80 Days opts for a stylish and simple approach that does an excellent job of conveying the fast-paced journey. There aren’t many animated objects, but the way visual presentation keeps them moving helps them look more alive than in usual gamebooks.
The audio design is excellent as well. Ambient sound effects are used in conjunction with the simple images to bring every location to life, and music always comes in at the right time to accent things. 80 Days leaves a good bit to your imagination and try to assist it rather than replace it with its own ideas of the world’s wonders. Considering this game is in a gamebook genre that is content to merely emulate the printed pages, 80 Days provides a respectable showing with the method of storytelling.
Despite how polished this game is, the UI is less impressive and can be frustrating to deal with. It’s occasionally unintuitive and convoluted, with the awkward inventory management. To get a full handle on what each item does, you will have to play around with touching various things on the screen. And sometimes it’s too easy to inadvertently make a choice when you want to scroll the text box.
It’s not the easiest process to explore the game’s map, so it takes time while the game’s clock is pretty much always running. If your departure leaves at a certain point and you select the city just a bit too late, you’re stuck in your current city until the next departure comes.
Nevertheless, 80 Days takes place on a gorgeous globe which can be zoomed, glimpsed and panned, with the many paths getting clear as more information you uncover. It’s hard to complain about some minor annoyances when the game looks so good.
You play as French valet Passepartout who takes a leading role in making good on Fogg’s wager. While various pieces from original Jules Verne’s novel can potentially crop up in the game, the purpose of circumnavigating the globe in a mere 80 days can be the only familiar thing you will have throughout your adventure. The world is different from that of the book, filled with all kinds of Verne-inspired fantasy and science-fiction elements.
It’s your job to manage Phileas Fogg’s schedule, health, and money in this challenging quest. You will collect various items in one continent that will get valuable in another, providing you with many exciting risk/reward opportunities as you proceed.
You can sell these items for a profit to speed up your travel at the expense of going out of your way. And if Fogg’s health deteriorates, you need to decide between buying warmer clothes or staying more nights at a hotel and potentially miss a train that only runs a couple of days a week.
Such decisions are exhilarating, tense, and unexpected. It’s tempting to roll the dice on a risky detour, even if it sets you back. All depends on the way you role-play your particular Passepartout and what your priorities are. You can sacrifice the strict tasks at hand, and spend more time exploring cities, soaking in sights, and discovering people and cultures.
Lots of crazy adventures are waiting for you if you take the risk: you may be robbed by Jesse James, get arrested by dirty lawmen, or discover world’s growing understanding of robotics in the 19th century. Beyond that, you will have a chance to lead the mutiny of a ship, sell valuable weapons to other nations, and ride the Orient Express. The gameplay will mesmerize you with the great opportunities.
Naturally, you have a time and money limit you have to deal with in the beginning. However, there are plenty of ways to get more money. The most efficient way to do it is buying local goods at the market and selling them for a big profit elsewhere.
These favorable market conditions rarely come in a straight line, so you will have to sacrifice some time and throw yourself off-course to take advantage of this method. You can also occasionally gamble and do some odd jobs too, but that won’t earn you enough money. Finally, you can count on a nearly unlimited source of cash by stopping by the bank, but since there was no PayPal in the 19th century, these money transfers take a very long time, depending on the sum you need.
Time will be your enemy all the time, and you will likely be surprised at how many ways you will find to waste it. The various kinds of transportation you’ll use almost always require you to wait as they all have their schedules, which don’t necessarily line up with your desires. In other cases, your vehicle may suddenly go off in an unexpected direction, your money may be stolen, you can be thrown in prison, and many more crazy things can happen throwing you behind schedule.
However, you don’t face a game over if you are not back in London on the 80th day. The journey will be continued until you get back home, no matter how much time it takes. So, if you don’t care much about Phileas’s foolish wager, feel free to explore as much as you can. Each route you uncover will stay that way on your next journey around the world, which helps you achieve your daring goal.
To add a competitive element to the game, you can always check on how other players online are faring via live feed on the game’s map. It works like ghosts in racing games, giving you an idea of other people’s progress. That‘s just a side feature, so 80 Days remains fully playable while offline too.
80 Days plays out like a Choose Your Own Adventure with choices pop up constantly in the text form. And while you are choosing Passepartout’s actions, sometimes it turns out like you’re shaping other people and the world around you with every decision.
Once you made a choice, the text rearranges itself and continues your story. Some turns in the story are influenced by random factors, others by the items you're carrying, and still more by people you have talked to before and what you have chosen to do.
You will use mostly three interfaces throughout the game: your luggage that can be filled with traveling clothes, your map to select your route, pay for tickets and embark on trips, and stories, told through text and riddled with branching paths. In the stories, you can select what your Passepartout will say and often dictate the events of the story.
Replay Value 5/5
You can play 80 Days to completion a dozen times and not come up with even close to the same events. And most importantly, they are all interesting to read and pursue further. You will craft your own story each time you play, rather than relive something already written.
It’s marvelous to see where else 80 Days can take you and hear about the different places it's taken others. The quality of the writing is excellent, handling a huge cast of characters who drift in and out of the game at a moment's notice.
80 Days doesn’t have any in-app purchases. So, all location, vehicles, and characters are available for an initial price of $4,99.
If you are not turned off by the idea of a game, which consists largely of reading and making choices, you are probably going to enjoy 80 Days. It captures the feeling of a Jules Verne’s story without directly copying it, and provides you with the sheer enormity of the world and a huge amount of possibilities.
The clever-written and ever-changing story trumps the minor letdowns in the interface so that the game is well worth checking out.