PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

GOTH AMOK is a new adventure game-book app, part of a growing library of games that combine the depth and imagination that only books can bring with the problem solving stimulation that you get with video games.

GOTH AMOK is a sci-fi horror tale, heavily inspired by the works of Ramsey Campbell and HP Lovecraft. There’s also more than a dash of TV show STARGATE thrown in for good measure, with a hefty lump of both X-FILES style thrills and CALL OF CTHULHU style horror. It’s a very promising list of ingredients.

Sadly, as anyone who’s ever appeared on the Greatest British Bake Off will tell you, sometimes you can have all the best ingredients to hand and yet somehow, all you end up with is a horribly sticky mess.

On the face of it, the writing and artwork are both solid and evocative. We get sort of existential despair that would make Lovecraft proud and though the art is ragged in places, the dark and messy style adds to atmosphere. The plot is the sort that fans of games such as DELTA GREEN would enjoy, and the science fiction elements are nicely old school. Sadly, it’s the game part that really lets it all down.

Gamebook apps don’t have the same advantages as actual game books. Different people play gamebooks in different ways, and the app has to be programmed to permit both dedicated and relaxed styles. Most apps also do the leg-work for you; it automatically takes notes, lets you save frequently and so on. This is because apps tend to be played infrequently. Goth Amok has none of this refinement; there’s one mode of play and very limited room to save the game. You’ll need to take notes with a pen and paper. The book itself is written in such a way that there’s only one real solution, so having to constantly restart the game becomes tedious.

Combat is hard, and no option to speed it up is presented. This again becomes boring, and because there’s very little variation in the scenario at the start, it’s tricky to stay motivated, especially as the scares become predictable and blunt.

Overall, GOTH AMOK is a great idea for a gamebook app. It’s just a pity they didn’t get the ‘App’ part right.  


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