Published on June 24th, 2014 | by JC Richardson0
Sorcery! 2 Review
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery series was always the tough, older brother of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and inkle have recreated every fraught turn of the page with Kharé – Cityport of Traps.
There’s not many games out there that required a genuine cartographer on the development team, but when inkle translated Kharé from book to game board, that guy must have been invaluable: this place is just huge, with many hours of play and re-play inside its walls. As an all-round adventurer in search of the Crown of Kings, you have to negotiate your way through the city, picking up lines of a spell that will open the far gate and allow you to continue your mission. It’s unlikely you’ll reach the gate with the entire spell first time around, so be prepared to learn from your mistakes – and there’s always the option to rewind to a previous spot, just like keeping a page marked with your thumb in case you hit on one of the various insta-kill traps and need to go back.
Kharé is a nightmare of a place, so it’s lucky you have a sword and a spellbook with you. Combat is turn based, and doesn’t happen that often if you’re judicious with your choices. You drag your character towards the enemy to attack, or pull away to defend depending on what you think they’re going to do next turn – it’s simple once mastered. Magic is trickier, making you spell out words of power from a cloud of letters to create a required effect. ‘DOP’ opens locked doors, ‘TEL’ gives you telepathy, etc, but you’ll have to refer to your extensive grimoire to learn all 48 of them.
Inkle have done a great job bringing the dread atmosphere of the book to a new audience, and it’s great to see Steve Jackson’s words, and John Blanche’s artwork come alive again.
Summary: Fans of the original gamebooks will love the nostalgia here, and new players are going to love the sheer depth of this multi-layered adventure.