bloodlaurels.png"Cults. Conspiracies. Poison. Stabbing. Blackmail. Seduction. Prophecies and rumors. Divine wrath -- or possibly just bad weather."

Blood & Laurels, the game that almost didn't happen, has finally made itself available for iPads worldwide and it is simply glorious. An insta-buy as the kids usually (or used to; one never knows) say.

Blood & Laurels, you see, will help you remember what a brilliant thing reading is and, should you already be an admirer of words, show you what interactive text can accomplish. Emily Short and Richard Evans have managed to create an excellently written and richly illustrated choose-your-own-adventure of sorts that feels both theatrical and revolutionary.

Impressively, it sports over 240,000 words, an eclectic selection of smart AI characters, unique new gameplay systems and a vast selection of choices to be made. Also, multiple endings and paths.

Set in the great city of Rome roughly eight centuries after the mythical Romulus and Remus originally founded it, the game casts you as Marcus -- a poet in need of patronage in order to survive one of the imperial capital's darkest eras. A poet whose ideals you get to play with while trying to forget a woman and getting drawn into a web of conspiracies, politics and not particularly cheery omens.

As the authors put it: "Blood & Laurels offers dozens of outcomes for Marcus, his friends, his enemies, and Rome itself. The choices you make for him will decide not only how he ends up, but what kind of man he is when he reaches the end."

Now, do the wise thing and buy Blood & Laurels on the App Store for $2.99.