Interactive Fiction Game of the Year 2013

By Owen Faraday 16 Dec 2013 0
Turn the page to see who won. Turn the page to see who won.

Our Interactive Fiction Game of the Year for 2013 is to digital gamebooks what the monolith was to the apes at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Nerdy games within nerdy games. Nerdy games within nerdy games.

Sorcery! might be based on a 30-year-old gamebook, but there's no game on mobile this year that was more ambitious. English developers Inkle took a proven core of interactive fiction and wrapped it in presentation and gameplay the likes of which we'd never seen in a gamebook.

Other interactive fiction makers like Tin Man and Choice of Games create wonderful stuff for mobile, but their games could all conceivably work as paper books. With Sorcery!, Inkle have made something truly endemic to touchscreen computers, and the difference is startling. Sorcery! is Michael Jordan. Sorcery! is a too-big-to-fail bank. It's just not playing the same game as everybody else, because it's on another level.

Sorcery! is well-written, of course (it's a classic, after all) but the RPG super-structure that Inkle have built atop that classic is just amazing. There's a fully fleshed-out combat system, a truly unique 3D spell-casting system, and exquisite water-colour and pen-and-ink artwork. It's better than any gamebook ever was in your head when you were a kid.

When Sorcery! Part 1 was released back in the spring, we were wowed by the look and feel but less than impressed with the brevity of the experience. Sorcery! Part 2: Khare, The Cityport of Traps redeems all of that and more: it's a huge game by any measure, one that you can pour hours and hours into and still not explore every nook and corner of its titular setting.

With the exception of Year Walk, it's hard to think of a game that so fully inhabits its platform as Sorcery! does. It's a feather in mobile gaming's cap and a new gold standard that interactive fiction will have to match up to.

Runner-up: The Fleet

Honourable Mention: Joe Dever's Lone Wolf

To see all the games recognized in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2013 Awards, visit the awards index page.
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