Mobile gaming is a hotbed of innovation, with new genres and subgenres popping up all the time as developers continue to explore the potential of smartphone technology. 

But one of our favorite developments of the smartphone era is the return of text adventures, like the ones we used to play all the way back in the ‘80s. There’s nothing quite like reading your way through a game, deciding for yourself how the story ends.

Black Lazar, from one-man studio Pleon Words, is the latest choose-your-own text adventure to land on our desks, and it has the makings of an instant classic. 

This slick, noirish adventure sees you playing as Detective Viktor Metrakos as he pursues a vicious crime lord. All the while his tragic past and the decisions that you make on his behalf are threatening to undermine his investigation.

You’ll travel the world, revisit the past via flashback sequences, and meet a rich variety of different characters – some of them more trustworthy than others. 

Black Lazar is an absolutely huge text adventure, consisting of more than 250,000 words across 15 chapters. That’s the equivalent of a 500 page book.

It’s infinitely replayable, too, since the choices you make change the course of events and even determine the ending. You can read Black Lazar over and over again, exploring the narrative possibilities till all 500 variables are exhausted.

Interestingly, the choices you make don’t just affect the behavior of the characters around you – they affect Metrakos, too. You can choose to make him a cautious, timid detective or a ruthless renegade, depending on the actions you select. 

In addition to its reams of text, Black Lazar boasts over 120 distinctive hand-drawn, animated artworks, with characters’ expressions changing to reflect the things you say to them.

There’s over an hour of original music, too, in a variety of styles, and more than 100 immersion-enhancing Foley effects such as creaking floorboards and the sound of iron hitting bone. Not bad for a solo developer. 

You can download Black Lazar for free right now on the Google Play Store.