Yar! Shiver me timbers and other pirate clichés; the long lost piece of pirate treasure which is the Fighting Fantasy Adventure gamebook Bloodbones has been turned into a phone app.
Bloodbones is a pirate based adventure gamebook, which has something of a legendary status amongst the fans. It was written all the way back in the mid-nineties and was designed to bring in more readers. Sadly, the publisher cancelled the entire series before it got a chance. It was finally published in 2006, thanks to the revival of interest in game books. Alas, this delay meant that it’s the sort of book many of us don’t know about, which is a real shame, as pirates are cool.
Fortunately, for all of us, Tin Man Games decided that Bloodbones needed to be converted into an app. This means that even the executive geek can indulge in a little bit of Fighting Fantasy-style fun whilst pretending to check their emails.
The plot is rather nifty. You are the hero (of course), and you’re seeking revenge on the pirate-lord Cinnabar, who has murdered your family. The problem is that Cinnabar is already dead. You can’t let that stop a good revenge though, and it turns out he’s brought back to life via dark magic. You’ll not only have to take him out, but also deal with the god of the dead, Quezkari.
Jonathan Green (the British games writer, rather than the American blogger who also writes) is one of the masters of game book creation and you can that he’s re-edited and reimagined some elements of the book since the 90’s. His fiendish sense of game design is at its peak here, making the interactive elements of this app very intriguing indeed. For example, Cinnabar will only stay in port for so long. Spend too much time messing around in the pub and your chance at revenge will be thwarted and the game ends. Death is also round the corner, in many different forms, as are all sorts of horrors.
The usual Tin Man mechanics are here; you can play it on ‘free choice’ mode, allowing you to skip back to previous chapters and avoid combat, or you can play it properly. The app also allows you to ‘fudge’ your dice rolls; animated dice roll during combat and a quick flick of the finger can easily turn a one into a six. You can turn this option off, of course, but it’s rather nice that it’s there. For nostalgia junkies and old school games fans, Bloodbones is a great treat. Heartily recommended.