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Simon the Sorcerer

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Hubble bubble, touchscreen trouble

Product: Simon the Sorcerer | Developer: MojoTouch | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.5
Simon the Sorcerer iPhone, thumbnail 1
Learning magic always seems like a good idea until you realise how much work is involved. Like most things that seem simple, getting any good at sleights of hand or card tricks takes a lot of work, not to mention the embarrassment of attempting it in front of friends dozens of times.

Simon the Sorcerer features not your average slightly-too-focused magician but a teenage boy with more snide remarks in his inventory than tricks. He gets sucked into a magical world by the wizard Calypso, who has chosen Simon for reasons unknown to confront the evil wizard Sordid.

Sure, the synopsis sounds like that of your average popcorn fantasy film, but the game is more about dredging up references than treading its own path. So get those wry smiles prepared if you know your Tolkein from your C.S. Lewis.

One of the original point-and-click adventures from the early 90s, Simon the Sorcerer sees you walking around as Simon, solving puzzles by selecting verb commands that tell him how you’d like him to interact with the world.

Since Simon the Sorcerer was originally controlled with a mouse, the conversion to touchscreen spells some trouble. There are two methods available: the first treats the touchscreen like a laptop’s touchpad, and the other provides you with direct control over a cursor that focuses on a small patch of the scene.

The low-fi option is easier to cope with because the interface is too fiddly to operate without a cursor. Either way, getting a grip on the controls is a challenge. This isn’t helped by the fact that the game’s early stages aren’t particularly accessible.

Instead of gradually introducing you to the game via a handful of locations, the game makes a dozen locales available from the off. It's disconcerting not being told where to go when you first start if you've never played the game before.

Even back in the day, Simon the Sorcerer felt a little clunky. Still, it’s got the original spoken dialogue throughout, including lord smug-a-tron himself Chris Barrie in the title role. The visuals have aged very well, too, looking colourful, detailed and not at all geriatric.

While some of the comic references within may make you cringe, Simon the Sorcerer remains an engaging adventure once you get over the initial hump of finding out where you are and exactly what the hell you’re meant to be doing. It’s the classic game underneath that makes us like this title rather than this particular iPhone execution of it.
Simon the Sorcerer
Reviewer photo
Paul Marchant | 1 September 2009
The classic adventure underneath hasn’t aged too badly, but the supposed control innovations designed to make the game iPhone friendly aren’t anything to write home about
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