[Review] 80 DAYS – Nintendo Switch

Written by slimwiggins

Reviewed by Thomas

  • Developer: inkle
  • Publisher: inkle
  • Release Date: 01/10/2019
  • Price: $12.99 / £9.99
  • Review code provided by inkle

Intro

Several years ago I was in search of a new game for my mobile device. I discovered quite the gem from inkle, an indie developer I hadn’t heard of. 80 DAYS was said to be loosely based on the novel, “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne. Being unfamiliar with the source material and the developer, I nearly scrolled past, almost leaving this adventure to collect digital dust. Fortunately, I took a chance and am glad that I did. Not only did I enjoy my numerous attempts around the World, I also jumped into the novel by Jules Verne. Now that 80 DAYS has made its way around to the Nintendo Switch, I wanted to see if this mobile adventure was as engaging on a console with no shortage of games.

Equal to the Occasion

Anyone familiar with the exploits of Phileas Fogg will immediately recognize the tone of the story. You step into the shoes of Monsieur Fogg’s trusted valet, Passepartout. It is up to you to see this venture to success. The story is riveting. Though it deviates from the history we know of 1872 and takes on a fantastical steampunk setting. As the game can be completed in a few hours, it’s designed to be played multiple times.

The story is well crafted no matter what direction you choose to circumnavigate the globe. Almost set up like a choose your own adventure, 80 DAYS give you several options to when responding to people and events. You can make snide remarks or gaze upon things in wonderment. Every choice you make will shape your journey for good or bad. Stealing a seemingly irrelevant item can have catastrophic repercussions or save your life. 80 DAYS keeps track of it all and despite the outcome, gives a literary reward which makes each playthrough an adventure that can be enjoyed over and over again.

A Curious Means of Conveyance

The choose your own adventure aspect in 80 DAYS is only part of the game. Aside from the unique characters you’ll meet, you need to ferret out information on how best to proceed from one destination to another. A sound plan can make all the difference. Familiarity with the globe is also helpful. One playthrough I simply selected whatever route was available the soonest. Sure, I didn’t waste a lot of time in any one city but I zig-zagged all over Asia and lost valuable time. I even had to backtrack on occasion.

The goal is simple, journey around the World in eighty days or less. A few times I was able to complete the task with weeks to spare. Other times took longer. Much longer. Not only do you have to pick the best way forward, you have to make sure you don’t go broke. You can buy items in one city and try to make a profit by selling them in another city. This can net you a hefty amount of cash but sometimes at the cost of getting off track. In addition to this delicate balance you have to make sure you attend to Master Fogg by keeping him in good health.

Fortune Favors the Brave

The actual gameplay can be somewhat repetitive as you repeat the same things on every journey. A menu option would be nice to track your progress and see your completed route without passing time. Since the clock doesn’t stop, when you select the option to plan and view the map, you can miss your desired transportation. It does give an authentic feel to travel since you have an active timeline. You could miss a direct route on a speedy rocket and instead be forced to travel on a mechanical marching city that takes five times as long. Getting into trouble can be fun in and of itself as paths will open up that you never expect. Even if you face your sure demise, there’s no wrong way to experience all that 80 DAYS has to offer.

A Direct Struggle with Bad Fortune

From the opening cinematic I was in awe of how polished 80 DAYS looked on my Nintendo Switch. The crisp globe spun beautifully around on my screen and opened right into the story. The wording is clear and easy to read both in docked mode and handheld. I never had to squint to try and decipher the words on the screen like I do with some games. The graphics use a simplistic monochromatic scheme with outlines and impressions. The journey is marked with a red line making you feel like a true adventurer akin to Indiana Jones. The character images are recycled and reused quite a bit. It’s not a huge detriment to the experience but given the detailed narration, the art is clearly a secondary factor. The background music supplements the journey adequately. It’s catchy and was never overbearing.

It is Convenient to Have Some Money

I didn’t run into any technical issues. It was hard to tell when the game saved. There were times of uncertainty when I stopped playing if I would have to repeat parts of my journey. It always seemed to save my most recent city despite the limited menu conveying older data. 80 DAYS was fun to play with my family on the television. Even though it’s a single-player game, it was fun to read out loud with the kids and let them partake in the decision making. 

Final Wrap

80 DAYS is an amazing literary experience. I couldn’t be happier that it has made the journey to the Nintendo Switch. Here is a title that will find a permanent place on my crowded memory card. The writing is brilliant and seems endless in options. Whether you’re a Vernian or just looking for a good story on the Switch, 80 DAYS won’t disappoint.

Pros

  • Deeply Woven Narrative
  • Clean Presentation
  • Sense of Adventure

Cons

  • Lack of Menu Options

Verdict
80 DAYS is more than just a digital journey, it’s a fantastic narrative that beacons all to explore the world around them.
4.5/5

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