In the last couple of days, I’ve been arrested in Berlin, kissed a man in New Orleans, joined a small Russian invasion force of India, been captured by pirates, cultists and mutineering sailors, and travelled around the world twice. 80 Days is a smartphone game developed by Inkle based on the Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days. As Passpartout, ever-loyal valet to Phineas Fogg, you must choose the destinations and methods of completing Fogg’s wager
The game plays out as a choose-your-own-adventure. Text scrolls along the the screen and you are given an option. There is no way of telling which option is better, will lead to what. Instead, you select your response and more text fills in. Maybe it is simply teasing the captain of the West Africa Squadron for his admiration of the Captain of the airship you are flying on, or perhaps it is helping a ‘toymaker’ in Northern India rebel against the British. Whatever the stakes, there is a story to be told – and as you are directly affected in the achieving, or not, of your goal, then you care.
The script is excellent. Passpartout – you – are sufficiently world-weary and bitter to be amusing, and yet hold absolute loyalty to your master. The world is a Steampunk one, with airships and mechanical elephants and voodoo birds, but nonetheless is fully realised. It holds to the late 18th Century attitudes, quietly judges them and invites you to join in.
There’s other parts to the game to – money is made buying and selling things in the market, there is a health costfor Fogg associated with travelling, but these are sideshows. I’m here for the story, and boy what a story. Over 500,000 words of script, random, every changing, always exciting, For a commute, 80 Days is perfect. For a couple of quid, you’d be stupid not to buy it.