Spurred by a recent obsession with shows like The Gilded Age, I’ve been chasing down any kind of entertainment that can provide that late-19th / early-20th century flavor. I wasn’t expecting to find any good mobile games that capitalized on such a specific – and antiquated – setting, but 80 Days somehow managed to deliver exactly the experience I was hoping for.
A text adventure from the legendary team over at inkle Ltd (the masterminds behind the acclaimed Sorcery! Series), 80 Days is a reimagined take on Jules Verne’s famous novel, Around the World in 80 Days, following the exploits of gentleman adventurer Phileas Fogg and feel dedicated valet Passepartout.
Text adventures aren’t for everyone, but they’re an incredible form of modern storytelling that is uniquely well-suited to mobile platforms. If you’re looking for the bridge between books and games, look no further than 80 Days for Android.
Not your cup of tea? Then check out our best Android games to find something more favorable to your palette.
A journey of a lifetime – but plan strategically
If you’re unfamiliar with Around the World in 80 Days, here’s the gist: Phileas Fogg, a wealthy but socially reclusive English gentleman, wagers half his entire fortune that he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. Up against the clock with the remaining half of his fortune at his disposal, Fogg and his trusty valet set off on their unprecedented undertaking.
A simple enough concept, but practically speaking, I can’t imagine many other novels that would make a better text-based adventure game. 80 Days executes its literary origins’ concepts by placing you in the shoes of Passepartout. As Fogg’s valet, Passepartout is responsible for organizing every last part of the journey.
From planning routes, bribing boat captains, and chartering dirigibles, to the simplest of tasks like maintaining the luggage, ironing shirts, and keeping Fogg happy, Passepartout must do it all to ensure the success of their unimaginable voyage.
80 Days is ultimately a strategic choose-your-own-adventure, of sorts. The world is vast and full of options as you travel to new locations, constantly weighing the pros and cons of each potential leg of the journey.
For example, you can take two different routes to get to Munich, one by car and one by train. The train is faster and more comfortable, but it departs in three days and tickets are expensive. On the other hand, hiring a car is a slower, rougher ride, but it departs tomorrow morning, so you would wind up getting to Munich faster with fewer resources being used by choosing this route.
Furthermore, as you arrive in each new location, or even while traveling between locations, you have opportunities to chat with the locals, explore your surroundings, shop at the markets, and even take out loans from the bank if your funds are running low.
This lends a decent amount of strategy to your planning purposes. Maybe you’re low on cash now, but there’s a painting for sale in the market that’s worth a fortune in Beirut. You can buy it now on the cheap and sell it for thousands if you choose a route that will take you through Beirut.
You can also learn all sorts of useful things from seeking out and talking to the locals. They can reveal crucial information about other locations, clue you in on rumors that might be worth investigating, or even reveal entirely new routes.
Throughout this wonderful journey, the writing is, of course, superb. Conversations between Passepartout and others provide their own suite of possible replies, allowing you to steer the narrative in many different directions. Thanks to the sheer volume of options both in travel and text, there’s a ton of replayability here.
The entire ordeal is made all the more fascinating through the use of excellent sound design, gorgeous orchestral music, and bold silhouettes against vibrant color schemes. The overall effect feels like playing out the novel through its illustrations, which I greatly enjoyed.
Possibilities are endless in 80 Days
As I said, this type of game isn’t for everyone, but if you have a love of travel, careful planning, exploration, taking risks, and great narrative, then 80 Days is probably going to blow your mind.
This delightful experience is available for free to Play Pass subscribers, otherwise, it’s a $ 5.99 premium game without ads or in-app purchases that you can download to your best Android phone. There are so many different ways for this game to play out, I can’t recommend it enough.