On the surface, 80 Days doesn’t look all that interesting – screenshots and videos I’d seen beforehand made the focus of the game confusing and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into – but after spending roughly an hour with it, I’m in love.
80 Days puts you in the unique position of Phineas Fogg’s valet, Passepartout, as you complete Fogg’s famous journey around the world in 80 days. However, as part of your role as Fogg’s valet, you’re in charge of all the planning on this journey – from travel routes, to luggage packing. Through the game’s fairly well written dialogue, you are soon drawn into the character of Passpartout – who has a role to fill, but is fluid enough that the player can make him unique (through the many dialogue trees you will encounter)
Right from the get-go, the music and sounds in 80 Days are incredible. Upon loading the game up, you are given a tour of the Earth accompanied by some seriously impressive and inspiring music, before you’re placed in London – where the sounds of the city (people talking, trains leaving and machines whirring) truly make the game feel alive. This is true of every location you visit in game, each one feels alive and unique and this is largely down to the sound design.
Once you’ve gotten past London, you are thrown into the deep end, in terms of planning. The game consists of you choosing your route around the world, once in these different locations you are given the option to either: visit the market to buy and sell various items you have collected on your journey (prices depend on where you are in the world), explore the city to uncover hints and tips about where is ideal for you to go on your trip, visit the bank if you are low on funds (which I unfortunately had to, following an encounter an encounter between Berlin & Warsaw) and finally choose the next step of your route.
Another nice addition to the game is its online features. Throughout 80 Days you are able to see the routes other players select, which can tell you some important information, such as: How long it took that player to finish that part of the journey and if they sold any items whilst in that particular city. The online functions of this game leave it wide open for some friendly competitive play – If players both use the same seed when starting their game, then they can race each other in realtime to see who finishes first.
However, the only down-side I could see to this game was in its visuals. Don’t get me wrong, the art style and character design are both beautiful, but in a similar way to Democracy 3, you only ever experience this game through a series of menus- which isn’t inherently bad, but could become monotonous after a long play session. Luckily, the visuals are nice to look at, so it isn’t a chore to play.
Every part of 80 Days comes together to provide a surprisingly engrossing and well thought out game. There’s enough charm, wit, strategy and replayability in this game that it will be able to keep you entertained for hours. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this is a game I definitely recommend picking up.