80 days appears to be the victim of rushed production
Have we been keeping up with our literary gems? If not, 80 Days is a chance to catch a glimpse of what you're missing out on in those black and white printed pages. It's also a chance to solve a few puzzles, take a magic carpet ride, and work on your anger management skills. This is Frogwares' Jules Verne inspired offering to the gaming community and it's a mixed bag if it's anything at all.
Let the adventures begin!
A magical snowland and a magical carpet...
You're a badly dressed wee fellow who is rushing off around the world to find the proof of four of your uncle's inventions. The world is a big place and so are the cities you'll visit, each one designed rather well indeed and of an impressive size. You could explore for a while or just play on through to your objective, the choice is yours. Unfortunately you have to keep the title in mind. 80 days, that's all you have, so you might want to keep the tourist activities to a minimum (unless you specifically chose that setting of course). The transportation is loads of fun. Elephants, magic carpets, and cars are all available and are just some of the possibilities. When it comes to going between cities the transportation is a little more run of the mill. There's a zeppelin, a train and a cruise liner to take you between Cairo, Bombay, Yokohama and San Francisco, and it's not just a matter of hopping on them and being whisked away to the next destination, no, you'll have to make sure your transportation stays safe and in one piece long enough to get you there.
Once you hit the cities, it's puzzle solving time. Or hide and seek time. Whichever you prefer to call it. There seem to be two levels to this game, pre school and post graduate. Sometimes the puzzles are so simple you wonder why they're there at all, and others you'll find yourself seriously considering having your IQ tested because they can't be that hard, can they? Unfortunately, yes, they can, so don't let them get you down. You're smart, really you are. At least that's what I told myself.
...and an elephant for good measure!
An apple a day keeps you from passing out
If you're finding the puzzles too difficult you can always select a less challenging difficulty level. There are three to choose from. As mentioned before, there is a tourist setting that turns the timer off. My personal favorite, this allows you to explore and solve puzzles at your own pace without the concerns of meeting the deadline. Globetrotter and Adventurer are the progressively more challenging levels, with time fairly whizzing by on the Adventurer setting.
It's not all solving puzzles though, 80 days seeks to make the experience more real by giving you human limitations. You need food and sleep, and if you don't get it you'll just pass out on the street. You'll also need to keep track of your finances for things like buying food and renting transport in the various cities.
Passing out in the middle of the game is rather annoying, but not quite as annoying as the frequent freezes you'll encounter unless you've commandeered NASA's computers for the weekend to play this game. The price for detailed graphics and large cities seems to be near constant loading and freezing at times.
Other points to whine about include the ingenious (read: crazy ass) save system. The save system is automatic, at certain predetermined points, and at no other time. This means that you have near no control over your gameplay progression. The game holds you hostage until the next save point unless you don't mind leaving your computer paused until the next time you can get to the game.
Then there's the weird physics which plague the game. It's rather reminiscent of early programming, where running into an object at speed will cause not a crash, but a complete stop. Standards have moved on quite a bit since the early 80’s, and though the date is vaguely reminiscent of the games title some effort in upgrading the transportation systems would have been worthwhile.
Exotic Locations Abound
Come for the adventure... leave with a big motorised wheel!
On the plus side, much effort was clearly put into the weather system which changes beautifully with the day and the night and varying conditions. Add to that the fairly decent audio and ignore some dodgy voice acting and environmentally this game is a dream. A dream which then turns into a nightmare with a myriad of glitches that would only depress you if they were all listed. 80 days appears to be the victim of rushed production, and more time spent on smoothing out glitches and streamlining the gaming experience would have been definitely worthwhile because even in spite of those handicaps it has the potential to be a fairly decent little game if you'll just give it chance after chance after chance.
80 DAYS VERDICT
80 Days is a big little game lost. You just have to ask yourself if you have a soft spot for struggling little adventurers and if you’re prepared to work with it through its issues to give it a home on your games shelf and a place to play on your pc.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Taking a magical carpet ride. You just can’t beat flying furnishings.