Can you travel around the world in 80 days?
Created by inkle studios, 80 Days spins the classic Jules Verne tale into a fresh, interactive story with thousands of outcomes at your fingertips. As the assistant to Phileas Fogg, the man who has taken a wager to circumnavigate the globe within 80 days, you must make decisions that will take you across the finish line in time, all while balancing your bank account, your relationship to Phileas Fogg, and the obstacles standing in your way!
It’s 1872, and your journey starts now.
The choices are endless, no matter how many times you play.
One of the great joys of the interactive novel format is its flexibility, and 80 Days embraces that wholly. Though you will always begin and end your journey in London, the stops you make along the way can vary with every playthrough! My first time through, I elected to travel through Europe, the Middle East, India, and parts of the Pacific Ocean and South America before frantically winging my way northward to the finish line. But with options to lead you through Africa, Asia, and North America also existing, the places you can visit feel endless!
More importantly, each city presents a unique set of choices. From varying marketplaces, encounters that sometimes depend on previous decisions you’ve made, and music to suit the atmosphere, every inch of the journey has a life of its own! Try not to get too caught up in all the wonder, though; while traveling between cities, you sometimes must make split second decisions inside and out of conversation. In doing so, you may improve your relationship with your employer, discover new routes forward, or receive valuable intel about some of the stops that lie ahead.
Even though I only played once, I had a blast!
When I bought 80 Days, I expected it to take half an hour tops. Instead, my first run went for about an hour, and presented me with so many more choices than I anticipated! More than that, even though I made good time at the beginning of the voyage, the final days presented a surprisingly amount of (good) stress. After all the careful decisions and budgeting I did along the way, I didn’t know if I could succeed until I’d actually done it! The suspense made for an excellent, engaging experience.
This is not the best party game, though, and it does require time.
Since many of the decisions must be made in literal seconds, while the clock keeps ticking, there isn’t much time to consult anyone else if you’re playing in a group. I’m typically a solo player and I read fast, so it doesn’t trouble me very much, but I can see these features presenting problems for other players, or for folks who want to share the experience.
Additionally, it’s not a quick game, like I said. My run took roughly an hour, which was way more time than I was expecting, and though the immersion was amazing, it wasn’t the quick jaunt I had hoped for. Plus, after all that time, I was disappointed to see that the game doesn’t reveal your stats. All through the adventure, you see little notices about the quality of your relationship with Fogg, and about your own personal characteristics. Without an end of game stats page, though, a lot of these features remain invisible in a way that frustrates me. Sure, I can see how much money I finished the game with, and how many days it took to travel around the world, but I want to see the nitty gritty mechanics!
Overall, though, 80 Days is a clever game with endless replayability.
It’s available for a number of platforms, as listed on the official website, including the Nintendo Switch! If you have some time to kill, or a gift card to burn this holiday season, I recommend giving it a try! When we can’t quite travel in real life, this fictional globe trot dazzles with a hint of steampunk and adventure, wrapped up in something that feels like it could have aired in a BBC drama. 🌍