The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (iOS) Review

By David Jennings 24.02.2017 2

Review for The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on iOS

The power and fantasy of adventure books lives on in this mobile reworking of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s classic that really opened up the genre. This turn-based text adventure has been out on the PC/Mac for some time; however, it has now entered the realms of mobiles. Dare you enter Firetop Mountain? Turn to page 25... Erm... read on!

Adventure books may not be the most popular form of entertainment nowadays, but they still exist and they are still much loved. While the genre was already around, it was the combined brains of the creators of Games Workshop (of Warhammer fame), Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, who really launched the adventure books we know today. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (previously reviewed on PC) was the first book Mr Jackson and Mr Livingstone published and in which began a long series of Fighting Fantasy adventure novels that have captivated the hearts and minds of kids and adults worldwide. Board games and other videogames have come and gone, so how does this one do?

You don't create your own hero in this tale; instead, it's a case of choosing a hero from some pre-made ones, all brought to life by being presented to you as miniatures. While you have around five to begin with, each with their own back story, abilities and stats, it is possible to open up more characters through the use of in-game purchasing. A pack of characters at the time of writing is £2.99. The impact of your choice is reflected during the course of the game, with some characters' abilities able to assist to win fights easier, or find items, for example. The most important aspect is reflected in the different levels of Skill, Luck and Stamina each character has.

Screenshot for The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on iOS

The presentation of this videogame adaptation already by this stage is quite evident that the developers wanted to stay as true as possible to the original source material as they could, even down to the illustrations that are encountered along the way, which are presented by default in black and white. A poke at the image changes the picture into colour, which is a really nice touch. The whole feel of the title really has been wonderfully recreated by a group of people that clearly love the genre. Graphically, it feels rather simple in design, which is perfectly suited for mobile devices and for this type of game.

The tutorial introduces the combat mechanics, which, in this case, is a turn-based grid system where the character chosen simultaneously moves at the same time as the enemy. The grid system is quite small to prevent long drawn out conflicts where you could end up chasing shadows, as the idea is to predict what the enemy will do next. Combat is all about looking for patterns in how the AI moves and attacks. If the player and enemy attack at the same time and 'clash,' then it is down to your skill level plus the roll of two D6 against your enemies that will determine the winner of said particular duel. This combination of luck and skill will lead to a number of deaths that at times feel frustrating and too random.

Screenshot for The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on iOS

As you traverse around the dungeon and surrounding areas, the paths laid out in front will spawn, showing what lies ahead. This again is a really nice touch that heeds back to the turning of a page element of an adventure book. Just like the adventure book, different options will be displayed, giving the player various choices on what approach to take next. Reading the large amount of story text is important; this is an adventure book, after all, and will greatly affect what should be done next. The animation of the spawning of the world with the 'jumpy' movement of your miniature, alongside the well written text sourced straight from the original novel, really give this game a lot of character.

Some of the choices made during the quest can lead to instant death or a loss of stamina. The complete loss of stamina, whether it be by poor decisions or during combat, will require you to go again from the last resting point or, if chosen, return to the character selection screen. The downside to this being a loving recreation of the original book, almost down to a word-to-word copy, is that the more times you go back into the story, the more you'll very quickly remember what lies ahead, as rooms and enemies won't change locations. Those keys spotted earlier before dying will be right there in the same place during the next playthrough.

Screenshot for The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on iOS

There are elements that aren't explained, such as the 'soul' counter, which increases as each enemy is slain. It never becomes clear what purpose it holds, aside from possibly being a measure of how many creatures you have killed during the course of the adventure. The inventory system again isn't introduced, although for many gamers this should be very apparent and easy to get to grips with.

The first run through to completion took a little over an hour and a half. Again, due to how close the original source material has been stuck to, it has led to this short lifespan. Of course, with a number of characters and various alternative routes being on offer, multiple playthroughs are very much encouraged; however, if the story is remembered from previous attempts, these additional playthroughs can prove to end even quicker, as key areas will not change regardless of some actions or character choices.

Much of this title is reliant on the combat, which, to some, may be really enjoyable, but to others it may seem like an encounter with too much randomness involved. Every character has a backstory, as displayed during the character selection process; however, they aren't fleshed out further enough during the tale.

Screenshot for The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

It is clear here that the developers have much love for the original novel, and to be honest, they cannot be blamed for this. The overall presentation of this mobile port is great, particularly the manner of which the text is displayed and in how you can see your choices and actions played out. The combat, however, is where this will lose or gain appeal with gamers. Whereas mobile titles such as Lifeline allow players to form a true bond with the lead character, this just isn't so with The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Combined with a short lifespan, it ultimately leads to a feeling of nostalgia, albeit perhaps not for all that long. A tale of adventure that has adapted well to iOS.

Developer

Tin Man Games

Publisher

Tin Man Games

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

in-game purchases? The PC version had a standard unlock-through-gameplay system!

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

The only in-game purchase was for a selection of additional characters. In regards to the story/gameplay you won't need to pay anything.

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