Joe Denver rose to prominence during the 1980s as his fantasy novel writing career took off. Even decades later, thousands of fans still read his epic stories of demons, monsters and gruesome battles set in a mystical landscape.
Loyal readers of his work might be supposed to hear a new story, Lone Wolf, is being released as a video game for mobile devices. However, this is more than the usual ‘gamification’ of popular fiction.
A Game for Bookworms
The main difference is that the app acts as a novel which readers must read. Everything from page turns to zooming is catered for. Most pages carry illustrations or characters so you can see what’s happening in the scene that’s being described. This adds a great element of suspense and storytelling to the game. It’s an obvious tribute to the popular novels.
At certain sections of the novel there will be a button the player can press; these often take the form of multiple choice allowing the player to dictate what will happen in the storyline. This will draw them into an immersive 3D world where they must resume the story where the novel let off. For example, you could be reading about an impending battle and then have to actually enter the game to fight it!
Great Combat from the Start
The combat system has been designed with this game in mind. Users of smartphones with small screens will be pleased as the on-screen buttons to block, hit and move are all very easy to use. Don’t let the innovative controls fool you though; this game is very difficult. This is generally down to the speed at which opponents attack you. Particularly in the first few fights, new players will be taken aback by the speed at which they’ll have to mash the controls.
Your character has a multitude of weapons although the sword is very often the primary choice. You fight numerous opponents throughout the novel with increasing levels of difficulty.
Unfortunately, the combat can get quite boring and repetitive. After a while, I found myself just ‘going through the motions’ of fighting in order to be able to keep reading the actual novel.
Graphics are Give and Take
I found the graphics to be quite good although there are some glaring problems. Characters eyes resemble gleaming balls of light burning bright in their faces, and background effects such as flames or smoke can appear too ‘solid’, ruining the effect.
The game, which runs in HD, has incredible attention to detail with some awesome animated cutscenes. The soundtrack features enchanting choir pieces and sound effects for button presses. There is also a male narrator that will discuss pivotal lot moments with the reader as beautiful illustrations play out on the screen.
The other major issue with Joe Denver’s Lone Wolf is that it feels like a free trial or demo. The reason soon becomes clear; this isn’t the full game. The developers have decided release the game in parts (Part one, part two, and so on) over the course of the next year or so. This means we’ll have to wait for the next instalment to carry on with the story.
Overall this is a good game with a thrilling storyline. However, the high price of €4.49 and the need for subsequent ‘parts’, ruins it for me. If you’re a fan of the books give this one a go. If not, well, I just don’t think it’s worth it.