While at first The Sinister Fairground appears to be a virtual choose-your-own-adventure book set in a creepy fairground, it is actually more than what it seems.
The mobile game borrows a lot of elements from RPGs, allowing it to be more than just a novel. In a way very similar to inkle’s Sorcery! titles, The Sinister Fairground has an over-world that players can use to pick where they want to go in the story. There are many locations to choose from, and after one is chosen then the game switches to text.
Just like the classic choose-your-own-adventure novels, The Sinister Fairground features a page of text with various choices of the page. Normally, the choices are fairly standard—do you want to go left or right? However, some choices may require that you have certain items in your inventory to select them.
In fact, The Sinister Fairground also focuses greatly on item gathering. Various things, such as money, health-giving food, or story items, may be picked up. These tend to have an impact later in the game, and will allow your character to go somewhere he normally couldn’t before. At the same time, items such as armor and weapons may also be picked up and used.
Both armor and weapons have an impact on combat. Similar to some RPG choose-your-own-adventure books, like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, combat revolves around rolling dice and crossed fingers. In order to hit your opponent, your dice rolls have to be larger than a certain number. The number is decided on your weapon. If a hit is successful, the amount of damage is determined by your equipped weapon. Armor can absorb some of the damage taken, however, if you are lucky enough to find some.
After successfully defeating an enemy, your character will gain experience points. These can be used to level up several different abilities. Completing challenges, such as answering a riddle, or choosing the right path can also give you experience points. Ultimately, choosing what the level up will have a large impact on gameplay styles and the outcome of levels, so be sure to pick carefully.
The Sinister Fairground is currently available for iOS.