Friday, October 18, 2013

Michelin Game - Indigo Lake Review

There are very few horror videogames that are actually terrifying, and even fewer on the iOS platform. But 3 Cubes Research seems to want to alter that with their latest release.

Indigo Lake is also an iOS game unlike any that I have come across so far. It is a combination of a few gaming genres, and yet as a whole, it feels very fresh and inventive as well.

It has elements of FPS, sandbox exploration, adventure puzzles and Japanese themed horror atmosphere all meshed into a well told storyline.

The premise is deceptively quite straightforward. You are being sent to this creepy island that is perpetually raining to investigate the rather bizarre suicides of the island's rather small population.

What unfolds is a rather gripping tale that I will not spoil too much of. You will have to play it to the end to get to the bottom of the rather enjoyable and thrilling plot.

Amazing Graphics

You are armed with a pistol that seems to have an unlimited amount of ammo, and given a 4x4 jeep to drive around the island, that is rather large. The whole game is played from a FPS perspective and the controls are equally similar to what you get from FPS games.

What is amazing is how the developer managed to nail the controls and the movement so perfectly that it really sets the bar for future FPS controls and movements. The bobbing of the head movement, coupled with the perfectly timed horizontal and vertical movements are so on the spot that I really hope that other FPS will follow suit.

4x4 Jeep

As for the driving part, it is almost as brilliant as the FPS movement. The car feels totally realistic with its physics and movement, and the controls are very similar to GTA 3, but are even better here in terms of the momentum and speed. Driving just feels so good here.

In fact, the whole island feels really organic and alive. The bushes and branches waver realistically, and the raindrops fall equally realistically on the ground and off objects. And the lighting is amazing as well, lending the whole game this incredible spooky atmosphere.

Solving Puzzles

The effects are really well done here. The smoke and particle effects are so cool they really enhance the game by quite a bit. The whole 3D engine is as good as most console games out there today, and this coming from a rather unknown developer in the gaming industry.

The key gameplay is not FPS shooting. Though there is quite a lot of shooting to be done, the main part of the game is really classic puzzle solving adventuring akin to the good days of Myst. The puzzles themselves are challenging, without being obtuse and there is very little hand holding involved.

iOS Horror

The puzzles themselves are also quite varied, and logical, and the incentive to finish the story is really great here. In fact, as the game progresses, the story actually picks up even more and you will be even more drawn into the storyline.

As for the horror itself, Indigo Lake is quite simply the best horror iOS game out there. It may be even the best horror experience of any platform this year. The atmosphere itself is chilling, but what will terrify you even more are the very sudden impact moments that will totally catch you off guard. And there are quite a few of those in the game.

The game also allows you to record your facial reactions via the iOS device's front facing camera as you play, and that is really a neat trick. Though very much a novelty, this feature is still very welcomed.

Ghostly Apparitions

Add to this, is one of the best soundtracks in an iOS game ever,. The soundtrack will chill you to the bones, especially when play this game deep in the night. The sound effects and the musical score really add to the terror and fear and is utterly exceptional for an iOS game.

Beyond the details that I have already divulged, the only other thing for anyone with an iPhone or iPad is to get this now. The game is optimized even for older devices like iPhone 4, and virtually on any device, the framerate is a constant 30fps and silky smooth throughout.

The sandbox element is so cool that there is never a break in transition from area to area. Much like the GTA games, you can walk, explore and drive from area to area without additional loading screens, and there is usually only a very slight pause between areas. The illusion is never broken as the island is one seamless visual and aural experience.

Indigo Lake really surprised me with its technical perfections, in particular, the FPS movement and driving elements. But what impressed me more is the really great gameplay and storyline that really makes this a truly supreme achievement for a videogame.

iOS gaming keeps on evolving, and Indigo Lake is really a shining example of what indie developers on this platform are able to accomplish. A truly unique gaming experience that is easily 5 to 6 hours of gameplay on your first run through.

It may not have replayability once you finish it, but for that few hours, you will be enthralled and terrified with what is one of the best gaming experiences this year.

Indigo Lake is an incredible piece of work and is truly a masterpiece.

Indigo Lake
US$1.99 - Click here to download.

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