Steve Jackson's Sorcery! transplanted from novel to iPad in upcoming interactive story game

Steve Jackson's Sorcery! was being shown off quietly at PAX East 2013, and not in the fantasy choose-your-own-adventure book kind of way that some fans might expect. We got a bit of time to scope out a really interesting iPad adaptation, which adds new life to interactive storytelling.


Players take the reins of a bold adventurer exploring a rich fantasy world. Just about every step comes with a new choice that has long term repercussions on how your story ultimately unfolds. Each of those decisions are highlighted in a novel-style narrative that pops up every now and then. There are also more decidedly game-y elements, such as stamina points and a light combat system, but by and large it's your decisions and not your stats that will determine the story's outcome.

Though the game leans primarily on text, I was particularly impressed with the way the overworld map was rendered. From a static distance, it looks like an illustration you'd find in a weathered old paperback, but with a little panning and zooming, the entire topography comes alive through 3D modeling and shadows. I've spent my fair share of time around novels, but I think this kind of format holds a lot of promise for the more twitchy generation; smaller chunks of text, with recurring, important decision points, and rich visuals would certainly be enough to get me reading something other than blogs again.

I certainly don't envy the poor guy that has to write all of these contingent plot lines though. Sorcery! for iPad apparently has 26 different endings, each reached through many different paths. A similar project, Versu, was cooked up by the cooked up by the guys who made Second Life, but I'm finding the format used in Journey has a lot more flair.

Even if you've never read Steve Jackson, anybody remotely interested in literature should give this a shot. It's a really neat idea, and I hope it takes off. Sorcery! is aiming to launch in the App Store on May 4. Expect a premium pricetag a new episodes launched later as separate apps.

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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There are 14 comments. Add yours.

asuperstarr says:

This sounds pretty interesting. Wow, I'm excited to hear about all the new games.....

Dredd67 says:

Ah too bad, I'm pretty sure our iPad 1st gen won't run this, judging by the neat graphics. I'm getting more and more apps refusing to install because they need iOS 6 which isn't supported on that device.

You'll say time to upgrade, but my money would go for a mini and I'm wondering how this would play in this relative tiny screen.

shinuyuki says:

Yea. I'm still using my first gen iPad and I can only update to 5.1.1 sadly. While I've been thinking of getting a iPad Mini, the screen seems too small; however, I enjoy the lightness of the Mini..I'm really torn. This story looks awesome. Love interactive stories.

inkleStudios says:

Hey guys,

Jon from inkle here: just to confirm, the game most definitely DOES run on an iPad 1. We have one in the office and we're stubborn like that!

shinuyuki says:

Nice! I can't wait for it!

wscotchmer says:

Wow, that looks really replayable. I'll be sure to watch for this one. It is right up my alley.

roelsamson20 says:

Yehey! Excited For the Upcoming Story Game, Gonna Download that App when its Available! Yehey!

ef4ervescent says:

Looking forward to trying this game.

BrianTufo says:

Wow the 2D-3D graphics and colors and everything look absolutely amazing in this game! Very nicely done!!

Nathan Grey says:

Loving all of the game coverage. Can't wait for this one!

Puakia says:

Now THIS I could get into....can't wait for it to come out!

AdrianGabeChen says:

i love games that give the player choices. reminds me of mass effect and the walking dead games

SFCMM_Spuds says:

One more thing to purchase
Thanks for the review