Down Among the Dead Men is a new game from Inkle Studios, who brought us Sorcery! Part 1, Sorcery! Part 2, 80 Days, and Frankenstein. It uses the same inklewriter tool as the rest of their games, which allows you to create your own interactive stories with amazing detail.
Watch the trailer:
Down Among the Dead Men is a pirate adventure in which you are the hero. Play as a male or disguised female – as a magician, a thief, a pirate, a governor’s daughter – and explore the high seas as you try to build up a crew and a ship hardy enough to take down to black-hearted pirate Skarvench and his ghoulish crew. Adapted from the original gamebook.
The original author of the gamebook from Fabled Lands Publishing is Dave Morris, and it was adapted for Inkle by Jon Ingold. I appreciated that I could pick to be either a man or a woman in disguise, and you also get to pick your background and how kind the fates in the world are (which affects difficulty). One of the lady backgrounds is unfortunately “g—-,” which I think should have been changed to reflect the greater cultural understanding of that word. The story is a fairly standard revenge tale, but can branch off in a lot of different ways. I had at least two things happen specifically because I was a lady. You’ll be able to get a LOT of mileage out of what you pay for this, despite it not being nearly as gamey as the Sorcery and 80 Days games. Where in those you were actively fighting and had an inventory and all that game jazz, in DAtDM the story is solely conveyed through text. You have a lot of choices to make though, so it’s not a passive experience by any means. There’s no audio except for the page selection noise. When you finish the game, you unlock the ability to replay individual chapters (there are seven, plus a prologue, a tiny chapter where you create your character, and an epilogue). This is a game I’ll definitely be revisiting to see what other paths and endings I can find.
Unfortunately, more than a few times in the early chapters, the ends of some sentences are cut off, which ruined some immersion for me. I’m hoping this will be fixed in a future update.
Despite being shorter than a typical inkle game with a few bugs, the price is still right on this one, AND you get to be a pirate! It would be an A- if those sentences weren’t cut off.
You can get Down Among the Dead Men on the App Store for $0.99. Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. Check out the official website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]