Back in 1984 Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone released the first of many Fighting Fantasy books, a popular series of solo adventures. This first book was The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, originally published by Puffin Books. Its overwhelming success paved the way for the more than 50 Fighting Fantasy books that followed.
Now it’s available on Steam as a full, interactive tabletop adventure thanks to Tin Man Games, a studio that’s adapted eight Fighting Fantasy books already.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain plays like a choose-your-own-adventure game, with bouts of miniatures combat tossed in here and there. As you progress through the dungeon you’ll be asked which directions you’d like to go a crossroads, if you want to attack or sneak by a monster, if you’d like to open a chest or ignore it, and other such decisions.
The actual adventure is fairly short, but there’s multiple paths to take, multiple characters to play as, and a bunch more characters to unlock. It’s also unforgiving. Most of the time you’ll have to start over if you die, though once you’ve played through a few times you’ll most likely start following a similar pattern each time you play (find the meat, sneak past the goblin, give the dogs the meat to bypass them, spring the trap in the chest, etc…)
Both the writing and presentation of Warlock are where the game really shines. Your character is represented by a tabletop miniature, and all the miniatures have been digitally scanned in from Otherworld Miniatures line of figurines. Most of the artwork is the original Russ Nicholson illustrations with extra stuff added in for this edition. It’s a throwback to the 80’s, and really took me back. The writing is pretty much straight from the book, is immersive, and also incredibly 80’s.
While a bit frustrating at first, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain retains the feel of the Fighting Fantasy books and became really enjoyable once I got the hang of things. Tin Man Games really did a great job translating this into a digital format, and you can tell a lot of hard work and care went into the game to provide the most authentic experience possible.
At $20 on Steam it’s a great game for people familiar with the old adventure books, or those who loved fantasy back in the 80’s. While there’s a bit of tactical combat involved, this game is mostly about reading and making choices on direction and actions. It’s also a bit short, but you’ll be playing it over and over again to experience everything to the fullest.
A copy of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was provided free for review by Tin Man Games.