one can be chosen each time, so you choose between risking Fogg’s disapproval to possibly learn of a new route, or raise your approval rating but miss out on potential information. It’s a tough choice, and you’ll spend the whole game wondering how things would differ if you made a different choice.

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Though Fogg has a lot of money, it isn’t all available to you. You start out with a nice chunk of cash, but it isn’t nearly enough to see you through your journey. Buying and selling items, and even performing small tasks for cash are your most time efficient ways to keep the cash flowing. But if all the traveling and hotels leaves a hole in your pocketbook, you can head to the bank and withdraw extra funds. These funds are seemingly unlimited, but they come with a heavy price – time. The more money you wan to withdraw, the more days you’ll have to wait to get your hands on it. It’s a tough one, but at times necessary. While this changes up your time table, you’ll make other decisions within the story that will change up your entire journey. It being an interactive fiction app, much of your time is spent reading. You’ll be given a bit of the story, and then have several options to choose from, a bit like those choose your adventure books many of us loved as a child. Each decision affects what happens next in the story in meaningful ways, making it seem right from the start like a game you could play over and over.

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80 Days is a truly interesting game that really gives you the feeling that you have control over the journey and how it plays out. My only real complaint with it is the amount of downtime. Perhaps I’m more impatient than most, but the actual travel drove me nuts. When you’re in a town, you can go to the market, organize your luggage, converse with locals, and more. But when you’re actually moving, you are often waiting. You might watch an icon of a train for a little bit, then get a little story, then watch the train again. I didn’t care if it was text of actions – I just wanted something to be there, and didn’t care for just waiting for an option to pop up. Beyond that small annoyance, though, I found 80 Days to be a refreshingly unique story that puts the course of your journey entirely into your hands.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)