Gamebooks are different from normal games. They allow the readers to participate in the story. They can have puzzles, pop-ups or various clues to help the reader unravel the mystery of the story. The first proper mobile gamebooks were the Tracker Books, published by Transworld in the UK in the 1970s. In 1979, the proper Choose Your Own Adventure genre was born. The readers made choices that affected the story, and thus, the popularity of CYOA gamebooks began to rise. In today’s world of computers and smartphones, some of the best digital gamebook publishers are inkle!, Tin Man Games, Choice Of Games LLC and Hosted Games (A subsidiary of Choice Of Games). Here in this article, we have listed down the 10 best gamebooks on mobile that you can play to feed your curiosity.
P.S. – The prices of paid books, and for full game unlocks for iOS are on the left, for Android on the right, and they may vary from country to country
10. 80 Days (Paid)
This is the famous novel by Jules Verne, adapted into a CYOA game by inkle! But there’s a twist – This novel takes place in a cyberpunk version of the late 19th century. Fully mechanized dirigibles, automaton (robot) workers, you name it!
It’s brought vividly to life with some of the finest writing you will ever see in a gamebook. And it doesn’t lack digital innovations either. Managing your finances, sometimes by telegraphing ahead for transfers, is part of the strategy. And the story can change in a myriad of important ways depending on your choices.
On top of that, you have to travel around this huge world in just 80 Days! Of course, you can’t visit all the places you want to in just one playthrough. What then? Set out again! This game will give you a great, immersive experience. This is, without a doubt, one of the best among the top 10 gamebooks on mobile. Download – iOS, Android. Price – USD 5.00/USD 5.99
9. Appointment With FEAR (Paid)
A Fighting Fantasy classic, Tin Man Games wasted no time in making a digital version. It was famous because of it’s superhero plot, and TMG turned it into an interactive comic book, replacing he simple written text with awesome visual effects.
It’s a flawless match for the subject matter, and a vast enhancement on the original. Download – iOS. Price – USD 5.99
8. King Of Dragon Pass (Paid)
Gamebook-lovers always recommend KODP if you’re new to the gamebook genre. It is a unique blend of textual adventure, role-playing, and grand strategy. It is not entirely a gamebook, but it helped to further the genre. Hence, it owes an obvious debt to gamebooks, and is so unusual, that it merits a spot on the list.
The game sees you ruling a barbaric tribe in the bizarre and highly detailed fantasy world of Glorantha. The bulk of the game sees you reading text and making choices, just like a gamebook. The difference is that that narrative isn’t fixed, and can change drastically depending on your actions.
7. The Great Tournament (Pay to unlock the full game)
The Great Tournament is a 180,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Philip Kempton, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effect.
In this one, you play as a young, peasant boy who becomes a squire to a legendary knight. You can travel all over the realm in the book, and participate in tournaments, 1v1 jousts, fairs, and more. Eventually, you can win the Great Tournament, and become the greatest of all. If you can’t complete the game in one try, no worries. You can replay it infinitely after you pay to remove ads. Download – iOS, Android. Price – USD 6.99/ USD 5.40
6. Choice Of Robots (Paid)
This is a 300,000 word-long sci-fi novel by Kevin Gold. This mobile gamebook is purely textual, with no visual effects or sound effects.
Play out thirty years of your life as a brilliant robot maker, from graduate school near the present day to a future in which your robots have changed everything. Depending on your choices, your robots may be independent or obedient, clumsy or graceful, empathic or cold, and you yourself may live to an old age happily married or alone with only robots to comfort you.
Play as male or female, gay or straight, with nine characters to romance, four alternate climax chapters, and over seventy achievements to unlock.
5. Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be (Paid)
Imagine William Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a Choose Your Own Adventure app, and you get this game, which has you playing the parts of Hamlet, Ophelia or Hamlet Senior on their insane adventures.
Powered by Tin Man Games’ Gamebook Adventures engine, the app takes full advantage of the digital format by accompanying the text with music, sound effects, hilarious achievements and an end-game “Haml-o-Meter” featuring a statistics page that compares your choices with the Bard’s. A particular delight is the wealth of illustrations by a variety of Webcomic greats such as Kate Beaton (Hark, A Vagrant), Zach Weinersmith (SMBC), and Matthew Inman (Oatmeal).
4. Hero Project: Redemption Season (Pay to unlock the full game)
Redemption Season (Android, iOS) marks the start of a new arc in Zachary Sergei’s Hero Project series of choose your path games, with players taking on the role of a contestant in a reality show about super-powered heroes.
