Developer: Arif Games
Release Date: 11/13/2015
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The Good: Fantastic visual and atmosphere, great audio, fun puzzles and story
The Bad: Hunting is tedious, constant backtracking is a bore, battles and equipment upgrades feel rigged and scripted
Horror games don’t really work well on mobile devices as it’s hard to get someone to sit down with a phone in the dark with headphones and drag them through a slow paced atmospheric adventure. Thankfully, Dark Fear manages to do just this thanks to its catchy story and quick moving gameplay.
You start out in a cabin the middle of the woods not knowing who you are or why you got here. The dark and macabre 8-bit visuals and music help bring this game to life in a very nostalgic way. Tapping on everything in sight is the best way to find what objects you need, but thankfully most are in plain sight. Each area is only one screen so getting lost is actually quite hard. Once you get out you learn to fight with the strange, but the fun battle system. Like a typical 8-bit RPG you just press you command and try to kill your enemies. However, Dark Fear’s combat is strange as in it’s almost scripted. Certain weapons and armor unlock at certain points in the game allowing you to do only so much damage to the minute amount of enemies present. This leads me to believe that there’s a simple strategy or just not missing your shot and the numbers calculate to you winning.
Outside of battle, you can hunt which is mainly used to gain currency to buy items in the game. Hunting is rather tedious as it’s a power meter mini-game where you just tap when an arrow is inside a green box, and the same goes for fishing. Going from place to place will help you solve puzzles and riddles and get one step closer as to who you are and what your goal is. My favorite part about the game is that there are some damn scary moments. One of which was a little girl inside a mansion that appeared out of nowhere, and then after some dialog. popped up right in my face with a blood-curdling scream that made me jump and pause the game. There are several moments like this and they’re great.
Once you start unraveling the mystery and get through about 2 hours of the game the backtracking gets very tedious as you will visit most areas over a dozen times over only to finish a part of the puzzle from much earlier in the game. Some puzzles are obtuse and obscure requiring a guide and some are down right too easy. It’s a mixed bag, but the game is still great for what it is. I honestly enjoyed every minute of this game and felt the 4 hours play through was well worth it. Any old school RPG fan will get a kick out of this game.
With that said, the visuals and audio experiences are one of a kind on mobile devices and Dark Fear it top notch. The battle system feels rigged, as well as the equipment upgrade, hunting is tedious, but the story and unique puzzles will keep you glued.