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Sorcery Is for Saps

by Hilari Bell and Anna-Maria Crum


Web Site

(based on 2 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

As an apprentice sorcerer, you should never steal your master's identity. But what if that's the only way to save the kingdom?

"Sorcery Is for Saps" is a 200,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Hilari Bell and Anna-Maria Crum, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Will your powers save the cursed king--or will you turn traitor and seize the throne yourself? You can probably break a simple kindness curse, but there are dark forces at work and you may be in over your head before you can say “Abracadabra.”

Throw in your lot with scheming councilors, the attractive heir, or even go to work for the invaders. But whether you choose to save the king or your own neck, one thing is clear—this is your big chance!

‪Magic, power, or true love—which will you choose? In "Sorcery Is for Saps," you'll find it's easier than waving a wand.

• ‪Be a hero or turn traitor, seduced by a sexy spy.
• ‪Play as male or female, gay, straight, or bi.
• ‪Steal a rival wizard's inventions.
• ‪Fight the maniacal, mechanical, magical monkey.
• Power up for politics, succeed at sorcery, or just get really, really rich.
• ‪Trade barbs with your snarky familiar. Or will you kow-tow to a sarcastic ferret?
• End up as a sorcerer, a royal councilor, a villain, or a mouse. (Literally. You can be turned into a mouse.)

Game Details


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Number of Reviews: 1
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A silly and fun court intrigue story with constrained choices, February 18, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

I have to admit, I didn't have high hopes for this game coming in. My own game is usually near the bottom of the barrel sales-wise (according to the 'bestselling' section of the iOS omnibus app), but Sorcery for Saps is usually right around there, too.

So I was pleasantly surprised by the involved and intriguing mystery story that played out over the couple of hours the game lasted. You have to impersonate your master sorcerer at the king's court, where he has been cursed by an unknown person at a critical time in negotiations.

There are many suspects and many side-intrigues going on, and it all ties together nicely. Even if you guess some of the secrets, it's still fun to see the others.

But this game had a few things going against it.

For me personally, I disliked that many choices were forced on you. So instead of 'Would you like to talk to the servant or do one of these other options?' the game would say, 'You've decided you like the servant, feel sorry for her, and go out of your way to cast a specific elaborate spell to fix her problems and gain her confidence. Why did you do that player?'

Imagine someone doing that when making dinner plans or game mastering. Instead of, 'Where are you thinking of eating tonight? We could go to Taco Bell or Mcdonalds since they're close,' it's more like, 'Well, I can tell already you're going to tell us to go to Taco Bell and get supreme burritos because you love their beans. What made you think of it?'

It makes for stronger storytelling, because you (the author) have complete control of what happens, and perhaps that's one reason I found the story so engaging. But I found it less engaging as a game.

The second issue that a lot of games lower on the bestselling list have (and mine does this too, though I've updated it a bit to work on it) is 'bad stat disease', where you can end the game with pretty much all of your stats between 50% and 60%, and your opposed stats at essentially 50-50, due to a combination of infrequent, low stat boosts, confusion about what tests opposed stats vs setting it, and difficulty figuring out what skill is used in each test.

The last thing is that the game has zany, silly humor, especially in the first chapter, with spells like 'CTRL-Z' or 'Thingius stoppius' (not a real spell, but similar to ones in the game). I've noticed that games with silly humor tend not to do well, even if they're actually pretty fun (like For Sale:Haunted House, Yeti's Parole Officer). The same goes for anything that seems targeted towards children (like my own game or Demon Mark).

So, if the authors read this, I really liked your game, and I think there are some things that can be improved, but overall your mystery was great and I'm going to be thinking about it for a long time. Loved the characterization of the ferret.

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This is version 1 of this page, edited by Dan Fabulich on 14 October 2016 at 1:14pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page