Monday, 11 September 2017

Review: Tunnels and Trolls Adventures by MetaArcade


The best roleplaying session I've ever played was a Tunnels and Trolls adventure (it was one of my own published adventures, not to brag). I have an affinity with the game - it's the reason why Trollish Delver exists. So it's taken me a shocking amount of time to get around to playing Tunnels and Trolls Adventures by MetaArcade.

The app allows you to purchase and play several solo adventures - a hallmark of the T&T system, including classics like Naked Doom and Buffalo Castle, along with more recent entries like Grimtina's Guard and The Seven Ayes - the latter being shorter adventures. While Naked Doom is free, you have to pay to play the others, either by spending hearts, which give you one play, or buying the modules outright with gems. Alright, it's one of the few apps that I'm cool with pay to play, but considering it costs the same to buy a bunch of gems as it does a bunch of hearts I have absolutely no idea why you'd buy hearts since the gems give you the full adventure forever. Bizarre!

Thankfully MetaArcade has kept the ability to use the same character between adventures, levelling them up and gaining treasure as you go. When you begin you have access to a handful of pre-made characters, but you also have the ability to create your own using the usual T&T rules that can result in either really weak or ridiculously strong characters - I love it. Levelling is also kept the same, gathering adventure points for every creature you kill, saving roll you make and adventure you complete. Oh, and even if your character dies, you keep everything. For me, this is a little too lenient - I prefer permadeath, but that's just me being a sadist.

I've played through all but one of the solos on the app - although I have played the remaining adventure as a physical copy. Each contains some great art from a mish-mash of artists, including perennial favourites Liz Danforth and David Ullery. This is really old school art, much of it black and white and most of it lovely. Not only do you have the art, but the app also has some great atmospheric sounds that match your situation - so if you're standing in a tavern you will hear the din of chatter and the clanking of glasses. This is a nice touch.

I'm hoping MetaArcade keeps adding new solos to the mix because it won't take you long to get through the existing ones. All in all, I'm impressed with the app, but I think being a die hard T&T fan does help. If you fancy some T&T action, but can't be bothered cracking out your books then this is a nice diversion - especially if you're on the move.