We’ve probably all heard of the classic Jules Verne work of Around the World in 80 Days, however, I’m willing to bet that you’ve not experienced it like this. 80 days is a wonderful ‘choose your own adventure style game’ that uses Verne’s text as a basis, but takes you on adventures all around the globe.
80 days is a game about adventures. Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout start off in London, where Fogg has made a wager saying he can get around the world in 80 days… so the race is on. The player takes on the character of Passepartout, Phileas Fogg’s assistant on this grand outing of global scale. We start the game in London in 1872 and soon we’re off to Paris. From there the game opens up and you can go all over the world, ultimately trying to get back to where you started in London. There are over 200 cities full of stories, side quests and interesting characters to meet.
The objective of the game is simple – get around the world in 80 days on time ad within your budget. There are some interesting and unique game mechanics in 80 days such as bringing the right amount of luggage, managing relationships with your master and trading. A vintage bottle of wine from Paris can fetch a huge sum of money in another city, jewellery and scents can be used to butter up other characters you meet in the game to reveal key pieces of information. Managing Fogg’s mood plays a part and how and when you travel can play a big part in this. Travel aboard the luxurious Orient Express in a comfortable cabin and Fogg will likely be pleased, however, travel on a rickety old car and he’s likely to be less so. During my playthrough I didn’t pay attention to the time when I was wandering the city late at night, leaving Fogg and myself without a hotel for the night. My master wasn’t best pleased.
Managing the money comes into play also, as you start out with approx £3000 but as you travel and stay in hotels and choose various means to get to other cities, this fund will quickly deplete. Managing the money, luggage, time and Fogg’s mood all add up to a unique and engrossing game that captured my imagination.
The core of the game is reading, experiencing and enjoying the text of Jules Verne’s masterpiece, beautifully adapted by Inkle Studios (Jon Ingold and Joe Humfrey – who also created Heaven’s Vault) together with Lead Writer Meg Jayanth. As well as reading the text the player is asked throughout to make decisions and navigate through conversations – much like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. With these choices, you can choose to be ruthless, reckless, careful or romantic. The amount of player choice here is vast which allows you to really role-play the game if you choose to.
I really enjoyed the sense of wonder with 80 days and it surprised me. The many ways to get around the world, all the variables and characters to meet mean the game will be different each time you play through. Some characters and storylines only open up on the 3rd or 4th playthrough, like the side quest with the jewel thief. I spoke to creator Jon Ingold and he told me of a romance on the Transiberian Express inspired by stories handed down by his grandfather.
For those who are put off by the text heavy nature of the game, it may not be the game for you. The game is very much like an interactive novel, a book comes to life that allows you to navigate your way through the literature. The cities too can feel a little bland and similar, without that immersive feel that would really bring the game up a notch.
Overall I enjoyed 80 days and would recommend it. It’s not like any other game I have played before and not normally the type of game I would play. But I was pleasantly surprised by the game and if you’re a fan of Jules Verne’s work then it’s definitely the game for you. The variety in the game offers up a high replayability factor and the adventures with Fogg and Passepartout make this game a memorable one.
Developer: Inkle Studios
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, iOS, Android
Release Date: October 1st 2019 (Switch), September 2015 (PC/Mac), December 2014 (iOS/Android)