Game Reviews

Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King

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Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King

Island of the Lizard King shows the confidence that Tin Man Games has in its ability to craft the finest digital gamebook adventures. And it's a well-earned confidence, after a year where the company has had solid hit after solid hit.

This time it's telling a classic Ian Livingston-penned adventure of kidnapped fishermen, giant sentient lizard beasts, and acid-spitting frogs.

With highly detailed, recoloured artwork, an engrossingly simple story of vengeance and violence, and plenty of high-pressure dice rolling, it's another engaging, polished escapade of the highest calibre.

Kingly

Once again you're choosing your own direction through the adventure, plotting your own course through a narrative labyrinth of twists, turns, and desperate fights against head-shrinking tribesmen. After a brief boat trip and a slosh of backstory, you're dumped onto the titular islet to fend for yourself.

Scraps and skill checks are handled with dice rolls, with the digital cubes rattling pleasantly around on your smartphone or tablet's screen.

A quick flick of the wrist when they land will give them another shake, and you've usually got time to quickly check whether the result is in your favour before giving them that second jolt.

The gamebook engine that's ticking over underneath the swordplay and potion drinking is as reliable as it ever was, and your progress through the story is always smooth and easy. Except when you get murdered by a multi-tentacled swamp beast.

An auto-mapping system keeps track of the paths you've taken, and your inventory and stats sheets are kept up to date behind the scenes. It all makes for an experience that focuses on the fun, rather than the book keeping of the gamebook experience.

Stamina potions

In a way that's a little sad, because a lot of the fun of the original Fighting Fantasy books came from your own input - drawing your maps, pencilling in the changes to your stats, and filling in the items in your inventory.

Still, Island of the Lizard King is an enjoyable, old-fashioned adventure that's held together by far more modern components.

It's fun, it's slick, and it's another worthy addition to the digital Fighting Fantasy canon that Tin Man Games is so ably accumulating.

Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King

A gripping dice-rolling adventure, Island of the Lizard King is another great Fighting Fantasy gamebook
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