WHAT IS A TEXT-BASED GAME?

101; a text-based game is a “video game” that uses words and simple mechanics (like text commands) to control a story’s characters and influence its environment. Usually these experiences are narrative-driven role playing and/or adventure games.

HERO TO ZERO

Text games, or interactive fiction (IF) as it’s also called, was hot in “The 80’s” when computers were effectively learning to walk. As personal computers became more powerful with the ability to show graphics, the adventure game format became popular. Essential elements of the genre include(d) exploration and puzzle solving with an emphasis on story and character often drawing from other narrative works in literature and film. Then, in the early 2000s, with the rise of first-person shooter games, the popularity of low-budget text games faded, becoming the small fish in a hyper produced pond of Triple-A games.

THE COMEBACK KID

In recent history however, with the proliferation of social media networks like Twitter and Facebook and the success of crowdfunding indie game makers, we’ve seen a resurgence in the building and playing of text-based adventure games. They are a low-cost, highly creative way to build a game … for developers AND for people who can’t code but have stories to tell! It seems that narrative-centric content (case-in-point Netflix) is resonating with audiences once again.

Here are a few interactive fiction games we played and reviewed this week:


FLIGHT RISING

Game Type: Role-Playing Game (RPG) Strategy Turn-Based Fighting Game

Genre & Sub genre(s): Fantasy Virtual Pet

Reviewed by: Grace

Fun Factor, Addictiveness

Flight Rising is a browser-based social game where players control a clan of pet dragon sims. Collect special items including skins, and treasures which can be earned by playing a variety of mini-games.

Worldbuilding / Story

“Sornieth” is the home of the dragon gods. Shade, the evil dragon god is trying to destroy the world and the dragons must come together against him to protect their lands. Unfortunately, the story is revealed through the encyclopedia but, we would have much preferred to uncover the tale through gameplay.

Inventiveness

Players can contact, trade, and battle with their dragons in the game competing for weekly special bonuses/boosts. Players can download .PSD file of the dragon’s design. They can re-upload a customized version to the website or sell it to another player.

Challenging vs. Impossible

Gameplay is difficult to grasp because developers don’t provide any tutorials. There are too many options and features to explore which means it takes time to level up. For example, when two dragons are breeding, they cannot breed again for few days. Also not a fan of the dragon colour randomization - makes it hard to match.

Registration

Players can only have one account. There are specific policies and strict rules to follow but support is quick and effective. Constant updates of items and features holds the player’s interest.

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TORN CITY

Game Type: Role-Playing Game (RPG) Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)

Genre & Sub genre(s): Crime Underworld Dystopian Fantasy

Reviewed by: Jenni

Fun Factor, Addictiveness

Torn is a MMORPG, encompassing the classic traits of the genre that make MMORPGs highly addicting for millions of players. The leaderboard, quests, endless exploration, and constantly rewarding a player’s progress makes games like Torn worth the grind.

Worldbuilding / Story

Located in the city of Torn, a dystopian-like city where everyone fends for themselves. Players start from the bottom and work their way up to owning companies, leading the best faction, or pulling off the biggest crimes. Players can be whoever they want in this world.

Inventiveness

The breadth of the world of Torn is endless. Your tasks from going to class, working a job, committing crimes, going to the gym, etc. are abundant. Players can even get married and live “virtual lives”.

Challenging vs. Impossible

The game was very easy to start playing -- NPCs give you tasks. I ended up randomly clicking on things to upgrade because I wasn’t too sure what the best strategy would be.

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Comparable Games:


CREATURES SUCH AS WE

Game Type: Role-Playing Game (RPG)

Genre & Sub genre(s): Sci-fi Romance

Reviewed by: Joan

Fun Factor, Addictiveness

I really enjoyed this game for its role-playing elements and story complemented by romance/nature art.

Worldbuilding / Story

The game plays around with the ‘Game Within a Game’ trope and is technically set on the moon. As a choice-based game, the choices you make affect the story and gives the game a good replayability factor.

Inventiveness

The game feels different from other similar games like, Choice of Dragons as it felt like reading a solid short story rather than short sentences that form a brief story. I found myself feeling more immersed in this game and thanks to its short story format, I had more opportunities to use my imagination than other text-based games.

Challenging vs. Impossible

There is no strategy involved in this game and as a choice-based game, the story changes based on whatever choice you make. Very little to no challenge.

ITUNES ANDROID PLAY NOW

BROWSER DOTA

Game Type: Turn-based Strategic RPG Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)

Genre & Sub genre(s): Fantasy Survival

Reviewed by: Krystal

Fun Factor, Addictiveness

A virtual tug-of-war, players must strategically craft their heros and build their teams negotiating the best combination of strengths and weaknesses. The addictive factor - you want to be the best.

Worldbuilding / Story

Set in virtual battle arena, this is a turn based text experience in real time.

Inventiveness

This game forces players to use their imaginations and test strategies with a huge range of skills and weapons with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Challenging vs. Impossible

Strategy is at the center of gameplay; especially when facing more experienced players, you have to think through all the traits you give a hero.

Battles

Each battle occurs with the click of a button and users aren’t able to engage in the live battle so, the experience can become mundane, especially for an unexperienced player like myself.

PLAY NOW

Comparable Games:


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