80 Days

80 Days

When I grew up I believe I managed to read every book by Jules Verne that was available at the local library, including mostly forgotten titles such as The Purchase of the North Pole and Dr. Ox’s Experiment, but the favourite one was Around the World in Eighty Days. Hence, I felt great excitement when I had a chance to play the game 80 Days which is based on that book. The game started with a spinning globe with a number of cities marked, but I noticed immediately that it is spinning in the wrong direction. I saw that as a bad sign, that maybe the game lacked attention to details (such as having the sun rising in the west), but apart from that bad mistake I found 80 Days to be extremely enjoyable.

London, 1872
I have entered into the service of a new gentleman.
It would seem he is a gambling man.

The story starts very abrupt. You play as Passepartout, the valet of a certain Phileas Fogg who has just made a wager to travel around the world in 80 days, and you have to pack a bag in a hurry in order to get on the evening train to Paris before you even know how to play the game. Already on this first train it is clear that the 1872 in this game is much more steam-punk than the real version of 1872. The world is rapidly changing thanks to fantastic machines and strong empires are growing everywhere around the world. This makes the journey difficult to plan since you do not really know which routes are more convenient than others. The first time I played the game I actually managed to return to London in the afternoon on the 80th day, so I beat the game immediately. However, there were so many adventures and encounters along the way that I wanted to follow up on, and so many more wonderous places in the world I wanted to explore, so I needed to play the game again, and again, and again.

80 Days is more an interactive story than a game, but since there are so many choices available it does not feel restricted. The writing is excellent. It is condensed, but still it manages to be both detailed and evocative. The characterisations of the multitude of characters encountered are made with finesse, and the adventures along the jorney often takes unexpected turns. In fact, the writing is actually the only really good thing in this game, but it is so good that it defines the game. I really enjoy 80 Days.

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