Adventure Games: The Volcanic Island is the latest edition in the AGDTS series, from publishers Kosmos. Do not be fooled by this one! Although The Volcanic Island takes a similar approach, the gameplay is now expanded to include moveable objects and characters. This enables players to discover a more dynamic and adaptable narrative.
The Volcanic Island is the first AGDTS game to span four chapters. Rather than the usual three. This leads to an increase in playtime. A very much welcomed idea as the AGDTS series has limited replayability. It is estimated each of the four chapters takes around 75 minutes to complete.
As with the AGDTS series, The Volcanic Island is suitable for 1 – 4 players of ages 12 and over. The Volcanic Island will be supplied in the same compact, A5 sized box. Not only does this make for easy storage, it even houses more parts than usual for players to interact with. Because the game is split into four evenly sized chapters, it is possible to complete one chapter at a time. This effectively “saves” the games state after each chapter is completed. Players will, however, need a camera handy if they do choose this approach. Remembering the state of their playing area is critical!
The Volcanic Island will require players who have previously experienced an AGDTS game to familiarise themselves with the new gameplay. Fear not though, as these new aspects can easily be picked up by a quick, five-minute read of the Rulebook.
Those players new to the AGDTS series will need to study the Rulebook in more detail. However, this series of games has a unique playing style, which can seem very complex at first. Those players who have previously read a choose your own adventure style book will recognise a lot of the concepts used in the gameplay of the AGDTS series.
It's Closed…It's Moved!
Players take the role of one of the four characters in the game. They must take it in turns to explore the many locations of The Volcanic Island. Each character has a particular skill. Players will then need to consider throughout the game when choosing the best character to make a particular choice.
In the Volcanic Island, locations are more adaptable. Throughout the narrative, locations can become closed or modified by actions and choices made by the players. New tick and cross markers are used within the gameplay. They are used to record the status of a location, at any one point in time.
Each chapter of The Volcanic Island has a number of objectives, which players must complete. Like other AGDTS games, players discover rooms, obtain further information, and acquire items along their way. Uniquely to The Volcanic Island, there are a number of dynamically alterable aspects of a number of locations. Characters and items may appear or disappear, or even re-appear on another location!
Players advance through the narrative by collaboratively deciding how to explore the discovered locations. They can use or combine the items in their, or another player's, possession. The game ends when players have completed all four chapters and fully explored The Volcanic Island. Maybe even further afield…
A Helping Hand
The most convenient way to play is to download the companion app. This app offers players the ability to have the narrative read to them throughout their gameplay. Rather than having to find the corresponding narrative entries in the Adventure Book and then read aloud the narrative themselves. It also aids in players not accidentally discovering spoilers! Something which can easily happen when searching for entries in the Adventure Book!
The level of replayability, offered in AGDTS games, has certainly been addressed in The Volcanic Island, as there are now even more paths and directions players can take throughout the narrative, thanks to the introduction of the moveable objects and characters.
Having now played all three of the AGDTS games, it would be a welcome addition to add some variety in to the narrator’s voice on the companion app or even different voices for when the different characters speak. This would aid in creating a more immersive experience.
The narrative contained within The Volcanic Island is by far the deepest and most explorative, offered by AGDTS games to date. At times, the different characters involved can get tricky, therefore players should make sure they are taking note of all the parts of the narrative they discover.
Players new to the AGDTS series should ease themselves into the series with one of the other two offerings in the series first, in order to realise how much The Volcanic Island has evolved, since the earlier offerings. For players wishing to immerse themselves fully in Adventure Games: The Volcanic Island, they should set aside a large amount of time and play all four chapters in a row, it will be worth it, I promise…!