This interactive adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure is a roleplaying game in the true sense of the term. As its title suggests, 80 Days tasks you with circumnavigating the globe quickly enough for Phileas Fogg to win his reckless wager; more surprising is how it affords you the rare pleasure of being able to shape the personality of an established literary figure.
In this instance, you’re cast not as Fogg, but his valet, Passepartout. Starting with just £4,000 in funds, you’re asked to pack as much as you can fit in a single suitcase before departing. The items you take can either be traded at markets for profit or kept for various benefits: the open-road set will make bumpy byways smoother, while the attire of a gentleman traveller may allow you to negotiate swifter passage. Set off and you’ll see a monochromatic image of your chosen transport against a sky that cycles through vivid colours as the hours tick on, a red line tracing your route.
Your available destinations are determined by several factors. There’s a thrill to discovering a new course, whether through conversation, investigation or by simply purchasing a booklet from a local market. You’ll see ribbons dart across land and sea, each one representing an opportunity, and not only to reach your intended target sooner, but also to discover a new city, to meet new people, to take in fresh sights, sounds and smells, all evocatively described in sharp prose.
Wherever you land, you’ll have decisions to make. Do you take a detour to sell a purloined cutlass for a tidy sum in Bangalore, or head straight to Delhi? You’ll weigh up the need to carry valuable goods with the cost of conveyance. En route, you’ll converse with captains, passengers and drivers, gleaning new routes and trading tips – though you’ll also need to attend to your master, lest his health falters and you lose valuable days.
Yet Passepartout is defined more by words than by deeds. Passages of text often ask you to make choices that reflect his innermost thoughts, and the moments where he observes his environment or reminisces are as affecting as his evening escapades are humorous. In conversation, you can be aloof or cynical, inquisitive or enthusiastic, cautious or impulsive.
80 Days captures the original text’s wide-eyed spirit of adventure, its fascination with the technological advancements of the time, and the wonders of the world itself. Before long, you’ll be enjoying the journey too much to worry about completing your task in good time. Whether or not you succeed matters little; with over 100 cities left unexplored on your maiden voyage, as soon as you touch down in London, you’ll immediately want to set off once more.
Travel details can be shared with fellow players. Tap any of the vehicle icons you’ll find spread across the map and you’ll be able to see the routes that others have chosen, as well as how long their journeys have taken