80 Days review – It Will Have You Spinning In Circles

80 days

NOTE: Keys were given to the the Indie Game Riot team by the game’s developer for review.

 

Do you remember the film released in 2006 of the same name that starred Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan? If you do, then you’ll at least have some vague idea of what this indie gem is going to feature. If you aren’t familiar with the silver screen adaption, don’t worry, you’re not missing out on a masterpiece.

Based, nearly word for word, on the novel published by Jules Verne in 1873, 80 Days is the story of one man’s wager which takes him and his faithful valet, Passepartout, across the entire known world. With a hefty £20,000 sum at stake, the modern equivalent of $2.45 million, the pair are thrown into a whirlwind adventure that sees them fighting off bandits, taking in the culture of far off locations and beholding the new machinations that exist in this alternate reality.

The game itself is wholly story driven and any way you look at it, takes a long time to get into properly. As each playthrough of this grand tale can play out in a very different way, players are tempted to actually fail the main goal in favor of going to the moon or diving to the very bottom of the ocean. A variety of in-game achievements just offer hints at the sheer amount of amazing feats a man and his valet can accomplish, as they venture into new grounds, one of which actually suggests you can do a round trip in just 40 days.

If you prepared to invest about two, or even three, hours at a time into each trip, then this conversational adventure is surprisingly rewarding. With rich, well written dialogue and a plethora of options that dictate how Passpartout reacts to the teetering world around him, you’ll have every chance to forge new relations and routes each time.

Starting out from Fogg’s home of London, and carrying nothing but a single suitcase with basic commodities, as well as £4,000 in cash, the pair first race to catch an overnight-undersea train to Paris. In order to describe the world they’re travelling though, imagine a pre-Great War era that is powered by steam fueled machinations that are used to power every mode of transportation, including something as complex as a horse and carriage.

This mixture between the realism of attempting to circumnavigate the entire globe and the seemingly bizarre machines that power it is fantastic to imagine. Unfortunately, it is sadly not realized using graphics. The only animation featured in this title is the rotation of the globe. Tiny details like a moving train or flying airship would have done wonders to the absorption of the player. The journey to and from each location offers very little, not including conversations or monologue, in the way of interesting gameplay.

80 Days is a unique and interesting title that pitches itself to a very niche set of players. While you can play it without really reading the mountain of options and clicks, the time it takes to load and plan every move does require time and effort. If you don’t enjoy narrative heavy games or a lack of action, then it would be a sound idea to pass this entirely. Otherwise, you will most likely find the story engrossing with a ton of replay value.

Check out 80 Days‘ feature on the Indie Game Riot Podcast!

Game info:

Platform(s): PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Genres: Narrative, Choice Oriented
Price: 9.99
Release date: 09/29/2015
Publisher: Inkle
Developer: Inkle
Site: http://www.inklestudios.com/80days/
Awards:

  • Most Engaging – Wordplay Festival 2014
  • Best Digital Fiction Book 2014 – Futurebook Innovation Awards
  • Editor’s Choice Game of the Year 2014 – Pocket Tactics
  • Excellence in Storytelling 2015 – IMGA
  • Excellence in Narrative 2015 – Independent Games Festival
  • Game of the Year 2014 – TIME

See more from Oni on The Nerdiest Cave and follow him on Twitter!

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