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80 Days

August 14, 2014

By: Deanne Shoyer

Small But Kinda Mighty

The core strength of this steampunk re-imagining of the classic Jules Verne adventure is the stories woven into its massive and ever-changing narrative.

80 Days is an exceptional book/game hybrid app from inkle, creators of the app Frankenstein & Sorcery. For this project, the developers have teamed up with Profile Books for their latest release. The 80 Days by inkle app is listed in the App Store as a Game, which makes sense from a marketing perspective but for me it’s an interactive book, or graphic novel if you prefer. Not just from a practical perspective – you can’t play the game if you can’t read – but because the core strength of this steampunk re-imagining of the classic Jules Verne adventure is the stories woven into its massive and ever-changing narrative.

Summary – is 80 Days by inkle worth buying?

If you fall into any of the following categories then most definitely, yes:

  • Children aged 12 and over, teens and adults (who can read – more on that later).
  • Parents, educators and home schoolers who are working with reluctant readers or looking for imaginative ways to spark an interest in subjects as diverse as: the history of the Victorian era, colonialism, social studies, geography and geopolitics.

At $4.99* this app offers a huge amount of quality content (at over 500,000 words that’s more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy) as well as exceptional replay value.

*Price At Time of Review

How does it work?

You progress through the adventure as Passepartout, the newly-hired valet of Phileas Fogg. Fogg has made a wager that he can travel around the world in 80 days and exhorts Passepartout to make haste and pack a bag for your travels.

You quickly discover that you are responsible for all transport arrangements, luggage, finances and Fogg’s health. The journey starts with you hurriedly packing a suitcase. As you read through the narrative you are presented with options, which ones you choose will have a big impact on how your journey unfolds and, according to the developer, there are 10,000 different choices within this story.

There are five main things always in sight on-screen:

  • Fogg’s health is shown at the bottom right
  • Tap the suitcase on the bottom left to see what items you currently have in your luggage
  • The cog at the top right of the screen allows you to restart the game
  • In the middle of the screen at the top you can easily see how much money you have, how many days have elapsed on your journey and the current time.
  • The button on the top left allows you to share your progress with others via social media. For example, here’s the second time I made it to London a day late:

My journey Around the World in 81 Days. Twice now I've done it in 81. *shakes fist*  As you travel, in addition to reading through the narrative you will typically be shown between one and three options – Wait, Converse and Fogg: The wait option provides a tid-bit of news (sometimes featuring our protagonists). Hit the Fogg button if you think he needs some care and attention. From a tactical perspective, I found having conversations to be one of the most fun aspects of the app. Items you purchase or pick up on your travels enable you to prolong certain conversations – and the longer you keep them talking, the more information you can winkle out of them.

Whenever you discover a new route, the app immediately shows you where on the globe the route lies. When you arrive at a destination you face further choices depending on the day and time of your arrival. The only cost incurred by exploring and going to the Bank is that these activities eat up time – but time is a precious and finite commodity! The plan option allows you to check all possible routes out of this location. It changes to ‘Depart’ when transportation is leaving that day. Hotel stays cost money but keep Fogg healthy. This button sometimes changes to Explore during the day time. The Market is typically open only from 7am to 7pm but you can move forward time by tapping on the clock at the top of the screen. Bank opening hours are even more restrictive.

The Market is somewhere you will likely visit everywhere you go (although forewarned, Markets and Banks don’t exist in all locations). At Markets you can sell and buy items that are either useful on your journey or that can be sold at future destinations for large sums. You can sometimes purchase extra luggage but be careful to ensure your chosen mode of transit can accommodate all the suitcases you have on hand

What do I like about the app?

  • Meg Jayanth has put together an amazing adaptation of the source material. She has somehow managed to faithfully reproduce the people, characteristics and language of the original but re-imagined it in a way that engages (and doesn’t offend) a modern readership.
  • The original story involves two white, Victorian, European men racing through the colonies with all the metaphorical baggage that implies. But in Jayanth’s rendering, Passepartout in particular is no two-dimensional stereotype and women and people of colour are just as likely as white men to be engineers, people of power and captains of vessels.
  • The 1860s and 70s were a period of enormous geopolitical change and this is reflected in the story – the Franco-Prussian wars, German and Italian re-unification, the American Civil War

    , the building of the Suez and Panama Canals – all of these and more are referenced. But in the alternate universe of this story the British Empire is already in decline, the Zulu nation has prevented much of Africa being colonized and Haiti is a power to be reckoned with in both the Caribbean and the Americas.
  • The story is riveting, funny and surprising. During my adventures I was accused of murder, I freed prisoners and assisted with the birth of a baby, I was imprisoned and destitute as well as kidnapped by pirates and submariners, I talked with both slavers and the freed and flirted with women and men alike.
  • The graphics are gorgeous and the steampunk aspect of the story leads to the most fantastical and improbable methods of transportation:

Some of the transportation options are decidedly non-traditional

All in all it’s a gorgeous, imaginative and addictive story. I have now managed to complete a journey around the world within 80 days (three times!) but I find myself starting the journey anew, wanting to visit the places I haven’t seen as well as encounter characters I haven’t yet met and hear their stories.

