There’s something to be said for the increasing number of remasters on the market these days. I’m not a particularly big fan of them, but if they are being made, they must be selling. It’s quite peculiar, though, to see a video game straddle different forms of media, to re-tell Jules Verne’s classic tale of Phileas Fogg and his 80 day trip around the globe, and in a choose-your-own visual novel, no less! True, it isn’t a direct re-telling, in fact it’s almost entirely original material, bar the initial bet that sees Fogg traipse across the planet. But if 80 Days can rekindle my love for the written word, then I’m all for it.
If you’ve previously read Around The World in Eighty Days, you can pretty much forget everything you thought you knew about Fogg and his valet, Passepartout’s, journey around the globe. While Fogg is still a stuffy, well to do type, and Passepartout attends to his every whim, the world around them is drastically different. The age of steam, gears and machinery has taken hold, and it’s up to Fogg and Co to take advantage of it to arrive back in London before their 80 day deadline is up. A fortune awaits them if they can make it back in time, with bitter defeat and ridicule being the only other option – a fate worse than death!
Setting off from London, they can travel to any of a large number of cities, all across the globe. There’s very little in the way of restrictions to stop Fogg and Passepartout,well, aside from their bank balance.
Their journey is set against a beautifully-rendered interactive globe, with sprawling travel routes running like a circulatory system across the planet. Each city they visit has its own story, people, market and events. So whether you’re in Paris sipping coffee in a cafe, or stealing heavy machinery with a mining crew in South America, each location feels unique, and most importantly, authentic – no mean feat considering the truly monumental scale of the game.
Being men of the world, Fogg and Passepartout bump into all kinds of characters. Sometimes, you’ll get a great tip about places to visit or faster travel routes, other times, you might end up comatose in an opium den, only to end up on an airship going in the wrong direction. Mon Dieu!
Traveling across the world isn’t cheap, and whilst Fogg is a wealthy man, you’ll still need to watch your expenses. Fortunately, you won’t be shy of an opportunity to earn some coin. Marketplaces are a great spot to pick up trinkets, travel-appropriate clothing, and items that might be worth a bob or two in other parts of the world. Failing that, Passepartout can always dress up as a bearded lady in the circus.
Money affords Fogg and Passepartout comfort and luxury, but some routes may not be so accommodating, meaning traveling can impact their health. If you’ve managed to collect appropriate clothing sets for your journey, like scarves and hats, you can lessen the damage done., but some times you will be left with no option than to rest. You can keep Fogg in tip top shape by attending to his needs whilst you travel. It’s amazing what a cup of tea and a tidy moustache can do! Just don’t drink the local water.
Make no mistake about it, 80 Days is a gorgeously detailed game, with more than a few laughs thrown in for good measure. Developer, Inkle, has crafted a story so lavish with descriptive language that its easy to become engrossed. It doesn’t matter if you win the bet or not, so long as you enjoy the journey,. And trust me, you will.