GAME REVIEW: APPOINTMENT WITH F.E.A.R. / AUTHOR: STEVE JACKSON / PUBLISHER: TIN MAN GAMES / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 27TH
Tin Man Games have been delighting us so far with their high-tech renditions of an old school idea. The app developer specialises in turning old adventure game books into the sort of thing you can read (and play) on your iPhone, as well as in creating brand new adventure game books for the smartphone market.
So far so good, but for the adaptation of the 1985 classic Fighting Fantasy book Appointment With F.E.A.R. they’ve changed direction. Tin Man have done away with all the little reminders that this game was originally a book; the page-turning animation is gone, as are the dice that roll and rattle whenever there is a fight. This makes perfect sense: Appointment With F.E.A.R. is the only Fighting Fantasy novel that is set in a superhero world, and the book feel has been replaced with comic book action. The game is filled with the zap and kapow familiar to fans of such things. Game book text appears in comic book-style captions and all of this is helped along with a cheesy soundtrack.
The plot has you attempting to foil the nefarious Titanium Cyborg and his cabal of villains who comprise the evil organisation known as F.E.A.R. Your hero is aware that a big meeting of bad guys is going down soon and has to run around Titan City picking up clues and foiling crimes. Character creation is pretty simple; select a set of super powers, a costume and then a name. Names are seemingly randomly generated and they’re all ridiculous in one way or another, which adds to the fun.
Appointment With F.E.A.R. is filled with comic book camp and does not take itself at all seriously. Though it sticks to the original book pretty closely, nice touches such as the combat being filled with amusing commentary and little details such as your hero's civilian disguise really stand out.
It’s very, very replayable; you’ll get through your first game quickly and then find yourself diving in again straight away. To maximise this, Tin Man have added features like a collectible card system. It’s there to encourage players to talk to each other (you can swap cards between players) and also functions as a way of keeping score. It’s relatively superfluous and yet, like much of the game, quite addictive.
Over all, this is a great little bit of retro fun and we can’t wait to see if Tin Man will continue to use this fun new format in their future games.