Sorcery 3 review: We play the latest iOS/Android choose-your-own-adventure game in Inkle’s epic series, out now for iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets.
So far the Sorcery! series has been my favourite digital stab at those classic choose-your-own-adventure books, which I lost entire weekends to as a kid. Based on a Steve Jackson creation, Sorcery! has all the essential nostalgic hallmarks: an epic quest, lots of (virtual) dice rolling, spells, horrible gribblies and an easy way to cheat when you get stuck.
First up, I’d highly recommend playing the first two Sorcery! mobile games before tackling Sorcery! 3, as you can actually carry your character – with all of his or her experience, items and even decision consequences – between games.
If you’ve already completed those games, you’ll know what to expect in Sorcery! 3. Your quest to recover the Crown of Kings (your typical bit of awesome treasure that for some reason has big implications if it falls into the wrong hands) continues as your hero ventures into the wilderness. It’s a welcome change of pace from the bustling city of Sorcery! 2, with dangerous swamps and spooky chasms replacing stinky sewers and haunted mansions.
The general premise remains the same, however. While the second Sorcery! game had you hunting clues to escape the city, Sorcery! 3 has you striking down seven evil serpents which are rushing to warn the Archmage of Mampang (that’s the evil tossbag what stole the crown) of your impending arrival. You’ll have to gather clues as you go, which are handily noted down in a virtual notebook for you.
As with the second title, you’re free to roam anywhere you like on the map, making this a beautifully non-linear experience. However, this also means that it’s possible to reach the end of Sorcery! 3 without killing all seven serpents – and if you want to get a perfect score, you’ll need to replay the game.
Still, the freedom to do what you like makes Sorcery! 3 all the more rewarding as well as replayable. And as before, there are plenty of tough choices to make. Almost every ‘page’ contains a decision – do you fight the giant bird, or run away, or maybe cast a spell and try to use it as transport?
The fact that you’re out in the wilderness means you’ll need to pay close attention to your resources, too. If you run out of food then you can’t heal, while the constantly ticking game clock means you’ll have to seek out a safe place to sleep when night rolls around. In fact, the day/night implementation is incredibly smart and something I haven’t yet seen in another virtual adventure game.
Don’t worry if you’re one of those gamers who always used to keep their finger at the previous page when making a decision, either. It’s perfect possible to skip back to any unwise choices you may have made, to take another stab at them.
In the end, it’s simple: if you haven’t played a Sorcery! game yet, go back and check out the first one. If you’ve already completed Sorcery! 1 and 2, then this third instalment definitely won’t disappoint.