February 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Fallen London |Touch and Go

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“Welcome. Delicious Friend” is the greeting visitors receive when entering this “dark and hilarious Victorian-Gothic underworld, where every choice has a consequence, from the style of your hat to the price of your soul.” The underworld is a London that was “stolen,” now located a mile below the Earth and…”waiting for you.” Consider the review below before proceeding into the iOS version of this originally browser-based game….


Fallen London (Failbetter Games. iOS, Free with IAP; Gr 7 Up) is a text-based adventure set in a Lovecraftian dream of Victorian London. Players build up qualities that will help them succeed, and their “dangerous,” “persuasive,” “shadowy,” and “watchful” scores will determine the likelihood of succeeding at various challenges. But many other variables can affect whether players will succeed or fail.

Screen from Fallen London (Failbetter Games)

Screen from Fallen London (Failbetter Games)

Is your behavior too scandalous? Are you wounded? Are you having recurring dreams that are so overwhelming that they start to blur the text on your screen? This is a single-player game (registration required via Twitter, Facebook, or email), but it also allows for social interaction with fellow players, which can open up even more adventures. The game is free to download, but players will need to pace themselves because only a limited amount of moves are available at one time. In-app purchases (some pricey) will unlock additional adventures, but there is plenty of play without them.

This is a compelling and complex game with a haunting soundtrack that will definitely engage players as they get more involved in the bizarre and twisted story. Some of the gameplay is obvious, while other aspects may take some trial-and-error until appsters learn to navigate this world consisting of such ominously named locations as The Shuttered Palace, Wolfstock Docks, and the Stolen River. Players will learn why they are locked out of some adventures but not others, which adventures will help them earn unusual currency (jade fragments, romantic notions, and appalling secrets), and how to buy and sell things in the Echo Bazaar. Fallen London is an excellent choice for fans of Welcome to Night Vale and other darkly surreal stories with a humorous edge. A trailer is available.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.

Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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