‘Feed The Tree’ ….Tin Man Games’ Forest Of Doom reviewed

Shape-shifting Tit

Just a hoodrat, out doing hoodrat shit

Before we kick off let’s get this straight ..I’m not an ‘app guy’. Hell, the only reason I even have a space phone now is because my wife was upgrading to the iPhone 5 and let me have her old model. Prior to that act of charity, I was perfectly happy kicking it Nokia style with a beaten up blower that could just about send a text and was held together with Sellotape. Owning up to date tech and communicating with other humans has just never been that important to me I guess. With all that in mind I feel a bit like I’m traipsing with my bumpkin boots all over OC’s cabbage patch. Sorry Chief.

Forest of Doom was the first Fighting Fantasy book I cheated my way through back in 1984, and was my gateway into RPG’s, Dungeons & Dragons and Wargaming in general. Those FF books along with Tolkien, CS Lewis, Terry Brooks and the Dragonlance series got me through some rough times when I was a kid and I’ll always be grateful for both the welcome escapism they provided and the inspired way they fired up my own imagination. It’s strangely fitting then that almost 30 years later, Tin Man Games conversion of Forest Of Doom provides me with my first dalliance with iOS gaming.

For those unfamiliar with the premise, you take on the role of an adventurer tasked with the mission of retrieving the two pieces of Gillibran the Dwarf King of Stonebridge fabled warhammer, allegedly pinched by a rival Dwarven community and lost within the gloomy depths of Darkwood Forest from whence the title of the game takes its name.

Punks jump up to get beat down

Punks jump up to get beat down

A visit to the elderly wizard Yaztromo’s (the Gandalf of the FF universe) tower on the edge of the forest provides you with information and the opportunity to purchase some magical items and provisions to start your journey into Darkwood.

FOD’S in game mechanics work in exactly the same manner as the original books with simulated dice rolls to establish a base level of skill, stamina and luck and also to engage in turn based combat with the assorted denizens of Darkwood. I soon discovered that it’s possible to put your own spin on the dice by shaking your phone about. Nice touch.

There’s a number of difficulty settings to choose from, so even those who’ve played the gamebooks to death as a child will find some fresh degree of challenge here. Older readers may be familiar with what is called “Free Read” mode which is basically the iOS equivalent of flicking a few pages ahead to the next paragraph (yeah, yeah we all did it) to see which direction or outcome suits you best. Soft. The difficulty settings also change the eventual outcome should you complete your mission so it’s worth having a crack at all of them. Considering myself something of an OG I went hard from the off with Hardcore Hero mode and got served my arse by an Ogre early on. So much for fortune and glory! As well as a bookmark function ( the iOS equivalent of keeping your thumb on the last good page) there are achievements to unlock throughout the course of the game, many relating to magical items that you can purchase, trade or murder to obtain.

Another upgrade from the book is an auto-mapping facility, a welcome addition to the Dungeoneers knapsack. Back in the day if you wanted to keep track of your progress you had to kick it with a pencil and paper and make an actual map of your journey, which if you were a friendless loser like myself, was all part of the fun.

There’s an extras tab on the front page, exploration of which yields welcome fruit in the form of a History Of Fighting Fantasy and the story of Forest of Doom courtesy of Ian Livingstone, complete with developmental artwork and notes! For die hard FF enthusiasts like myself, supplementary material like this is almost worth the price of the game itself and at £3.99 you cannot complain at all.

The Lonely Planet Guide To Titan.

The Lonely Planet Guide To Titan.

It’s this kind of attention to detail and obvious affection for the source material that makes Forest Of Doom such a joy to play. I’ve already managed to upset my colleagues at work by taking extended toilet breaks in order to get my dungeoneering fix throughout the day and it’s starting to get my wife’s goat too. Full props to Tin Man Games for their efforts here, they absolutely nailed it and fingers crossed that we get my personal favourite, City Of Thieves up next! And look out for future Corehammer articles exploring the Fighting Fantasy world in depth!

Visit Tin Man Games HERE
And yes, that is a Belly reference in the title. Take your hat off boy.

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About Nathan Bean

Tyrant/ Editor Nathan is a 'former member of...' numerous mediocre punk bands and internet gobshite and has been involved in the United Kingdom hardcore scene since the mid 90's. Now retired from active duty he spends his time writing about gaming, movies, music and comics, shouting at the television and threatening to start another band.

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