Into the City of Thieves: Review of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Part 2

You might remember my review of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Part 1, which I really enjoyed. That app was also recently updated to add a playable female character, changed how you cast spells (which I like much better than the previous way!), and made it easier to transfer saves between Part 1 and Part 2. Before I played Part 2, I replayed Part 1 as a woman – and ended up in a much better spot than last time. I had to play the iPhone version instead of the iPad version this time around, but I’m happy to report that it’s just as enjoyable on a smaller screen. Here’s the trailer:

Plot

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In Part 1, a fresh new hero set out across the vast Shamutanti Hills to recover the elusive Crown of Kings. Armed with only your wits, your sword, and your spellbook, you outsmarted fatal traps and overcame bloodthirsty monsters to reach the locked gate of Kharé. Beyond this lies a sprawling city on the brink of revolution — a place filled with thieves, weird creatures, secrets, and magic that you will now explore in Part 2.

Enter your code from the end of part one and you’re all set to go! You can also begin this game anew, but I wanted to continue my story. When you load, it gives you the saves it finds in a brief summary. You also get a story of your travels in part one before beginning part two. I felt like there was a bit more acknowledgement of my being a woman in this installment, but that’s probably because this one was developed from the start to include the female character.

Graphics and Sound

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Graphics are the same as in the first game. A gorgeous map, beautiful hand-drawn illustrations, and an intuitive interface all come together to make a great-looking game. It’s absolutely like a gamebook come to life. It also has a new effect, due to the size of Kharé, that will zoom into a specific building on the map for more detail. Some of these buildings also have multiple layers, which is awesome. I can’t emphasize enough how visually engaging this game is.

There are no voices in Sorcery! Part 2. Music is beautiful and varied, with selections from the first part and new additions. It’s very rich and appropriate for the setting. Sound effects are also well-utilized, varying with the environment.

Gameplay

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Gameplay hasn’t changed since the first game. The mechanics are all the same (with the addition of the new spellcasting system introduced in an update to Part 1). There is a slight difference in that instead of exploring a vast countryside, you’re limited to the city of Kharé – but the city is HUGE. It also feels more dangerous than the wilderness, because of everything you’ve heard about it (run by pirates and thieves, the traps you’ll encounter early on, etc). In the first game, enemies were creatures most of the time, but here you fight more fellow humans. You get more conversation because of the bustling city as well. The main quest this time around is to find clues that will allow you to open the spell on the North Gate of the city.

Part Two adds a minigame, Swindlestones, which is a dice-betting game. The first person who you meet who plays will teach you the rules, which are easy enough to pick up on. You’ll converse with people while you play, gleaning clues about your quest, and every time someone loses a round, they lose a die, making it much easier for you to play the game. It seems complicated at first, and don’t get cocky because you win the first game you play (I think the AI is easier that time), but it’s pretty fun to play.

If you get to the North Gate without knowing all the lines of the spell, you’ll be able to go back. You can also die in this game outside of combat, but it’s never inconvenient because you can rewind to any decision you make in the game. Part 2 is considerably longer than Part 1, with more branching paths and decisions to make.

Final Thoughts

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Everything I loved about Sorcery! Part 1 is back in the second installment, with the bonus of being a longer game. Get this immediately if you love interactive fiction and/or fantasy settings. The Inkle engine is a perfect fit for Sorcery! I am eager for Part 3 to be released. Don’t get lost in Kharé…

Score: A

You can get Sorcery! Part 2 on the App Store for $4.99. It requires iOS 5.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. Part 1 is the same price and can be picked up here, which I recommend – you miss out on the first chunk of story without it! Check out Inkle’s official site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]

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6 thoughts on “Into the City of Thieves: Review of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Part 2

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  5. I have to agree Part 2 is even better than Part 1. I played through these books when I was young, and have fond memories. The first app was a great nostalgia trip and followed the book faithfully with only a few deviations. The second app is faithful to the setting and tone of the books, but expands on them significantly, with lots of new events, locations and choices. Great game.

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