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80 Days Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Don't be fooled by its simple look, 80 Days is a masterpiece of interactive storytelling. It's a mix of a Choose Your Own Adventure book and tabletop game, giving players an a new experience every time. After playing this Steam port, it's easy to see why everybody raved about the iOS original. Rating: 92%
80 Days
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As modern day tourists, we take speedy travel for granted. Thanks to advances in airplane technology, it would only take a few days to make it all the way around the Earth. But that wasn't the case 150 years ago. Making the full circumference of the planet in the 1800s meant catching dozens of types of transportation, including everything from horses-drawn carriages to hot air balloons.

80 Days is here to remind you of the perils of 19th century travel. Inspired by the popular Jules Verne book, this game tests our decision-making prowess in a race around the world in, you guessed it, 80 days. It's an oddly addictive adventure game that plays out like a cross between a Choose Your Own Adventure book and board game. It's an incredibly original concept that kept me glued to the screen, even when I knew there was no way of making it back to London in time.

Already a massive hit on mobile devices, 80 Days sees players take control of Passepartout, the traveling companion to the fabulously wealthy socialite Phileas Fogg. It's up to you to not only keep the adventurer in good health, but also do all the shopping and plan the entire trip. This means budgeting your time, discovering new routes by talking to locals and always negotiating for the best rates.

It doesn't take long for the adventure to start. The game picks up with Monsieur Fogg convincing his trusty manservant to pack the bags and hit the road as quickly as possible. There's no time to waste. Once the traveling duo makes it to France, it's up to the player to find the best path in the shortest amount of time. Trust me, it's most complicated than you think.

There are three things players must pay attention to at all times. The first one is Monsieur Fogg's health. He may be a pain in the butt sometimes, but there's no adventure to go on if the millionaire kicks the bucket. Speaking of which, it's also important to keep an eye on the funds. Every element of this trip cost money, so it's vitally important to keep some on hand. And it probably goes without saying that you will need to keep an eye on the calendar, that way you can make it back to London before the 80 days are up.

With time constantly ticking down, Passepartout is forced to make a lot of split second decisions without knowing the consequences. Sometimes helping a stranger will open up a new travel route that save both money and time. Strangers will also warn our travelers to avoid certain cities embroiled in political strife. Of course, it's just as easy to miss all this by saying the wrong thing or spending too much time pampering Monsieur Fogg.

80 Days (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

With so many cities to visit and different paths to take, there's no way you'll see everything the first time around. In fact, it's going to take dozens of repeat trips before you start to make a dent in the 500,000 word script. Even when I intended to repeat my steps, I constantly found new and exciting events pop up that changed the way I circumnavigated the globe.

As you might imagine, our heroes will spend a lot of time riding in various forms of transportation. The 19th century setting allows the player to cram onto trains, boats, zeppelins and even a walking city. Each mode of transport comes with its own unique problems, problems that can send our adventurers off course if they're not careful. Something as simple as an illness or mutiny can have a deleterious effect. You should always expect the unexpected, because how you handle the hardship of travel may be what keeps you from making it back to London in 80 days.

As stressful as circumnavigating the globe can be, I never felt unsatisfied when my journey came up short. The writing is constantly engaging and always comes across like it's being written just for me. Each round played out like a new book, and I couldn't wait to jump back in for another adventure. Even when everything that can go wrong does go wrong, the seamlessness of the writing ensures that every game will be a fulfilling experience.

The good news is that this trip around the world won't require an 80 day investment. I found that I was able to make the entire journey in just about two hours. This is the perfect length, as it's short enough to be completed in a single sitting and yet long enough to still feel significant. The moment I wrapped up one trip, I immediately wanted to jump back in and take a completely different route.

80 Days (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Because time is always a concern, 80 Days has a significantly faster pace than most games in the genre. You'll spend so much of the time interacting with locals, buying items and planning your next course, you'll begin to forget that this is primarily a visual novel. By adding board game elements, 80 Days is an exciting trek around the world that just about anybody can get into.

The presentation is simple and clean. We don't get elaborate cinema scenes or action shots, just basic cut-outs for the various cities and modes of transportation. There also isn't any voice acting, so players will spend a lot of their time reading. The music is used sparingly and each section of the map has its own unique sounds and ambience. I like the way the game looks, but it's not going to appeal to those looking for bleeding edge graphics.

As somebody with only a passing interest in interactive novels, I was floored by how much I loved 80 Days. There's enough strategy and planning here to remind me of some of my favorite tabletop games, and the writing is on a whole other level. You may not learn a lot of accurate history from 80 Days, but you'll definitely want to update your passport for this trip.
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