[iPhone] Unlock a treasure trove of text-based RPGs with Frotz

mzl.mhfkhncz.320x480-75There is probably no other genre of games that is as divisive as text-based RPGs. Some people love their immersive quality and their retro charm, but others find that finding the right commands to use can be too frustrating for words. If you fall into the former camp, then you should really check out the free app Frotz, a collection of classic text-based RPG games.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Frotz is a great collection of text-based role playing games and interactive fiction stories.


  • Over 20 engrossing games in a tiny, tiny package (plus more if you open up the database)
  • Easy to set your preferences for background color and text, as well as font size
  • Imaginative list of games, including classics like “Hitchhiker’s Guide,” “Varicella,” and “ZORK”
  • Word completion tool is a helpful addition
  • Dropbox support


  • Some users have a hard time figuring out how to navigate in these games


mzl.quqsnijy.320x480-75There are a ton of great games to enjoy within the confines of Frotz. There’s the classic game “Zork,” originator of the classic gaming phrase “You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”

The real gem, however, is “Varicella.” Unlike a lot of other text-based games out there, “Varicella” has a real sense of urgency. Each move you make in the game runs down the game’s internal clock, hastening in the appointed hour of your death. There’s ton of court intrigue, death, and wonderfully descriptive writing.

Another great title is “An Act of Murder,” a murder mystery game that’s very much in the style of Agatha Christie. It has great replay value, and is tons of fun if you fancy yourself as a bit of an amateur sleuth.

The Frotz interface itself really makes playing a lot easier than web-based versions of these same games. Most notably, Frotz uses a predictive word completion tool, which is great for saving you time as well as suggesting the best possible action verbs you’ll need to move the story along.

Conclusion and download link

Frotz is 100% free, so there’s no reason to not check it out. Whether you’re new to the genre, or want to relive the old days of playing text-based RPGs on your Commodore 64, Frotz is a great way to experience some of these classic games.

Tracking down all of these disparate titles individually and downloading them to your various devices and computers would be an utter nightmare. Frotz collects these games all in one place and makes for a very engrossing little app. With a massive blizzard poised to hit the Northeast this weekend, I might just spend a few hours playing Frotz games in the coming days while I wait for the roads to get plowed.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.6

Requires iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, iOS version 3.0 or later

Download size: 117 MB

Frotz on Apple App Store

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  • Coyote

    I honestly forgot all about these…. can’t wait to play HHGTG again. Oh and there are several frotz players for droid, going to try some out now.

    This is also somthing anybody interested in these should know about;
    The Interactive Fiction Archive

  • Ashraf

    @OldMalden: Yes we do indeed. Thanks, fixed.

  • OldMalden

    Perhaps you actually mean ” .. no reason NOT to check it out .. ”

    I wonder if the old text game we had on our DEC Vax is there .. iirc it was called “Dungeon” – I’d better check it out!