Sorcery! 2 Review
- Dialogue and narrative are just as strong as in the first chapter.
- Cityport of Khare is dangerous, offering a real challenge.
- Combat, spellcasting, and decision-based gameplay are beautifully intertwined.
- New dice game is a welcome addition.
- Can be a little too unforgiving at times, forcing frequent backtracking.
A richer - and tougher - adventure than its predecessor, Sorcery! 2 is a visually engaging, brilliantly written continuation of Steve Jackson's interactive saga.
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Part two of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series has no time for altruism. If anything, the second chapter of Inkle's interactive repurposing of the '80s gamebook series is openly contemptuous of do-gooders.
I'm exploring the cityport of Khare, wandering through its cruel streets trying to reach the North Gate, and continue my quest to retrieve the Crown of Kings. The interface from the first chapter is back, complete with its handsome 3D map, alphabetical spellcasting system, and turn-based combat.
I drag my avatar towards the sound of animated voices. It turns out there's a festival in full swing. Small pages of text describe the scene to me, each paragraph stitching itself neatly to the last.
I am presented with options. Do I want to enter the Festival of Thieves, or turn around and go back the way I came? This is one of the hundreds of multiple choice questions upon which the adventure is built.
I reckon I've got enough stamina points to weather a scuffle or two, so I opt to proceed with caution.
After checking out some sideshow acts, I decide to enter a boxing match with an ogre. The creature is far bigger than me, but by gauging its reactions to determine when to strike and when to hold back, I emerge victorious. The combat system still feels a little random, but it's a decent replacement for rolling dice.
10 gold pieces richer, I saunter over to a small child standing near a cask of what appear to be rotten apples. It turns out the apples are rock solid, and I'm supposed to chuck them at his giggling sister. In a rare moment of compassion, I refuse to throw rocks at the young girl. The kid shrugs his shoulders and motions for me to leave. The reward for my act of kindness? Nothing. Nada. Zippo.
Curious to see how things could have played out, I rewind time using one of the red markers. These serve as savepoints which allow you to replay instances and recover from bad decisions and death.
I go through the conversation again, and this time decide to whip the apples at the child. My aim is true, and I whack her in the arm. Clearly approving of my act of random cruelty, the boy hands me a fresh apple, which replenishes my stamina points, freeing me up to cast more spells, and better tackle the sinister inhabitants of Khare.
What did I learn from this little escapade? Well, it turns out that Sorcery! 2 is a worthy follow-up to the first chapter. It's tougher than part one, and you may have to retrace your steps numerous times to get through the villain-ridden city alive. The new dice game is a welcome addition, and every waypoint yields fresh encounters and tough decisions.
Oh, and I learned that I'm a jerk who will throw fruit at kids for profit.