Gather round, fellow travelers, and kick up your feet by the hearth for Sorcery! 2, which brings something to the iOS that the system has rarely seen: pen and paper-style role-playing. If you've ever picked up a d20, if you know what your armor class is, if you can calculate Thac0 in your sleep, Sorcery! 2 may be just the right thing for you.

In true pen and paper fashion, Sorcery! 2 offers players a winding, text-based story complete with occasional sound effects and charmingly-drawn black and white artwork; it's like playing first edition Dungeons and Dragons, but in a single-player, portable form. At the outset, players are given a choice between a male and female avatar (a welcome option that more developers should include), and from there go on an epic adventure throughout the dangerous city of Khare. Though Sorcery! 2 gets categorized as a game, one could also categorize it as interactive fiction, like a digital version of those old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. This bad boy is old school, but in a good way, so anyone experienced in the elder ways will likely find their nostalgia bone tickled time and time again.

As most of Sorcery! 2's gameplay builds around the player reading what's going on, it's a good thing, then, that the writing is so well-done. Paragraphs craft precise moods using prose reminiscent of classic fantasy novels, with occasional breaks to allow the player some choice in the affairs. And, unlike other games which offer the illusion of choice, Sorcery! 2's choices can lead to things going off the freaking rails, big-time, which is part of why it's great that developer inkle Studio included the "rewind" option, allowing players to jump backwards in the story if they want to see how things would have turned out had they chosen differently. Another welcome feature is the ability to import data from the first Sorcery!, so those who've already experienced the first part of this text-heavy adventure can have a continuation of their previous exploits.

On the more game-y side of things, there is an inventory to (somewhat) manage, and a spell system which allows players to cast a variety of magics, so long as they remember the correct verbal components and have obtained the correct physical components. Again, it's very reminiscent of classic tabletop games, and does a great job of pulling you in. The controls and aesthetics are all appropriately minimal, for the most part, though the character artwork has some fantastic detail to it which lends Sorcery! 2 a deeper sense of credibility.

On a gaming platform crowded with endless "free to play" clones, one company has the brave booties to release a title that digs into the past of gaming while foregoing the flash and glitziness most companies rely on to entice gamers. Sorcery! 2 certainly isn't for everyone, but, as a text adventure for the digital age, it's an experience that's second-to-none.


App Store Link: Sorcery! 2 for iPhone & iPad | By inkle | Price: $4.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 210 MB | Rating 12+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating