A Binary Adventure
Alluris is an inventive take on the classic text adventure, where you create a character to embark on an epic adventure. Except, throughout all of Alluris, you only ever have two choices, to swipe left or right. This simple game by 562 Interactive seems shallow at first, but you’ll find your world quickly broadening. The charming art style and the sheer amount of forethought behind Alluris’ web of choices makes it an exciting experience.
The Cards Tell the Tale
Simply put, you encounter cards at random that will offer you choices. For example, you might encounter a pack of rats, and you can choose to fight them or flee. If you decide to fight, you take damage, but you’ll usually win and gain EXP to level up. This goes without saying, but if your health hits zero, you die and lose all progress. The game gives you a ton of potential cards to make your journey interesting.
Some cards are straightforward. If your given card is a location, your choices are usually either to enter or to walk past it. But cards will build up on other cards, and the game remembers every decision you ever make. Here’s an example of a more complex chain of events. In town, you might happen across a lute merchant and decide to buy the lute. Later on, if you visit a school, you can show your lute to learn how to play it. Then, if you encounter a pack of rats again, your option to fight will be replaced with “Play music”. The pack of rats will then follow you. If you go into the cave and fight to the end, the Rat Queen will appear, and thanks to being a “friend to rats”, you have the option to marry her. This is just one of the endless paths you can take. The game has a ton of replay value as a result.
How to Influence Your Path
You have 4 meters to keep track of: Health, EXP/Level, Gold, and Karma. These should be self-explanatory. You’ll also be able to keep items or achievements. These will all be listed under your character page. That’s pretty much all there is to Alluris. For every item/achievement that you get, a new choice opens somewhere in the story. If, say, you get tasked with a potion to deliver to another city, it’ll stay in your inventory. Then, a new card will appear when you’re in that city. As always, you have a choice. You can accomplish your quest, or you can sell the potion on the black market. This will have an impact on your karma and your gold. It might also have a further impact later down the line. Because every decision has 2 choices that lead to other choices, the game snowballs into a nigh-infinite variety of alternate paths.
The Journey, and the Unlockables
When you start the game, you have 3 variables for deciding your character (gender, race, and background). At the beginning you can only play as a human farmer and your initial quest is to travel with your uncle to celebrate your birthday. The choices you make as a human farmer will enable different character choices. Learning to play music will unlock the bard background. Marrying the rat queen will unlock the ratfolk race. It seems like the backgrounds influence where you start, because I once made a ratfolk cartographer and started on a deserted island. Cue an epic quest where I built a ship with the help of monkeys and took on an undead pirate king with the help of a talking treasure chest.
Alluris really is a unique experience and it has to be played to understand it. Thankfully, the game you download at first is the free demo version. There’s an option to upgrade to the full game for $4.99, but it’s hidden in the main menu. If the demo feels right to you, I can safely recommend getting the full game. The sheer volume of alternate paths gives you an endlessly replayable and customizable adventure in a small package.
It is Hardcore?
Yes, no matter what.
Alluris is a simple game where your only input is to swipe left or right, yet the way that the game builds on its narratives is a refreshing experience. Your choices will always have an impact later on, and with a little imagination, you can create endless stories.