People have been gaming long before there were screens, keyboards and touchpads, with some games, like chess, dating back thousands of years. People have shown time and time again that imagination is sometimes all you need when it comes to having fun. The game we’ll be talking about today is just one such game, doing away with all the flashy aspects modern technology is capable of, throwing back all the way to the 1980’s when pen and paper were as much gaming assets as joysticks are today.
Kai Chronicles is a narrative adventure based on the Lone Wolf series of fantasy books by Joe Dever, the first of which was published in 1984. The series sold over 9 million copies and became a staple with the Choose Your Own Adventure crowd, and the popularity of the books remained relevant all the way into the 21st century as well, with a resurgence in attractiveness between 2002 and 2006 when they were reprinted in some parts of Europe.
Now, the books have been revived as the Kai Chronicles for Android, in all of their former glory, narrative voice and difficulty level. Coming from an era where a game’s status was determined by two things, how gripping its gameplay is as well as how challenging it is to finish, the Kai Chronicles might be a bit too much for an inexperienced player. But, for the hardened RPG veteran, they’ll be a breath of fresh air in today’s climate of microtransactions and endless Diablo clones.
Kai Chronicles bring none of the fancy graphics, animations and cut-scenes the newer generation of gamers might be used to. There’s also no physical dexterity involved, no reflexes or a need for high APM. What you do need, though, is a bit of a moral compass and some luck when RNG is involved, as the game relies heavily on a dice system for its combat. The game is a textual narrative adventure, so you’ll be reading a whole lot (don’t let this turn you off, though, the writing is excellent), and making choices at appropriate times. The choices aren’t easy, but they are varied, so you can live as you see fit, whether as a silent protector of the meek or a callous, self-centered rogue.
The game focuses on the fictional world of Magnamund, where the forces of evil and good are fighting for dominion over the planet. You’re Lone Wolf, the last of the monk order of Kai, a medieval sect of warriors privy to ancient secrets of battle and conduct. The actions you take have far-reaching implications into the story and the way it wraps up in the end, so choose wisely. The game offers a save option, but doesn’t auto-save, so if you don’t feel like starting all the way at the start if you die, make sure to save at regular intervals.
Kai Chronicles is loads of fun if you don’t look at the absence of graphics as a hindrance, but rather as a strength. It features the original art from the book series, so you do have beautiful visuals to look at. All in all, it’s an interesting adventure and goes back to the roots of true gritty RPG gameplay.