Sorcery! Review

By , on May 3, 2013
Last modified 11 years ago

  • Publisher: inkle
  • Genre: Role Playing
  • Released: 2 May, 2013
  • Size: 165.8 MB
  • Price: $4.99
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • A really engaging way to present a gamebook.
  • Battle system is simple, yet offers a bit more depth than just rolling dice.
  • The ability to rewind to any step of your journey.
  • Beautiful music accompanies the experience.


  • It's still a gamebook, and every decision leaves you with scepticism.


Sorcery is a high water mark for gamebooks, and the tabletop D&D Experience. Its presentation and content should engage you unless you really dislike reading and making choices.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

Gamebooks have been on the App Store before. We've reviewed Gamebooks here at Appspy before. The problem with them has always had nothing to do with their digital representation (actually, the change to digital has made the experience more pleasant in a lot of ways), but more in that they are more book than game, and the game part is frankly underwhelming, leading to a lot of dead ends, and reliance on luck to get you through the fights. Well with the release of Sorcery!, Steve Jackson, one of the co-creators of the Fighting Fantasy series has taken it upon himself to improve the gamebook for mobile audiences, and you might be happy to discover that he succeeds in doing so.

Dreaming of a crown that lies at the end of a long journey, you are sent by your townspeople to go out into the wilderness on an important quest that others have been sent on before you (and to the best of your knowledge, unsuccessfully). You are given starting gold and some training in combat and magic before travelling out on your quest. From there every single decision is made by the player. Where to go, who to talk to, how to treat them, and if it comes down to it, to fight, or cast a spell. If at any point in the adventure, you are unsatisfied with your choices, each section of the game map you have completed is marked with a rewind feature. That's right, at any point in the story you can return to any previous point in the story. This small inclusion solves the issue of reaching a dead end or infinite loop on your journey. So what of the combat?

Well it's not just simple dice rolls this time. Swordplay is played out through a test of wits and feints. You have an energy bar and so does your opponent (separate from your life). By swiping your character left or right, you can choose how much of this energy to use in an attack. You have no idea what your opponent has chosen, but if your energy is a larger number than his, you win the round, and deal damage... and vice versa. If however, you or your opponent decide to use no energy, you block, only taking one damage from an attack. Depending on how much energy you use, you will have less to play with next round, so this dissuades a player from launching a full attack each round. As you can see, it's a system that has room for some subtle strategy, but isn't overly complex. Perfect for a gamebook.

The magic system is a book of forty eight spells that are cast by choosing the right combination of constellations, and having the appropriate focus or energy to cast the spell. These range from offensive and defensive spells to lock-picking, potions to make you bigger, talking to animals, and even resurrection. The amount of spells is astonishing, and obviously the game is designed for situations to make use of everything imaginable.

Mention must also be made of the visual style, immersing the play in the world through the map screen and the illustrations that accompany the text. The music swells in the menu and spellbook screens, and joins the story at appropriate times. It makes the game world feel alive, which considering the majority of your time is spent reading is no mean feat.

Now this is part one of a story that apparently has four parts, and considering the price of this app, getting hooked now is going to be costly. That said, anyone who enjoys Gamebooks or Dungeons & Dragons will likely enjoy themselves here. Those that want a bit more action in their games, well this one is not for you.


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