Discover the Disc in Discworld: The Ankh-Morpork Map

Readers of the Discworld series always want more. If not, there wouldn’t be roughly a million billion books published about the goings on of the inhabitants of the Disc. Now the series has made the jump to iOS with Discworld: The Ankh-Morpork Map. How well does it stand up to the tower of books that precede it and can it satisfy Terry Pratchett’s most discerning fans?

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Ankh-Morpork, the Pearl of Cities!

If you’ve never read the Discworld series, Ankh-Morpork is a fictional city-state nestled on the banks of the River Ankh which runs straight through the city. The Ankh is the sort of river you don’t so much drown in as suffocate, as we learn in the Discworld books. Ankh-Morpork is the largest city in Discworld, and has all the culture and crime you can imagine of in a thriving metropolis.

There are two map views, the street map and the living map. The street map is great for just poking around Ankh-Morpork and checking out all the places you’ve read about in the books. This is about as close to a normal map as you’re going to get in the app, so if you just want to orient yourself in Ankh-Morpork or reference a location while reading a Discworld novel, the street map may be the place to go.

There's some pretty neat stuff to find.

There’s some pretty neat stuff to find.

To be honest, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the street map, though, because it just wasn’t as fun. Everything you see on the street map is available in the living map, but when you’ve got the living map up, you can also hear the sounds of Ankh-Morpork and get a better idea of the street-level geography. You’ll also see the residents of Ankh-Morpork and beyond wandering the streets if you stick to the living map, and that’s pretty cool if you know whom to look out for.

After you’ve gotten bored of just wandering around on your own, poking buildings and architectural features at random, tap the gold coin at the bottom to bring up the menu. Both the street index and city directory are great ways to guide your trip around Ankh-Morpork. The city directory will sort all the best spots in Ankh-Morpork by category, so you can take a spin through the Guilds or stop off at the City Watch if you get into trouble. Pro tip: Watch your purse at the Guild of Thieves and Allied Trades and hold your nose if you pass too close to the Guild of Beggars!

Watch your neck at the Guild of Assassins.

Watch your neck at the Guild of Assassins.

Get Lost on the Disc

What holds true in our world is the same on the Disc. After you’ve visited absolutely everything in a new city, or at least it feels like you have, it’s time for a guided tour to hit all the spots you missed. There are three guided walking tours that will take you past the landmarks and sights of Ankh-Morpork, dispensing history and wisdom about getting by in the city as you go.

Take a walking tour if you're not sure where to go.

Take a walking tour if you’re not sure where to go.

I’ll be honest here and say that this was probably my least favorite part of the Ankh-Morpork Map. Besides the obvious, that I was taking a walking tour on my iPad of imaginary and inherently silly Discworld locations, there wasn’t really anything fun or funny about the tour itself. Unseen University is an inherently funny place full of absurd residents, and when you click on it in the Ankh-Morpork Map, you get lots of laugh out loud commentary from the books, but the walking tour just lets us know that it’s there, it’s ridiculous, and some crazy wizards hang out there. There wasn’t anything to really make me smile.

If the worst thing about the app was the walking tours, and let’s be honest, they’re not even that bad, the best is that you can find the Discworld characters. You can even find Death. The app awards achievements for each character you manage to tap, and you can collect them all. Just like Pokémon. There are a ton of achievements, too, not just for characters, but for going on a pub crawl or visiting all the pubs on a street.

Find the members of the Watch and a lot of other Disc residents.

Find the members of the Watch and a lot of other Disc residents.

Yeah, It’s Pretty Good

I don’t think this app has a lot of appeal for anyone who hasn’t read at least one Discworld book, which is too bad, because the Ankh-Morpork Map is a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun, though, because I get all the in jokes. Without some knowledge of the series, you’ll be left wondering what’s going on.

Achievements are a big part of the Ankh-Morpork Map and really worked to make the app better; the achievements themselves were organic and fit in well with the Discworld theme. They had names that fit the series and were awarded for silly stuff, like finding the cow, a reference to the book, Where’s My Cow? by Terry Pratchett. The app achievements also served as an impetus to check out more of the map. Instead of just hanging around my beloved Unseen University and tapping the Librarian all day, I ventured out into the rest of the map and saw a lot more than I might have on my own.

It feels pretty good to get all those achievements.

It feels pretty good to get all those achievements.

At just shy of fourteen bucks, Discworld: The Ankh-Morpork Map may seem a bit pricey, and I don’t want to act like it’s cheap, but you sure are getting a lot for your money. With so much included content and literally hours of enjoyment, the math adds up on this one. Working out to about how much I’d spend on a couple of Discworld paperbacks, this app is definitely worth it if you’re a fan of the series.


Summary

A great complement to Terry Pratchett's already amazing series.

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