This month up we’ve got 2 solid horror games for you to enjoy and one new media experience that fell short. Each of the games are available on both major mobile formats and there are no zombies to follow up last month’s zombie extravaganza! We have an adventure game, and a solid side scroller for your enjoyment and mine!
(Note: All games are tested on one or more of the following devices: iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3, iPad2, Nexus 10.)
Description: Emilly in Darkness is successful due to it being all about the setting. The story opens and we follow Emily in a forest. We don't see the tranquil setting for long though as she's quite quickly shot in the head and we end up in some kind of limbo. You’ll need to navigate through this strange land and avoid traps and monsters while meeting others who are also trapped in this dark and creepy new mazelike world.
This place Emilly ends up appears to be a form of limbo and is an extremely darkly lit landscape that sets the tone as darkness always tends to do. Constantly avoiding or fighting dangers, trying to move ahead, it’s a great mix of adventure and survival horror. Can you find out more about exactly where you are and how to escape?
Review: The virtual joystick is clearly the gaming control of choice this week for the two games in this roundup. Emilly in Darkness stands out as having the best control for movement and on top of has an virtual A and B button (think NES controller) for interacting with the game and fighting monsters. Speaking of fighting monsters you are going to be using Emilly's very blood in order to defeat them. While the blood regenerates over time, and you can occasionally find some, it's a slow process and a limited resource so you aren't going to want to engage every enemy you stumble across.
When fighting enemies and you lose in your fight against them you don't 'die'. What ends up happening is you return to the last checkpoint. Considering you may very well be dead it's pretty much where the game last has bound your soul. The game has a solid plot that will draw you in with intrigue even when some of the actual written text is subpar (which would be my only complaint about the game.) The sound, setting, and visuals are played off in perfect harmony to get you into the mood for a game like this. In fact I highly suggest playing this one in the dark.
If you are looking for a new adventure game in a horror themed world you are going to want to pick up Emilly in Darkness today!
Description: Fangz is our answer to last month's zombie filled post. Sure we've got zombies off the list of games this month but we do have a group of undead to fight off. In Fangz we play the roll of Frank. Frank's family has been kidnapped by vampires and he's a little angry that these bloodsuckers have taken those he holds most dear to his heart.
Frank knows how to handle vampires though - loads of firepower and blunt weapons. Will you be able to survive battling your way through 10 multi-level areas to save your family from this undead threat?
Review: This side scroller shoot um up keeps you locked on one screen at a time. While on each screen though you are using a movement control and a choice of weapons to dispatches the vampires that are coming at you from every side.
Of all of the cartoony games I've played recently this one stands out as visually looking the best, at least in the HD version. I didn't pick up the standard graphic one so can't honestly compare the art between the two.
As a shoot um up you don't always get a leveling system but Fangz happily delivers one that lets you up a multitude of aspects as well as stumble across items you can later use to trade for better weapons.
If it wasn't for the game being slightly repetitive at points the combination of leveling and art would have pushed this to my top game of the month. It's honestly never been such a pleasure to blow through hordes of blood sucking vampires. While it didn't take the top spot it's still a close second and if you like side scrollers will absolutely want to check this one out!
Description: In the press release for Haunting Melissa there included a single description that had me completely intrigued thinking we might be being introduced to a bold new way to tell horror through media. That description was “It’s not a movie stuffed into an app, it’s using an app to tell a story in a brand new way.” and all I can say is that the only bold thing about it was that it was a bold faced mislead. The brand new way is to deliver the portions of the story in small sections to your mobile device, never knowing when they are there aside from push notifications.
I think web series have been doing this for years just not in an app format.
At any rate in Haunting Melissa we see that young Melissa has vanished without a trace. No one knows how or why and we are shown the story in shaky cam styled flashbacks on what occurred. The flashbacks show a Melissa who believes that since her mother died she is being haunted by her spirit. (I’m wondering if it ‘ll be her mother’s spirit or whatever really killed her mother.)
Review: There isn’t much we can really review on this one. There isn’t gameplay and while you would think that means we can’t comment on controls you’d actually be wrong! When you open the app you have the ability to view the first of what appears to be eleven episodes and click the play button. There is no fast forwarding in the app and you need to complete each episode before your device will be ready for the second one to come in.
I can’t say that what little of the story we are given is bad as we find out more about Melissa’s world once we delve into the first flashback. However, it’s not great either. The quality of the shaky cam styled video found within (actual cam being used to prove there’s a ghost as well) is top notch they really don’t give us enough character development. One of the things that make this style of film successful is actually caring somewhat about the character(s) and you don’t get that from the first episode. It is being created by Neal Edelstein (Mulholland Drive) who’s had a lot of experience working with decent horror and long term will probably deliver a fun experience, I just haven’t been sold on it from the first episode.
I honestly don’t feel this storytelling format works and while I’m all for trying new things I am not sold on this being an app with a future. Don’t get me wrong. I love episodic games. I watch television shows on a weekly basis. It just doesn’t feel that it fits right when you combine them on a mobile device without being sure when you’ll have access to the next portion.