Plenty of mobile games rely on the energy model, where each turn costs you a certain amount of stamina or whatever; once you’ve used it up, you have to wait (or pay) to take another turn. It’s what turns most folks off of mobile games, because just as you’re getting into it, you’re forced to stop. In Fallen London, however, you might take so long to ponder your next move that you’ll have earned a new turn before you’ve taken your present one. Such is life in the Neath, where secrets abound, your progress is measured in things like scandal and wounds, and your character stats include Shadowy and Dangerous.
Fallen London is literally that - the city itself, pulled underground by bats in 1861 and now with its own culture that’s half Victorian, half...erm. Odd. Devils attend soirees (and are often excellent dancers), zailors sing songs of the zee, scholars study the Correspondence and only some of them go mad. It’s a strange place, to be sure, but it’s certainly never boring.
Everything plays out in choose-your-own-adventure style, with the success of your decisions depending on your character’s stats. You probably won’t win a difficult fight if your Dangerous stat is too low, but get into some smaller scraps and you’ll build it right up. The game lets you know your chances of success, so you’re well aware of the risk you’re taking and never feel caught off guard or cheated if you fail.
Fallen London’s rich narrative lends itself extremely well to lush roleplaying, as you can design a character who’s bookish, vicious, devious, romantic, or all of the above. The story goes in about a zillion different directions, but you don’t have to follow up any threads you don’t want to. If a particular plot line is boring you, just stop pursuing it; there’s always something else waiting for your attention.
I, for example, am currently hunting for pieces of the Screaming Map, though Mr. Inch would still like my help acquiring some notable beasts. I’ve already provided a Fungus-column, some White Marsh Wolves, and a Spider Council, but the Goat Demon is proving quite challenging. Perhaps I’ll head to Wolfstack Docks for some dicing, or maybe I’ll just seduce a young artist. Then again, I could just enjoy some Prisoner’s Honey and let the dreams come.
If you decide to become an Exceptional Friend (aka pay a small fee) you’ll also be treated to monthly Exceptional Stories, special limited-time tales that are well worth the cost of entry. The writing throughout Fallen London is exceptional, humor mixing with adventure mixing with intrigue. Its world is rich and vibrant and begging to be explored. Just, uh, try not to run afoul of the Masters of the Bazaar. They’re not the forgiving type.