Review: Fighting Fantasy - The Forest of Doom / Author: Ian Livingstone / Publisher: Tin Man Games / Platform: Android, iOS / Release Date: Out Now
Back in the '80s, adventure game books were the thing that the geek about town had in their back pocket. The Fighting Fantasy series were adventure game books, which meant that rather than reading the thing from cover to cover, you interacted with the book by making various choices and flipping from paragraph to paragraph, depending on what decisions you’d taken. The book also featured game mechanics, and in theory, you needed paper, pencil and dice in order to defeat the various monsters and traps presented between the books pages, but quite often people cheated by skipping past these parts. The books faded in fashion during the '90s, but thanks to the presence of a smart phone in every pocket these days, these classic games are making a comeback as apps.
The Forest of Doom is a particularly memorable example; not only did it have great art but the premise was an interesting one; you were a forest ranger on a quest for a Dwarfen war hammer. The app keeps all of the charm of the original; this is a deceptively simple game in which being savvy, cunning and lucky will help a lot. Unlike some of the games in the series, The Forest of Doom is one where the path is never easy.
Tin Man has been producing these adaptations for a while, and all the usual features are present; there’s an ability to bookmark pages (so you can go back several moves), a ‘dice rolling’ feature that lets you relive the clatter of dice if you like that sort of thing (and the ability to skip combat entirely if you don’t). It even has a trophy room to make sure you don’t miss any of the good bits. It also features a mode that allows you to cheat your way through the book. This latter feature is particularly relevant to The Forest of Doom, as if you cheat your way through the game it’s over pretty quick, and it’s structured in a way that’s fairly obvious that by cheating, you’ve bypassed the important part; having fun.
The Forest of Doom brings nothing new to the genre, as it’s a new take on an old book, but that shouldn’t put you off, it’s a lot of fun. The new format really does suit it and is ideal for stealth geeks. If you ever wanted to battle hobgoblins whilst in a boring meeting, then this is for you.