80 Days wasn't one of 2014's highest-budget or most publicized titles, but don't count it out just because of its modest roots. Since the game's release, developer Inkle - a UK-based studio that focuses on interactive fiction - has been quietly raking in the accolades. 80 Days received not one but four BAFTA nominations (Best British Game, Best Story, Best Mobile Game, and Game Innovation) and three IGF nominations, and was honored in two categories at the Game Developer's Choice Awards (Best Handheld/Mobile Game and Best Narrative). Time Magazine awarded 80 Days its Game of the Year award, and the Telegraph called it "one of the best novels of 2014" - despite the fact that it's not even a book. Clearly, there's something special happening here.
Now, curious gamers can see what the fuss is all about, free of charge. Today, 80 Days is part of Amazon's Free App of the Day Bundle, which is available to anyone with an Amazon account and an Android phone or tablet. That's a great deal, no matter how you look at it. 80 Days isn't the only title available for free, either; other notable games include another Inkle production, Sorcery! 2, as well as Trivia Crack and Adventure Time: Sky Safari.
In 80 Days, players enter the world of Jules Verne's famous novel, where Phileas Frogg tries to circumnavigate the world in eighty days or less. Players take the role of Frogg's manservant Passepartout, deciding which route the duo should take in their journey around the globe.
At its core, 80 Days is a mix of a Choose-Your-Own Adventure book and the edutainment classic The Oregon Trail; players must choose an efficient travel plan, while also keeping an eye on Fogg's health and finances. Going out of the way to secure valuable items or rest might pay off in the long run, but it'll cost Frogg precious time.
Each city in 80 Days has its own unique adventures, which are related via evocative illustrations and over 500,000 words of surprisingly well-written text. The world is huge - Inkle estimates that a single trip, which lasts about three hours, only reveals about 3% of 80 Days' content - and the story takes so many twists and turns that every run-through is guaranteed to be a unique experience.
With so much to see and do, 80 Days is a game designed to be played again and again. Act fast; while 80 Days is an excellent value at almost any price, it would be foolish to let this free offer slip by.