This is a spoiler free review of Papasangre originally written by Quasar in December of 2010.
Having beaten Papa Sangre, I thought I’d share some thoughts and observations.
My reaction when I first saw the price of the game was similar to that of many: [wow]! What an expensive app. However, after purchasing and playing the game, I must say that while I would have preferred to pay less than it was, the price for what I got was not unreasonable. I’ll break things down below:
The controls in this game are extremely easy to learn but are not so simplistic as to make the game boring. The device is oriented in landscape mode with the home button to the left. The bottom half of the screen is broken up into two sections representing the left and right foot. You tap these in succession to make your character walk or run by tapping them faster. If you go to fast, you will trip and fall, usually with unfortunate consequences. Above these is a compass which takes up the entire top half of the screen. You turn by moving your finger left or right along this to make your character turn left or right respectively. Those are all the controls. In between levels there is a continue button you have to press which is in the center of the screen or you can turn VoiceOver on to hit it.
The first three levels of the game are a tutorial which will walk you through learning the controls and picking up objects. After that, the remainder of the twenty-five levels are the storyline of the game. As you progress through, a narrator will set the scene for you at the start and end of each level, and sometimes guide you or give you hints about what to do next. Each level is a specific challenge, which can take about two-three minutes each. You complete the level by picking up the music notes, and then walking to the door out. You can be hindered by special surfaces which will slow you or broadcast your position to any enemies in the level, and said enemies which will try to chase and kill you.
There is always at least one enemy or trap in each level. You do not do combat with the enemies, simply avoid them, which can be harder than it sounds as certain actions will telegraph your position to them. If an enemy catches you or you stumble into it, you will die. Dying will cause the level to end, and the narrator to either give you a pointer how to avoid getting killed, or make a sarcastic comment. My favorite death comment from one musically oriented level: “Crash, bang, snuffled. Encore!” You must then start the level over from the beginning.
For an experienced audio gamer, this game will not be very difficult. That said, the levels are varied enough that you will almost certainly get crunched or chopped a fair number of times. The control scheme can increase the difficulty if you get to anxious and start falling down all over the place.
The audio environment, sounds, voices, etc. are all very good. Sounds move very smoothly when you turn and sound muffled when behind you. The app is 120 MB in size, and the sounds make that size worth it. Many of the sounds, especially the death sounds can be quite graphic, and the horror theme is very well done.
This game has very little in the way of replayability. The items and enemies as far as I can tell are in the same position every game. However, some levels do have alternate endings.
This app, though expensive, was well worth the price. It is quite fun and the audio is the highest quality I’ve seen in an app on the I-devices. Despite its lack of replayability and unspectacular difficulty, the app is still a lot of fun and I will still be playing it a lot. As for accessibility, the app is completely accessible, and will even prompt you when to turn on and off VoiceOver.
I thought I’d put together some ratings, on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. Here it goes:
Audio: 5 – Superb presentation, highest quality sounds and voices
Controls: 5 – Though simple, the controls are perfect for the gameplay.
Story: 4 – Though simplistic, the storyline is well done and serves to link the separate levels together nicely.
Gameplay: 5 – The levels provide a lot of fun and interesting challenges,
And will keep all but an experienced audio gamer active for a while.
Difficulty: 3 – fore someone who has experience playing audio games, this game will not prove very difficult.
Replayability: 2 – other than a few alternate endings, the really isn’t much.
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)