Ye Olde Spellbooke? Remember, kids, an excessive use of E’s is always a good measure of the age and magical ability of any dusty and mysterious book you may come across, especially if you happen to find it in a critically-acclaimed adventure game from the Golden Age of LucasArts and Sierra.
Under ordinary circumstances, a game originally released in 1993 would be quite dated, but, thanks to fantastically witty writing and timeless themes, classic adventure games tend to age exceptionally well, and Simon The Sorcerer is a prime example of this. Like Monkey Island, Simon The Sorcerer is considered one of the all-time greats of point-and-click adventure games, and it’s now available in App Store!
The basic story is simple: gloriously snarky and wannabe-wizard Simon discovers an old chest containing a mysterious book. Naturally, the book transports him and his dog Chippy to a magical and hilarious land, where he must use his wits and wiles to rescue the wizard Calypso.
The game requires you to solve various puzzles, usually requiring you to combine and use items you come across in creative ways. I love this style of adventure puzzles, but finding items does tend to require a certain amount of vigilance, thanks to a small screen and cumbersome controls. You have a choice of controls, either classic where you drag around a cursor or touch-based, and you can change them on the fly. They’re both rather awkward to use, but you do mostly get used to it.
Keep in mind, mastering the unwieldy controls is more than worth it to experience the oodles of giddy hilarity waiting for you. The writing alone is top-notch, but the game also delivers some absolutely superb voice work, with Simon’s many fantastically dry one-liners at its heart. Unlike Monkey Island, the graphics haven’t received an update, so it’s definitely something of a blurred pixel-fest, but the original designers really knew how to make the best of the limited technology, and all the locations (of which there are many) sport their own distinct design and charm.
Control-issues aside, this is a solid port of a truly fantastic adventure game. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it does a great job of helping to re-introduce a criminally under-appreciated genre to the iPhone. Nostalgia-seekers will get a kick out of playing this retro delight again, and new players will wonder how in the world they’d missed this exceptional game all these years. If you like well-written, funny games packed with story and a lot of heart, trust me when I say, this is the app to buy.
Here is a video demo of the Simon The Sorcerer app on the iPhone
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