The Forest of Doom (Review) iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad

The Forest of Doom (Review) iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad
Review Score:

Originally written by Ian Livingstone, The Forest of Doom is the third book in a series of paperback role-playing games called, ‘The Fighting Fantasy Series’. These books were similar to ‘Choose Your Own Adventures’, but they offered the reader more flexibility by allowing them to build a character (i.e. by rolling dice to determine stamina, skill and luck), collect items and store them in a handwritten inventory, and battle monsters using a 6-sided, two dice system.

Tin Man Games has brought The Forest of Doom to iOS devices, and like their previous releases – House of Hell and Blood of the Zombies – it’s just as engaging to play and entertaining to read.

As an adventurer and a sword for hire, you wander the wilderness for wealth and danger. While resting one night, a wounded dwarf by the name of Bigleg stumbles into your camp and collapses. Before dying, he speaks of the ‘hammer of Gillibran’ and how it will help the dwarves defeat the troll menace plaguing the land. He pleads for your help before finally passing away from his fatal wounds. Being a man of honor, you accept his plea for help and enter the Forest of Doom in search of the hammer.

Before the adventure can begin, you must determine your character’s stamina, skill and luck by rolling a pair of dice. Once this process is complete, you can choose how to experience the game. Not present in the original book (for obvious reasons) are three difficulty modes – Adventurer, Hardcore Hero, and Free Read. Adventurer mode plays exactly the way Ian Livingstone envisioned the game. Stamina is calculated by rolling two dice and adding +12 to the roll. You are also given unlimited bookmarks to ‘save’ your place in the story.

Hardcore Hero mode uses a single die to build your character, which makes your hero weaker during combat. Your character doesn’t receive any provisions for the adventure either. Free Read mode allows the player to ‘cheat’ by  unlocking choices that may not be available based on previous decisions. You can also flip back to previous pages and heal your character anytime with the ‘Heal Me’ button.

The Forest of Doom’s gameplay is identical to its predecessors; the player flips through pages with their finger as they experience the story. When decisions are available, blue indicators will appear on the page.  Since your decisions determine the outcome of the story, it’s important to ‘save’ your progress often by using the bookmark system. There is danger hiding behind every page turn and the game doesn’t hesitate to send the player into harms way. When you’re not exploring caves and abandoned wells, you’re investigating the unwelcoming dark environment of the forest where freeing a bandit from a bear trap – or a barbarian from his restraints – could lead to your untimely demise.

Combat relies on a dice-rolling system where two-sided dice are rolled to determine the outcome. A pair of white dice represent the player and a red pair represent the enemy. Once the dice are rolled, you can manipulate the roll for both parties once by shaking your iPhone. The rolls are then added to you and your opponent’s Skill to determine who will attack. It’s possible to increase the damage  you inflict on an enemy by ‘Testing Your Luck’.

This process works similar to combat, but you must roll a number equal to or less than your Luck skill for it to work. Failing the luck roll results in weakening any damage already dealt.

Due to the sheer size of the adventure, an auto-mapping system has been included to keep track of your progress. Additionally, an inventory system – much like the one from House of Hell and Blood of the Zombies – is used to store items from your adventure.  When you need to use a health potion, it’s as simple as clicking on the Adventure Sheet located at the bottom of the screen. And since the interface is clean and easy to understand, anyone can use it without having any prior knowledge of Fighting Fantasy books.

The Forest of Doom is just the third book in a series of many to come by Tin Man Games. Future releases include the first book in the series, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, as well as Deathtrap Dungeon, City of Thieves, Citadel of Chaos and my personal favorite, Appointment with F.E.A.R. . There are fifty-nine books in the entire series and hopefully Tin Man Games will release them all.

In the meantime, you owe it to yourself to experience The Forest of Doom. Despite being a book for young adults, its dark, ominous atmosphere and mature writing style can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages.

Mike Pittaro

Category: Games
Updated: Jun 28, 2013
Version: 1.2
Size: 133 MB
Language: English
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Developer: Tin Man Games
Publisher: Tin Man Games
Price: $5.99

Tin Man Games’ Website

Review Score
All the black and white illustrations from the original book have been beautifully remastered for the digital edition. Additionally, being able to view the book in landscape mode on an iPad is a plus.
An epic soundtrack plays as you experience the dark, foreboding world that Ian Livingstone has created.
The story and combat system make for a compelling experience.
Tin Man Games has change the way we experience role-playing games on our portable devices.
  • Melinda A. Blackwell

    the increasing dominance of video games in the 1990s caused a gradual decline. The series was scheduled to conclude with Return to Firetop Mountain (Book 50, Livingstone, 1992), but due to increased sales ten more books were written. Nine were published, the series ending with the Curse of the Mummy (1995). The tenth title Bloodbones (Book 60 in the overall series numbering), was eventually published by Wizard Books.