80 DAYS is an adventure game based on the classic Jules Verne novel. Can you guess which one? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Journey to the Center of the Earth. The literary inspiration results in a game with lots of reading. So, if you aren’t a bookworm this release might not be for you. If you do fancy a good read… well, keep reading this review.

With a Choose Your Own Adventure format or “Choose your own route” one, 80 DAYS is high on replay value. In fact, I’ve played through it five times and counting. The 80 in-game days translate to just over an hour or so of playtime. As for my personal rate of success, my first two tries were victorious, while my last three were not. It seems I’m getting worse the longer I play, though Phileas Fogg is a forgiving boss.

This game has a cool steampunk twist, with unique modes of transport. Even the more common airships and trains reflect the mechanized aesthetic. Nonetheless, this choice somehow manages to not feel jarring from its source material. Really, only the romantic subplots for Passepartout come off feeling forced. With this exception, the writing in 80 DAYS is of the strong, page-turning variety.

There are 150 cities that you can visit. The direct route isn’t always what seems obvious – which is good as it would make things too easy – so you’ll need to experiment. You’ll also need to keep in mind Phileas Fogg’s travel funds. While banks are usually on-hand to access his account, there were no ATMs in the 1800s; it takes time for cash to arrive in 80 DAYS.

Speaking of money, Passepartout can help out here. Whether it’s smart buying and selling in the market, or choosing to find temporary valet type work in a city, there’s activeness. It could mean the difference between rolling into London having succeeded in the wager or having failed. Even in success, it’s nice to finish the trip with as healthy a profit as you can. 80 DAYS will inform you of this upon completion, along with the number of cities you visited, and how many miles you traveled.

Lots and lots of dangers await you. Will you risk freezing to death in the North Pole? Get caught up in a murder investigation in the middle of the ocean? The game does quite a good job of creating real tension, and more than once I felt myself getting nervous. Often such events can be triggered by simply talking to the wrong person, but such inquiries are needed to discover additional routes. No matter your route, something unexpected will be in store, which certainly aids the replay value. 

I should mention that 80 DAYS is $12.99 on the Nintendo Switch. If you’re up in the air, you might consider waiting for a sale to bring this 2014 port in line with other versions, versions that also have some features this port lacks. But one way or another, this game is worth packing your bags for.

Instead of “just one more chapter” 80 DAYS will have you saying “just one more playthrough”. It might also have you wanting to revisit Jules Verne’s novel. It comes recommended to booklovers and those desiring to a digital taste of the valet lifestyle.