Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Developer & Publisher: Tin Man Games
Overall rating: 9/10
I have a soft spot in my heart for CYOA books, and this one totally took me to the past.
The Forest of Doom by Tin Man Games is a choose your own adventure (CYOA) game, and as such, you can expect it is only a text adventure and there will be no fancy graphics beyond an illustration or two along what’s essentially just a digital version of a book, with some extra interactive perks.
The Forest of Doom mixes typical CYOA gameplay with the dice rolling of RPG games to decide whether or not you win or pass certain encounters. This means you will also be rolling for stats, and you can get either really good or really bad ones, depending on your luck. I honestly quite enjoyed the mix of these two game styles, even if the fights and encounters ended up being completely luck based because of the dice.
If you’ve never read a CYOA book, it works like this: You reach a point in which you’re given two or more choices, and it indicates what page to turn to continue the story on the proper path. There are several different endings, some failure, some death, and a ‘true’ one. Some of the choices might be obscured if you’re lacking in knowledge or items.
Controls for this are pretty simple: You just flip pages by clicking and click choices as they appear. You have a bookmarking function to return to a previous point in the book, plus maps, art, etc.
At the start of the story you may also pick what difficulty you want to play in. The Forest of Doom offers 3, a normal (or “medium”) difficulty, a harder difficulty, and a “free read” difficulty which allows you to cheat – you can heal yourself or uncover options you might have not had otherwise, in order to get through the entire book.
The story is fairly simple (you’re a warrior who -rather randomly- decides to help some dying dwarf fulfill his last duty), and while it might be predictable and might not be a literary achievement, I think it’s a great story that younger people would enjoy, even if the ending(s) are lacking a bit.
The graphics were good as far as backgrounds went, the art was pretty good with places, maps and areas, not so good with human figures.
The music was good, but repetitive and annoying at the moment of reading, so I muted it. But then, I 99% of the time mute music while playing.
The only real disappointing thing was that you could not backtrack without using free read and cheating, you chose a path, east, west, north, but could not return where you’d come from, and thus you could easily miss the things you needed for the good ending without a chance of ‘exploring’ for them.
I did encounter one bug while playing: though my steam settings specified English the game still started in Spanish; after it downloaded an update it was half in Spanish, half in English, and I had to go into settings and re-set them to English for the game to take it. It was a silly bug, small and didn’t deter from the actual gameplay, but annoying nonetheless.
All in all it was a fun, quick read, and it brought back plenty of nice memories, but better grab it when it’s on sale, as I don’t feel with the length it’s worth the full price.