I remember the frustration I felt in front of my monitor trying to combine whatnot with a tree. Oh how I hated Simon, and yes I still hate him the silly git. Unlike Guybrush Threepwood of Monkey Island fame Simon is not a likeable or memorable character to me. When Simon abuses me for trying to combine stuff I get mad at him, and if I could I would knock him out. But somehow I have always persevered because I at least liked his scruffy dog Chippy.
Simon and Chippy fool around with a chest containing “Ye Olde Spellbooke”, and as you might guess this doesn’t end well. After stepping into a portal they emerge in a other world in the middle of a quest to rescue a wizard named Calypso. The bad guy is called Sordid, and Simon has got quite a challenge ahead of him.
Simon the Sorcerer 1 is a classic point and click adventure with the commands visible below the game area. You have two control options available, and you can switch easily by tapping the upper left corner of the screen. Option one lets you drag a cursor around the screen. It is similar to the controls of Monkey Island for iPhone but the cursor moves much quicker. The second method is a direct cursor where you get the cursor exactly where you tap. To counter the blockage of your finger a zoomed in picture shows what you are pointing at. Both methods work well, and I find myself switching between them often to get some variation.
The game is remastered for the iPhone but really not much has changed from the 1993 original. And since it both looked and sounded good back in those days it still holds up quite well. The game can feel quite cluttered and confined at times due to the small screen. This is most evident in cramped spaces with loads of stuff such as the shop with the arguing Siamese twin shop attendant.
One thing that I found to my dislike back in the 90’s and still find is the fact that there are too many places to visit early in the game. To new gamers this might be a turnoff.
Humour is the main ingredient though that makes the game worth playing. References to Lord of the Rings, Narnia and other classic works can really bring a big grin to my face. Having one of my favourite comedians doing the voice of Simon helps as well, Chris Barrie of Red Dwarf fame gives the obnoxious turd a really fun sarcastic attitude.
I love how these classics come to my phone, and Simon the Sorcerer 1 is a good example of the point and click adventure genre. Still I think it is better to start off exploring the genre in the shoes of Guybrush even though Simon controls much better.
Presentation & Graphics
The pre rendered backgrounds look great but sadly once you have to search for clues and items the size of the screen limits visibility. At times it becomes hard to distinguish things as the colour palette is murky. The animations are just as funny as they used to be, and the way Simon struts about dragging his cloak is hilarious. I like the fact that the original list of actions, as well as the inventory are located beneath the game area just like in the original.
Great music that annoys my brain to bursting point, but I still like it in the same manner as I like Simon. Voice acting is perfect with Chris Barrie as Simon, and a host of talented people giving voice to the quirky characters around him.
The controls work well, although it can be hard to spot objects to interact with on the small screen. Some puzzles are balancing on the edge of sanity, and if you aren’t inclined to laugh at illogical solutions you are better off avoiding Simon the Sorcerer. Humour is what makes the game, and if you are into fantasy and the novels by Terry Pratchett you will love the world Simon and Chippy get thrown into.
If you steer clear of game guides Simon will have you ripping your hair out for quite some time. Getting past the harder puzzles might take days and even weeks of trying to forget all about Calypso and Sordid. Once complete I don’t think there is any point in replaying the game, but hey then you can hope and wait for the next chapter in the saga of Simon.
Simon the Sorcerer 1 packs humour, mind-blowing puzzles and some of the best voice acting in a game to date. It also gives you frustration, a sometimes cluttered screen and an urge to strangle anyone named Simon or anyone wearing purple.