Review: Sultans of Rema / Writer: Gaetano Abbondanza / Publisher: Tin Man Games / Release Date: Out Now
Sultans of Rema is the ninth app in Tin Man Game’s Gamebook Adventures series and is strong evidence that even the best can be improved upon. The Australian Android and iOS App developer started out converting old-school ‘choose your fate’ style Fighting Fantasy novels into a format that can be enjoyed on a smartphone. However rather than simply trade on nostalgia, they have also produced their own unique brand of adventure gamebook, one that uses simple game mechanics and well put together prose to create engaging and exciting adventures that couldn’t be more different from the iconic Fighting Fantasy series.
This present title is a sequel of sorts to Slaves of Rema, but works fine as a standalone game. The plot sees you on a mission to help stabilise a region called the Emirates of Akbir. The Sultan is getting old and it looks like dark forces are gathering. You are a diplomat working for the greater good, or so it seems. The usual elements are here: noble desert nomads, ridiculous camel rides, mysterious assassins and of course a flying carpet. Appropriate music and artwork add to the effect and what we get is an immersive desert adventure that can be enjoyed on the train to work. This is a well written tale that mixes in the intrigue of Lawrence of Arabia in with more traditional Arabian Nights oddness. It treats its source of inspiration with respect whilst at the same time being filled with plenty of scimitar-waving action. Combat and cleverness are an essential part of the game but it’s the prose that really makes it stand out.
The usual Tin Man tricks are here; if you’re a stickler for rules you can play the game properly on normal mode or if you’ve never been one for letting things get in the way of fun then you can opt for free mode, which let’s you fudge your health levels and turn to pages of the game you have not earned the right to read. In addition there is a lot of background material available in the special features, expanding on a world that we look forward to seeing Tin Man develop further. Overall, if you like a bit of sand in your sword and sorcery adventures and enjoy novels that make you choose the path of the hero then you’re in for a treat.