Gaming on a Timer

Lunchtime Gaming – A Sorcerous! Adventure

Allow me to forward an opinion: mobile gaming is the greatest technological boon to the modern-day constantly overworked adult. When the average workday totals around 12 to 13 hours, daily, the 30 or so minutes I can put towards gaming (admittedly, while having my lunch) are slowly becoming invaluable.

During one such session, I recently purchased Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! from the Google Play Store – the name having brought back memories from the Fighting Fantasy series of playbooks – and set out to see how well this kind of text adventure/RPG hybrid is suited for small bursts of gaming.

In Sorcery! you take on the role of an unnamed hero, male or female, who has just embarked on a perilous quest to retrieve a magical McGuffin (in this case, the Crown of Kings) and save the Kingdom in the process.

In-game screenshot courtesy of developers Inkle!
In-game screenshot courtesy of developers Inkle!

My first impressions are good; there’s a lot of text here, but it’s broken down into well-written vignettes of your chosen protagonist’s adventures throughout the Shamutanti Hills (the location of your adventures for most of Sorcery!’s first episode). The writing itself is reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, especially his Lord of the Ring trilogy – with a slightly less verbose tone.

Navigation in this game is pretty simple; you’re presented with a world map, with various interactions available to you depicted by flag icons. Dragging your character’s miniature to any of those will bring up an event, with either combat or adventure vignettes being available for your reading pleasure.

Combat in Sorcery! is also interesting; it’s mainly a rock-paper-scissors affair, where you try to figure out the opponent’s next action – light attack, strong attack, defend – and counter it accordingly. All attacks draw from a pool of your overall strength, which you can use to determine your attack’s strength; stronger attacks negate weaker ones, weak attacks waste less strength versus a defending enemy and defense lowers your received damage to the minimum possible amount while restoring strength gradually.

Between the game being split into small encounters and combat being simple but fast-paced means that the game naturally lends itself really well to short play sessions, especially for faster readers, which in turn makes it great for those 20 minute long gaming sessions within the day.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Sorcery!, even though the short play sessions result in not having progressed too far into the game (which is why I’ve not talked much about the story), but I’ll be looking into doing a few short posts describing my thoughts as  I play through the game, Let’s Play-style, in future posts.


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