One of our favorite mobile gaming surprises over the last few years has been the return of text adventures.
This technically undemanding genre went the way of the dinosaurs in the ‘80s as consoles and computers got powerful enough to run games with fancy graphics. But the advent of smartphones has given text adventures the perfect platform on which to stage a comeback.
In the last few months alone we’ve seen Lineweight and Unmemory join the list of excellent text adventures on mobile, and now we welcome Black Lazar.
Developed by single-hander studio Pleon Words, Black Lazar is an epic noir adventure in which you play as a grizzled detective with a troubled past. Your mission is to bring down a crime lord, but your own history and the decisions you make along the way threaten to thwart your efforts.
Your journey will take you all over the world, and into the past via flashback sections. You’ll encounter a diverse cast of characters with their own backstories and agendas. Knowing which ones you can trust is essential.
It’s difficult to convey the sheer scope of Black Lazar. In total it consists of more than 250,000 words. For comparison, that’s about 500 pages – over twice as many as you’d get in a typical Fighting Fantasy gamebook.
There are 500 variables to explore, too, giving you practically limitless replay value. If you want to explore all of the game’s branching storylines and endings you’ll be reading for a long time.
What we particularly like about Black Lazar is the role it gives to the central character. While the choices you make in most text adventures only change the behavior of the characters around you, your choices in Black Lazar define Metrakos’s personality. You can steer him towards reckless confidence or nervous cautiousness.
All this is illustrated with more than 120 hand-drawn artworks. These are animated, too, changing to accommodate the choices you make. Plus, there are over 100 Foley effects and hours of musical accompaniment in a variety of styles, all of which adds to the all-important immersion factor.
Black Lazar is available for free right now on the Google Play Store.