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80 Days (iOS) game review

Race around the world in 80 Days on your iPhone, with Inkle’s tactical new choose-your-own-adventure game for iOS.

80 Days (based on Jules Verne’s classic novel) is a new tactical adventure game by Inkle for iOS, which casts you as Phileas Fogg’s long-suffering and undeniably French sidekick as the pair bugger off around the world, all for cold hard cash. It’s a fun little game with a great hook, but it does get a little samey before the journey’s end…

80 Days around the world iOS game review: We fully review Inkle's latest iPhone app 80 Days around the world iOS game review: We fully review Inkle's latest iPhone app 80 Days around the world iOS game review: We fully review Inkle's latest iPhone app

80 Days’ story is rather rushed at the beginning: Fogg basically runs up to you and announces that you’re off to Paris that very night, and then the next thing you know, you’re buggering off to the station. It’s actually possible to complete the around-the-world trek without really knowing why you’re doing it, unless you select the relevant dialogue option in a later conversation (or you’ve actually read the book, of course. Or seen the awesome cartoon where Fogg is a lion).

There’s also not much of a running story to keep you interested – you merely rush from one scenario to the next, hoping to beat that ever-ticking clock. Still, there are plenty of interesting moments scattered throughout 80 Days, and the occasional nice spot of humour too. Like the time you beat up a small child on a beach.

As for the game itself, it can be surprisingly tactical for an adventure game, akin in some ways to Inkle’s earlier title Sorcery! (also out for iPhone). The whole point is to find the most efficient way to travel, all while managing your cash and general morale. 80 Days doesn’t lead you down a certain path, either. You’re completely free to choose your route, and conversations with the game’s many characters will open up brand new travel options.

80 Days around the world iOS game review: We fully review Inkle's latest iPhone app 80 Days around the world iOS game review: We fully review Inkle's latest iPhone app 80 Days around the world iOS game review: We fully review Inkle's latest iPhone app

Travelling isn’t just a case of picking the fastest option each time, either. You’ve got limited cash, so you’ll need to be wise with your spending, or else indulge in a spot of crafty trading at each city’s market. And if you do need a top-up in funds, you can resort to stopping off in a bank – but there’s often a steep time penalty for it, as you wait for the cash to be gathered.

Then there’s your relationship with the rather stuffy and austere Fogg to consider, and your own general wellbeing. You’ll want to pack the right gear to get your through tricky stages, and occasionally travel in style to boost your health meter.

80 Days does get quite samey after a while, as you’ll be repeating many of the same actions over and over – buy/sell at the market, converse with some of the locals, plan the next stage, and off you go. Still, the fact that you can pick your own route means you can start over as soon as you finish and try a whole new strategy, to see if you can beat your old score. And the fact that you can see other players racing across the virtual map adds another incentive to find the best possible route.

80 Days will be available in the Apple App Store from July 31.

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