80 days is one of those strange games I never really thought I’d get into. For one, it was made by Inkle, the people behind the abominably short (not to mention incomplete) Sorcery games. Beyond that, it’s more of an interactive novel than a “game” in the sense that traveling the same route and making the same decisions yields identical results each playthrough. That said, there’s some variance in what items are available to purchase, and since a good portion of the game consists of buying items cheaply from one place and selling them for a higher place elsewhere to fund your travels, this adds a bit of variance to what would otherwise be a static experience. Even without that, however, the game is one of those weirdly enjoyable experiences, a steampunk version of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days that sees Passepartout (you) and Phileas Fogg going around the world and stumbling across all kinds of mechanical creatures and miscellaneous wonders on the way too bizarre to be present in the original story.
I played through it over and over and over again. All together, I’ve probably finished the game more than 15 times. It’s not a particularly lengthy experience, mind you, but even playing it obsessively over the course of a week or so wasn’t enough for me to learn the game inside and out; while I made a point to figure out how to win over the heart of a Mongolian princess and kill off Fogg by way of neglect near the North Pole, I found that I was still discovering little things in locations that I had never visited. The game may not be much of a “game” in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t stop whatever it technically is from being a lot of fun.