Commuter Gamer: Steve Jackson’s ‘Sorcery! 3’ Released

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sorcery3-Main

Commuter Gamer focuses on mobile games that can easily be played in bite-sized chunks. Please game responsibly and never while driving!

The third game in the Sorcery! series was released today on iOSAndroid, and Kindle. It is a four-part fantasy adventure game based on Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! gamebooks from the ’80s.

Sorcery! is not just an adventure game, though. Although there are plenty of the expected adventure RPG elements–fighting, magic, inventory management–the real beauty of Sorcery! is that it is also a very complex choose your own adventure story. The game is also just beautiful. I really enjoyed the stylized, almost-but-not-quite cartoony feel of the art.

Sorcery3-Start

After first loading the game, you are given the option to continue from the previous game or start fresh. I’ve never played the earlier games, so I chose the female avatar and continued. My understanding, though, is that your choices from the previous games do impact the story in the subsequent games. I really appreciate this and wish more games do it. The only modern equivalent that comes to mind is Mass Effect.

Sorcery3-Move
Your avatar actually changes based on what you are doing. In the last screen, I was falling down a cliff!

The main game interface for moving you character around is the map. This interface also shows you your current stamina (health), gold, and rations–you have to eat each day–in the upper left, which spirit is currently watching over you in the upper right, and a small toolbar along the bottom. The bottom toolbar gives you access to your items and your spellbook and allows you to pray to the current spirit for aid or the rewind your last decision to choose another path.

Sorcery3-Choose

As you make each choice, the story changes and progresses based on your decisions. The writing is well-done and never felt disjointed or fractured like you might expect from such a dynamic story. I quickly found myself being attacked by a goblin!

Sorcery3-Fight

The fighting system is fairly straightforward. You can choose to defend, in which case you take minimal damage from an opponent’s attack, or you can attack by sliding your avatar towards the enemy. The farther to the right you slide, the heavier an attack you will make; however, you will also use more attack power which means less attack power for subsequent attacks. The attacks are not animated but the avatars do change to show what the characters are doing. This immediately reminded me of the sprites in the old Gold Box D&D games. While there is no onscreen violence, the description of the death of the goblin does up the age level of the game slightly.

Sorcery3-Magic
Your spellbook helpfully tells you the six most useful spells right up front.

Magic is really interesting in Sorcery! There are 48 magic spells in the game. Each spell costs some amount of Stamina to cast and some require that you also have a particular item. There are attack spells, defensive spells, and spells that can change the story and your choices. What makes the spellcasting interesting is that each spell has a three-character word to cast it, and you choose the letters via this spinning sphere interface. This, of course, means you have to know the three characters for the spell you want to cast otherwise, like me, you will cast the wrong spell and possibly cause yourself more harm than good!

Sorcery3-Inventory

The inventory screens are clearly labelled–Spellbook, Rations, Weapons, and Treasure–and each one brings up a piece of paper with the contents written on it. It really feels like pages of a character sheet. Don’t forget to eat!

Sorcery3-DaySummary

Once you complete a day, you get a really nice summary of what occurred. It was really helpful to have this little bow put on the end of each day.

Will I keep playing Sorcery! 3 passed day 1? No, not yet. I enjoyed the game so much, I’m going to go back and start with Sorcery! 1 so that the storyline is my own through the entire series. If you like well written, fun-to-play adventure games, I suggest you do the same.

Note: I was given a review copy of the game. The opinions and screenshots above are all my own.

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