Appointment With F.E.A.R. is a pretty huge departure from Tin Man Games's other Fighting Fantasy game book adaptations.
Where the others have stuck pretty closely to the physical books they're based on, Appointment With F.E.A.R. plays around with the template, offering a choose-your-own-adventure comic book that rattles along at a surprisingly brisk pace.
One obvious omission is the lack of digital dice. Scraps rush past in a few taps now, with the violence calculations all happening behind the scenes.
There are whomps and swooshes to accompany each of your blows, all drawn in bold comic fonts that crackle with Silver Age energy.
And it all feels fresh, from the simple character creation to the cheeky sense of humour that runs through the story. There are a few missteps here and there, but Appointment With F.E.A.R. is a bold new chapter in the iOS gamebook tale.Don't be late
The game is all about keeping the titular appointment with a group of super villains. You're the hero of Titan City, and it's up to you to stop a global cataclysm from happening on you our watch.
But you also need to eat breakfast, dig up clues, join the dots between the leads you've dug up, and brawl with any super villains you come across.
You build your character from a few choices. You pick your powers, your costume, and your super hero moniker, then head out into Titan City to try and right some wrongs.
Different powers make the game play in different ways. You might be able to fly during one play through, but the next opt for a gadget-focused super-genius instead of the more standard cape-and-incorrectly-worn-underwear hero.Super punch
Fights give you three different options to choose from. One doesn't do much damage but is likely to hit all the time, the second is stronger but could miss, and the third packs a wallop but will probably miss a good chunk of the time.
After you've take a swing, or thrown a gadget, your foe has a crack at you. These battles are usually over in a few rounds, and at the end you get a collectible F.E.A.R. card. These are a neat extra twist that give you a reason to go back into the game and play again.
The story snaps by at a pace. Your crime watch beeps up alerts, and as you wander through the city you pick up quests and narrative tidbits in the things you encounter.Caped crusades
It's not incredibly interactive, and some people might find the narrative heavy experience is a little too far close to the book part of gamebook.
But it's a great introduction to the genre, and the rich new ideas and gorgeous presentation on display here mean that fans will likely find something that piques their interest here.
Appointment With F.E.A.R. is a brilliant and engrossing addition to the gamebook canon. It shakes things up, plays around gleefully with its own formulas, and isn't afraid to poke fun at super heroes in general.
This is a game that's fun and clever in equal measure, and shows that there's life, and innovation, in the gamebook genre yet.