COVID-19 cancelled your Semester 2 exchange? Don’t worry! Inkle games have got your back. 80 Days is a video game loosely based on Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days. The premise is simple: you, an aristocrat living in an alternate-reality version of 1800s England, have bet your friend you can make it around the world in 80 days. Now you have to make good on that promise, by picking your way through the spider’s web of beat-up trains, wheezing steamboats, and rattly airplanes criss-crossing the globe.
On the surface, 80 Days might look like nothing more than a fun little logistical puzzle: there’s no one easy route around the globe, as different transportation methods cost different amounts, have different perks, leave at different times, have varying chances of running into unexpected stoppages, and more. But that’s not the real game.
80 Days is actually a stylised choose-your-own-adventure book. Every location you visit, every character you encounter, every mode of transportation you take will unlock a new story which is displayed on the screen like an endlessly unravelling novel. The real game lies in these cute little stories – in one city, you might help a group of villagers fend off bandits. In another, you might uncover the forgotten treasures of a long lost civilisation. All these stories are vivid, funny, and extremely well written. Best of all, there’s hundreds of them, and they all combine and interact in different ways, depending on which cities you happen to visit and in which particular order.
So, if the travel ban has got you feeling down, pick up a copy of 80 Days. It’s more fun than you would have had on your contiki, anyway.