We’ve only just rounded the corner on 2014′s midway point, and I’m pretty certain I’ve already found my favorite game of the year. “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” doesn’t even begin to cut it. You can’t diagram a neat and tidy decision tree in 80 Days, because each of your individual micro decisions has a slow and steady impact on your character and your resources, affecting what will happen to you far down the line and across the globe.
Your “goal” is, of course, to circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days’ time. However, the true delight is in letting the story unfold in bits and pieces in front of you, each sentence taking form according to your whim. Author Meg Jayanth has spun a work of truly dynamic fiction taking place across an expansive imaginary history rich with detail, letting you peek into the lives of others both mighty and small. For the majority of the folks you encounter, you’ll be little more than a curious passerby – and the sense that you’re not the world’s protagonist is enormously refreshing.
inkle devs Jon Ingold and Joe Humfrey have created a seamless, visually stunning experience. It’s a solo trip (well – you and your Master Phileas Fogg, anyway), but you’re able to watch as other iterations of your self and your possible journeys crawl across the globe, leaving hints as to what marvels might lie on the branching paths ahead.
80 Days is unlike anything that currently exists on the app market, or anywhere, for that matter. If you’re fascinated by the possibilities of storytelling, or if you’re simply ready to throw it all in a suitcase and fly an airship into Siberia, you’re going to absolutely love it.