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by Ben Rovik


Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

Jest your way from obscurity to royal acclaim as the King’s pet, beloved by all! As a talented young court fool with dreams of fame, scrabble with other young jesters to secure prestigious positions in the courts of Brenton's nobility. In a royal court humming with intrigue, keep them smiling as spies, assassins, blackmailers, ambitious nobles and a reluctant Heir wait in the wings.

"Fool!" is a 420,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Ben Rovik. It's entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Dive-roll into the tightrope world of Brenton's courtly entertainers, where your jests can see you seated at the right hand of power, or set down to the gallows.

What manner of fool are you: the shrewd knave ever ready with a venomous quip? The renowned artiste at pains to stay above the political fray? The bawdy buffoon known as much for off-stage antics as on-stage mirth? Or the clever counselor whose real audience is the noble ear they whisper into? Face unruly audiences onstage and skulduggerous schemers in the wings! Can you sling keen jests and still evade the whipping-post and assassin's blade? The kingdom itself will be shaped by your choices!

• Play as male, female, non-binary; gay, straight, bi or ace.
• Evade tossed produce, whippings, assassins and the stocks with your wit and quick feet!
• Battle a lifelong rival for artistic glory within a secret society of writers and gadflys!
• Train your pet ape to master prodigious feats, or at least to stop biting you!
• Mediate between nobles to forge compromise; or stir them up to your own advantage!
• Partner with fellow thespians to win friends, or upstage them to win glory!
• Balance your passion for the limelight with your passion for ...passion!

When the Master calls, you'd do well to come running—with bells on!

Game Details


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A masterfully written Shakespearen-style game with fiddly stats, September 30, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

I'm actually very torn on this review. I think I'm going to end up recommending this on Steam but not giving it 5 stars here, because the two sets of reviews serve different purposes.

Fool! has brilliant writing. I've read all of Shakespeare's plays multiple times (I got on a real kick in college where I'd read one of his plays after every other book I read), and there are some parts of this game I'd easily believe came from one of his books. It has a lot of poetry and jokes.

The overall backstory seems to be based on Henry IV parts 1 and 2 but in a different setting. There are battles between England and France, a somewhat rebellious Prinxe Hail and a rebellious northerner nicknamed Hotfoot.

In the midst of this, you are an aspiring fool who starts out with an audience of three wide-eyed kids and a stage marked by horse manure and drunks' vomit. Throughout the game, you build up your reputation and make friends (and enemies) along the way until you can end up as high as the King's Court or being one of the most famous players in the land.

It's a large game, maybe 4-6 hours long if playing intently.

With all these good things going forward it, it's hard not to recommend it. But I had to battle quite a bit with the stats. I frequently could not for the life of me guess when a choice was sanguine, bilious, phlegmatic or melancholic.

"Let's see," I'd think to myself. "This option is about cheering up my friends. That's sanguine, right?" Nope. It's phlegmatic, because you're trying to balance your various responsibilites.

Okay, trying to be famous is usually bilious right? No, this time trying to be famous is melancholic, because you're being cynical or cautious about it.

I was trying to roleplay as a confident and brilliant braggart (high blood/bile), and made it to act 3 with almost maxed-out sanguine (after restarting, something I almost never do, and battling back and forth for a while with the stats), and then a series of encounters somehow flipped it so I had extremely low blood and bile. I literally pounded my fist and shouted 'no!' in frustration a couple of times.

My reaction to the stats seems isolated. Fool! is fairly high on the bestseller list on the Choice of Games omnibus app and has very positive reviews on Steam and on the Choice of Games forum. The funny writing, the excellent quality of humor and even silly stuff like the ape companion make me feel confident that I can recommend this game to others and they'll feel like they got their money's worth, and I intend to do so on steam. If you're into Shakesperean comedy or want to max your Bawdiness or Wit then this game is absolutely for you. I don't regret playing it, and intend to return to it in the future.

I received a review copy of this game.

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This is version 2 of this page, edited by MathBrush on 23 May 2019 at 6:07pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page