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Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106 Review

By , on August 15, 2012


Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • You're given quite a few options to take as you play through the story, many of them rewarding.
  • Given who you're playing, combat is a lot more fair than it usually is in these games.

CONS

  • Aside from a little intrigue starting out, a lot of the story is day by day, crime by crime with very little to pull the player along.
  • More comic art would have nice, considering the source material.

VERDICT

Gamebook fans will probably enjoy playing Judge, Jury, and Executioner in this tale set in the popular dystopic comic property, but it carries many of the failings of the genre and casual players will probably either find the game too slow paced or the content too violent.


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We've reviewed a couple gamebooks here at AppSpy before. For those unfamiliar with the genre, think of it as a cross between a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book and an RPG. In fact that's exactly what the Fighting Fantasy series was, having you make choices as you read, but also gaining stats and having to roll dice to get passed tricky situations or to win combat. Tin Man Games have been quite prolific in resurrecting this format digitally for the iPhone and iPad, with most tales being random adventures in interesting locations. With Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106, we get a gamebook based on an established and popular property, and for those who know Judge Dredd, you're probably already thinking that this title makes full use of stat rolls and combat, and you'd be absolutely correct in that assumption.

The story begins with Sector 106 being in need of senior Judges to pacify the populace, and being one of the most experienced Judges, you as Dredd are patrolling the streets, dealing with lawbreakers... but something is amiss. After a few shakedowns and arrests, you find the criminals are possessing little voice boxes that mimic your voice. What could this mean, and what repercussions does it have on Sector 106? Well saying anymore would be spoiling the surprise.

The story does take a while to kick in, as the first hour or so is taken up with patrolling and foiling the criminal element. Compared to other gamebooks played, there seems to be a nicer balance between dice rolls, combat, and choices made by the player. Perhaps it's the subject material that allows for so much action, and use of your lawgiver, but even though the first couple incidents leave plot crumbs that will pay off later, it feels more that rather than world building, the game is glorifying violence, hoping to appeal to more of an action game crowd than those that play gamebooks.

As with the rest of the genre, combat and stat checks are all done via virtual dice rolls. You can either watch the dice roll around, or turn on quick rolls and see whether you succeed or fail. You can also lay down bookmarks that allow you to return to pages if a choice or fight doesn't pan out, but you only get so many of these to avoid them being used as a crutch.

Seeing that Judge Dredd is a comic property, there are illustrations that accompany the text, but it feels like a wasted opportunity not to actually create a gamebook out of a graphic novel instead of just the text and occasional picture. Obviously this would change things immensely it terms of work load and design, but if this is trying to appeal to those who enjoy the source material, the extra effort may have been worth it. As it stands, gamebook fans might be split on whether they enjoy this or not. Dredd is a powerful character, and the dice rolls reflect that, giving you an easier time playing through, but there is a lot of violence, and the story itself does take a while to get off the ground. For those of you who have not tried a gamebook, this is actually a good title to jump into the genre with, it just might split fans of the genre, and its mechanics may still be a barrier to newcomers.

Screenshots

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