Recommendations for developer to consider

  • Accessibility. As I mentioned previously, this is a perfect app for reluctant readers, not just because it’s a great story but because the text is broken down into chunks and interspersed with lots of interactive elements. However, if a reluctant reader has difficulties reading or for any and all buyers who need accessibility support, the app falls short. I did tweet the developer to ask if the app would work with Speak Screen (one of the new features coming with iOS 8). It doesn’t look good, which is disappointing but they are looking into whether it’s technically feasible.
  • I’m sure the story is what it is at this point but I confess to being disappointed that there were no Canadian destinations at all. Especially given the fact that Confederation occurred in 1867, the Riel Rebellion was in 1869 and Alexander Graham Bell was poised to invent the telephone.
  • I did see a couple of typos (not surprising given the sheer volume of text involved, so this is a minor quibble)

Highly Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

This app was originally reviewed on August 6th, 2014 on Deanne Shoyer's blog, SmallButKindaMighty.com. Deanne fundraised to acquire iPads for her autistic 8 year-old twin boys nearly four years ago and has been an iOS addict ever since. She has reviewed apps for Smart Apps for Kids and The iMums and also reviews them on her own site, Small But Kinda Mighty, where she posts on topics as diverse as books, history, social justice and products of interest to parents.

Deanne is a freelance writer and has been featured in The Good Men Project, Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, Help We've Got Kids, Technology in Education and on the blogs of app developers Tribal Nova, iStoryTime and Cupcake Digital. Her blog reached the Top 15 in Babble.com's 2012 popular vote for the top 30 autism blogs for parents and in 2013 she was voted the Circle of Moms #1 Tech Mom Blogger.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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80 Days

August 14, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

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Jules Verne

inkle Ltd

Length (time):
45 - 60 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 10 - 18 +

English •

Length (pages):
100 Pages


Story Synopsis - 80 Days

Source: iTunes:

1872, with a steampunk twist. Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the world in just eighty days. Choose your own route around a 3D globe, travelling by airship, submarine, mechanical camel, steam-train and more, racing other players and a clock that never stops.

* "For people who love high adventures and good writing, 80 Days is a voyage that must be taken" - The Verge
* "Interactive storytelling as its best" - The Guardian
* "A brilliantly paced, memorable and quite frankly terrific piece of modern interactive fiction, that masterfully blends strategy, resource management and adventure" - IndieGames.com
* "one of the best iOS games of the year." - iLounge

150 cities to explore. Detailed research and techno-fantasy combine in an 1872 of tensions, inventions and exploration. Climb the Burmese mountains, trek the Zulu Federation, sail up the Amazon and disappear under the Indian Ocean - but don't fall behind the time! 

* "Could be the best interactive fiction game out there" - 148 Apps
* "A sublime video game to immerse yourself in" - The Examiner
* "One of the most extraordinarily memorable and unique games I’ve played in years" - Pocket Tactics 
* "Everything about this game is perfect" - AppAdvice
* "Innovative and extraordinary, and unpredictable fun" - Apps Zoom
* "Rich with ideas, brilliantly written, and creates a world that you'll want to visit over and over again" - PocketGamer (gold award)

Featuring stunning art by Jaume Illustration, a half-million word script by Meg Jayanth, original music by Laurence Chapman, and built using the same inklewriter engine that powers our critically-acclaimed Sorcery! series, 80 DAYS is an interactive adventure created by your choices, on the fly, and is different every time you play.

Playing as Phileas Fogg's loyal valet, Passepartout, you must balance your master's health, your finances, and the time, as you choose your own path from city to city all the way around the world. Bribe your way onto early departures, but don't let yourself go bankrupt or you'll be sleeping rough and begging for aid! Trade items for profit, and collect the equipment for the conditions you'll face: but too much luggage will slow you down...

80 DAYS is a breakneck race, with an in-game clock that never stops running. Trains, steamers, hot-air balloons, boats, camels, horses and more leave and arrive minute by minute. 

Every city and journey is narrated via an interactive story where you control every action. Will your choices speed you up - or lead you into disaster? Will you earn Fogg's trust and respect? Will you uncover the secrets and short-cuts that can shave days off your time? Murder, romance, rebellion and intrigue await! 

The app is network-connected, with a live feed that shows you the position of all the other players of the game, their routes, triumphs and disasters. You can race to be the fastest - or look ahead to learn the secrets of the world.

Share your own journey with friends, and load other's routes directly into your app so you can race head-to-head.

80 DAYS is a complete experience, with no in-app purchases, and was made by a core team of just four people. If you enjoy it, please leave a rating, and check out our Sorcery! series.


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Orientation: Landscape & Portrait

Format: Universal


Start Game, Credits, Restart/Reset Game, Suitcase of Items, Links: AppStore, eMail, Twitter

App Release Date:


Size: 149.59 MB

Version: 1.0.3

Lite Version Available: No



80 Days

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