Review: Fighting Fantasy BloodBones (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)

Review: Fighting Fantasy BloodBones (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)
Review Score:

The Fighting Fantasy series is usually a collaborative effort between Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, but Bloodbones – a lost adventure that would have been the 60th book in the series had it been published – was actually written by freelance writer Jonathan Green and illustrated by Tony Hough. The adventure centers around the ‘Old World’, where pirates sail the high seas and where every town has a dimly-lit, smoke-filled tavern that is brimming with salty sea dogs and backstabbing scalawags.

As the story’s protagonist, it’s your personal mission to avenge the death of your parents by killing the pirate-lord Cinnabar. The adventure that lies ahead will be a difficult one, as thugs, thieves and even Cinnabar’s men will intervene at every step. Unlike previous Fighting Fantasy books, Bloodbones uses an ‘Hour’ system that keeps track of how long you stay at certain locations. The longer you stand around, the less time you will have for future events, fights and the final confrontation with Cinnabar. Keep this in mind if you’re a slow reader.BloodBones

Like its predecessors, Bloodbones includes three settings of difficulty: First is Adventurer, a mode where you play Bloodbones the way it was intended. You are given unlimited bookmarks (i.e. save games) and your Stamina (i.e health) is calculated by rolling two, six-sided dice + 12. Second is Hardcore Hero, a mode that is labeled the ‘Ultimate’ challenge. Your character’s Skill is calculated by rolling one, six-sided die +4, making you weaker.

Last is Free Read, a free-for-all mode that enables ‘unlimited’ healing for your character and the ability to unlock choices in the story that may be otherwise inaccessible. Additionally, you can move backwards in the story if you dislike the outcome. While playing in Free Read, you can be an ‘old-school cheater’ as the game politely implies. The character creation process is relatively simple and involves rolling a pair of six-sided dice to determine your character’s Stamina, Skill and Luck.

Once your character has been created, the story begins with you visiting ‘Old Town’ for clues of Cinnabar’s whereabouts. As you explore the quiet town, you learn that the evil pirate was killed at sea and that his minions are trying to resurrect him. From there, you must battle numerous thugs and cutthroats as you search for the pirates’ secret hideout to prevent Cinnabar’s revival. Many obstacles will stand in your way, so expect to die often. Thankfully, you can save your progress anytime during the adventure by using the in-game IMG_7458bookmarking system.

Combat is the same as it was in previous Fighting Fantasy books — it relies on a dice-rolling system where two-sided dice are rolled to determine the outcome. Like previous Fighting Fantasy games, a pair of white dice represent the player and a red pair represent the enemy. As the dice are rolled for both you and your enemy, they can be manipulated by shaking the iPhone.

The final dice rolls are then added to both you and your opponent’s Skill to determine who will attack. It is possible to increase the damage dealt to your enemy by ‘Testing Your Luck’.  Similar to combat, you must roll a number that is equal to or less than your Luck for it to work. Failing the Luck roll will weaken any damage already dealt to your enemy. This method can also be used to decrease the damage your enemy inflicts on your character, but it can also increase that damage if the roll fails.

Needless to say, Bloodbones continues the long-standing quality that both the Fighting Fantasy series and Tin Man Games are known for – robust story elements, knuckle-whitening combat sequences, and solid game mechanics. If you haven’t already, add Bloodbones to your Android/iOS collection today; you won’t be disappointed.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: iOS iPhone 6 (Also Available on Android)

Rated 12+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes
Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Infrequent/Mild Simulated Gambling

Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

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

BloodBones’ Official Website

Review Score
Like its predecessors, BloodBones contains high quality illustrations that compliment the story.
A cinematic soundtrack plays throughout the adventure.
Tin Man Games' has perfected their Gamebook engine and it shows when you play Bloodbones. .
Bloodbones is every bit as good as its predecessors, bar none.
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