Developer: RetroVenture LLC
Price: $4.99 Download on the App Store
If you missed last year’s Halloween special when Transylvania Adventure was offered for free, fear not – the game is still available for a mere $0.99, which in the App Store is the next best thing.
For those who remember Transylvania from years gone by, Transylvania Adventure is the iPhone adaptation made possible by RetroVenture in collaboration with Antonio Antiochia, the original author, and Kenneth Roe. The adaptation is superb, melding the retro look and feel with the user-friendly iPhone interface.
Those who are too young to remember the early computer game as it was, Transylvania Adventure is an old-school text adventure with retro graphics and provides a nice break from modern games. Using simple text commands to elicit actions, players navigate an eerie landscape in search of the Princess Sabrina. Meeting with foes of the supernatural variety, including a werewolf, vampire, and goblin, you’ll need to decide which way to go, what to explore, and when to run away. You’ve only got until dawn and you must be wary of the werewolf.
Transylvania Adventure requires basic text commands to play. Simple verb-noun commands, such as “go north” or “enter house” will move you about. You can type the commands into the text field, or if you prefer, use the command wheel to choose your action. You can be as creative as you wish, occasionally eliciting a humorous response, but some commands will be met with no understanding. Be careful what you decide, as the game could turn in your favor or abruptly end with you being eaten. Randomization of interactive objects keep the game slightly different each time you try, helping to keep it fresh.
The iPhone interface makes the game interesting by allowing users to alternatively tap to navigate screens, tap to interact with certain objects, and change the orientation from portrait to landscape. The action buttons and text command fields are easily accessible in the form of buttons across the bottom of the screen. Tap one to see the list of objects you carry, access the save feature, command features, or to quickly run away from a scenario that isn’t promising.
If you’re thinking that being a retro game makes Transylvania Adventure any less challenging than a modern adventure game, think again. Exploring the haunted woods of Transylvania in search of the Princess and for objects to aid your quest will prove most daunting indeed. It may be easy to find the pistol, but where the bullets are is anybody’s guess. The goblin will taunt you and your physical prowess is not enough to make him give up the key he holds. You can try any variety of commands, haphazardly or cautiously, but you’ll have to think your way through it if you want to beat it.
For anyone who loves a challenging adventure or even for the mere nostalgia of it, Transylvania Adventure is both retro and refreshing. There is a bit of lag time between some commands and screens, which is perplexing given the platform’s memory capability, but the combination of a truly classic look, the introduction of awesome sounds and touch screen interface are satisfying nonetheless. It’s pretty easy to get lost or turned around and since there’s no compass or directional arrows to guide you, you’ll have to think a bit. Not for the easily frustrated, Transylvania Adventure is a solid iPhone adaptation of the original Transylvania and worth every penny.