A few weeks ago I played and previewed the first two parts of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!, by Inkle Studios, based on the popular adventure gamebooks by British games designer Steve Jackson and illustrated by the very talented John Blanche…no, not the Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games, makers of Munchkin, but the other one, the one that’s one of the co-creators of Games Workshop, makers of Warhammer. That Steve Jackson.

Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Episode 3: The Seven Serpents releases on April 5, so before it goes live, here’s a little preview of what the new episode has to offer. It’s not a full playthrough of the episode as that would ruin the surprises and the choices, but you can enjoy the starting chunk with my dramatic—and clumsy—reading.

One of my complaints with the first Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! episode was that no matter what I chose I seemed to end up in the same place, same confrontation with a giant and very difficult Griffin. It annoyed me to no end so I will confess some trepidation in trying out Episode 3, but I had a better time with this one, even though it is significantly more difficult than earlier episodes. My choices were good and bad, but I ended up in a nice place and those choices I made seemed to have a bigger impact on the world around me, the last couple of them literally changing the landscape. It was awesome.

There are still some things I’m not fond of, particularly the Spirit Guide mechanic, where you pray for a random amount of healing. It’s nice in a pinch but the healing is very often so small that it’s not really worth it, particularly since the Guide then becomes unavailable for an indeterminate amount of time. Some clarification on when the Guide will return would do wonders convey the proper use of this mechanic.

Music is largely absent and it’s something that I feel hinders the atmosphere in Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! A lot comes from your own imagination, as it is essentially a text adventure, but some light tunes in the background would do wonders, as if you were playing a tabletop role-playing game and the game master had some music playing for ambience and atmosphere. The start of Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! has a wonderful tune, reminiscent of classic adventure films like Indiana Jones, but then it all dies away and there are many moments that could use a nice jolting melody to enhance the scenes and the immersion.

The quest is still ongoing and I’ll continue playing it. I’ll of course review Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!  once the full season is out, but I have to say Episode 3: The Seven Serpents is doing many good things! But the names of the places…they just crack me up!

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