Choice of Games’ many titles might not have the same audiovisual thrills as those of other app publishers, but the company makes up for it with a focus on rich and varied writing, as well as a handy stats tracker system that makes it easy for players to track how their choices affect a story and its varied characters. If this one tickles your fancy, you might want to check out earlier titles in the series such as Heroes Rise, The Hero Project, and HeroFall. Download – iOS, Android. Price – USD 3.99/ USD 4.30
Now, we’re getting into the big three of the top 10 gamebooks on mobile. The following are all tough contenders for the #1 spot, so you can be sure that all of them pack quite a punch.
3. Heroes Rise Trilogy (Paid)
Written by Zachary Sergi, the Heroes Rise Trilogy is an epic tale of superheroes, spanning across 3 gamebooks. Your choices affect the outcome of the story. Like other Choice Of Games’ titles, these three gamebooks do not have audio-visual effects and are text-based.
In “The Prodigy,” Powered heroes have become the ultimate celebrities, and you dream of joining the A-List–but to get there, you’ll first have to take down evil Powered gangs, compete with deadly rivals, choose a worthy sidekick, team up with famous champions, and prove to all of Millennia City that you’re a true hero.
“The Hero Project” is America’s #1 reality show for heroes! As a contestant on “The Hero Project,” you’ll battle villains and heroes alike with your newly discovered “Infini” powers. Will you vote to eliminate your rivals, or betray your alliance to curry favor with the celebrity judges?
“HeroFall” faces you with the biggest choices of your heroic career. Would a hero like you assassinate the president of the United States to defend the right to be Powered?
- Heroes Rise Trilogy Bundle – iOS. Price – USD 9.99
- The Prodigy (Book 1) – Android. Price – USD 4.30
- The Hero Project (Book 2) – Android. Price – USD 5.40
- Herofall (Book 3) – Android. Price – USD 4.30
2. Zombie Exodus and Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven (Pay to unlock the full game)
Both the books have been written by Jim Dattilo, and I have to say, he has done absolutely amazing work on these.
This one is a 750,000- word novel, where you’re the protagonist. You have to find your sister, Emma, and escape the city in the wake of the deadly zombie apocalypse. The choices you make will affect the story. It does not have any audio-visual effects and is purely text-based.
It has checkpoints so that if you die in the game, you’ll be revived at the checkpoint. The game also involves strategy, as it has resource management. Overall, it’s a complete package, and you’ll have a great time playing it. Download – iOS, Android. Price – USD 7.99/ USD 6.50
Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven
Zombies rise again at the dawn of Apocalypse! In this companion to the smash-hit “Zombie Exodus,” can you survive the first few days of the zombie outbreak as the dead rise, society collapses, and the living struggle to survive? Safe Haven is more detailed than Exodus, with a variety of professions, lots of choices, and various scenarios. It is divided into parts, so you’ll have to purchase them to continue playing.
Customize a character using a variety of professions, backgrounds, special challenges, and skills to survive in a brutal and chaotic city as the Zeta virus spreads. Will you be an honorable soldier, searching through neighborhoods to aid survivors? Or will you be a ruthless bandit who loots and robs others for needed supplies? How about a paranoid hacker, psychopathic con artist, pragmatic scientist, or idealistic teenager? Dozens of options allow you to play the character of your choice.
1. Sorcery! Series (Paid)
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! is a four-part fantasy adventure like never before. With tens of thousands of choices, the story rewrites itself around your actions. Battle weird and deadly creatures, cast powerful spells, play with honour, or lie, cheat and steal. The fate of the land of Kakhabad is in your hands!
Sorcery can also be called as the Best Of The Best among gamebooks. Steve Jackson has written such perfect tales, that once you pick up a story, it’s hard to put down. Published by inkle!, one of the most reputed gamebook publishers, Sorcery is divided into 4 parts – Sorcery! 1, 2, 3 and 4. This is one series you don’t want to miss, at all. Sorcery is, without a doubt, THE best among the top 10 gamebooks on mobile.
- Sorcery! – iOS, Android. Price – USD 4.99/ USD 5.60
- Sorcery! 2 – iOS, Android. Price – USD 4.99/ USD 5.60
- Sorcery! 3 – iOS, Android. Price – USD 4.99/ USD 5.60
- Sorcery! 4 – iOS, Android. Price – USD 4.99/ USD 5.60
These were the top 10 gamebooks on mobile. If we missed any games, let us know in the comments!