In today’s world nearly everyone carries around a gaming device in their pocket. Mobile phones are rapidly becoming so powerful that they can easily handle large scale games with impressive graphics that can grant the same level of immersion as their console equivalents. I recently acquired an iPhone 6 + and have been looking for a game to really take advantage of my phones capabilities.Something that looked and sounded great and felt like it was at home on a touch screen phone. Until recently the games I found were all either ports of older generation console games such as Bioshock or Halo:Spartan Assault, or they were littered with in app purchases that frankly exhaust me; I excitedly downloaded the latest Jurassic World Game only to manage ten minutes before I had to begin speeding up my progress by spending a carefully managed in game currency that generates juuust slow enough to encourage you to buy them. Deleted.
Need a second mortgage to afford the Indominus Rex.
After all this searching and finding mostly nothing I have finally found the first game that feels like a perfect match for my powerful smart phone, and best of all; no in app purchases! None!
Til Morning’s Light feels like a more approachable version of the original Resident Evil, with aspects of the similar Luigi’s Mansion. Centralised around a haunted mansion, we’re swiftly given an intro to our nerdy character as she approaches the mansion and is subsequently forced to enter it by some school bullies. We soon understand that the mansion is haunted by various ghosts, namely one who won’t allow Erica Page to leave. Helped by other, more friendly ghostly residents Erica must explore the mansion finding keys and defeating ghosts along the way in order to escape by sunset lest she become a ghost herself.
Resident Evil anyone?
The first thing I noticed about this game is the clever implementation of character voicing, Erica especially is voiced very well with her comments and voice blending perfectly with her character, even when not in cut-scenes simply picking up an item will cue a short comment. This dialogue doesn’t get stale as even when repeating the same phrase such as, “it doesn’t do anything” it’s voiced in various different ways as to not grate on you through repetition.
The combat is entirely rhythm based. Initially this is a simple case of tapping the circles at the correct moment, though eventually this becomes slightly more of a challenge with swipes and taps required at different timings. This ensures the combat is fun though it is rarely a challenge even on the boss fights, this unfortunately means that the enemies littered among the levels soon become more of an annoyance than something to fear.
Swipe for survival.
While the combat isn’t too challenging the puzzles require more thought than I expected from a smart phone game, it helps to memorize the map and revisit locations with new items. However when revisiting areas of the map certain rooms would constantly re-spawn the enemies I’d already defeated, which meant I would spend my time running in between them rather than engaging them. I personally would have rather seen some form of weapon degradation system to increase difficulty rather than mere enemy repetition.
Boss battles combine the two main aspects of the game, initially beginning with a puzzle to solve whilst dodging attacks and culminating in a rhythm game with heightened difficulty, unfortunately this can result in an aggravating experience as the faster sections see the usually excellent controls begin to fail. One example of this I encountered in the first boss battle; a box had to be moved to a particular section though instead of moving the box to the left, Erica would consistently rotate around the box rather than pushing it, usually this would have been a minor issue but when also being smashed by ghostly attacks this quickly becomes infuriating.
Tap to begin facelift!
When launching the game you’re greeted by a screen saying “This game plays better with headphones”. Before writing this review I decided I should try this and realised I’d been missing out on a lot of the atmosphere. Doors slam, footsteps run past you and wood creaks all whilst you explore the mansion which greatly enhances the immersion, take heed of the notice and play this game with the headphones as instructed!
Til Morning’s light is an ambitious and welcome release from Amazon Game Studios partnering with WayForward Technologies, this marks one of the few new releases in Amazon Studio’s plan of releasing full, enjoyable games with no in app purchases, just one upfront price. So far the ones that have made their way to the iOS App Store are Til Morning’s Light and Lost Within, the latter of which looks to be more of an adult horror experience form the creators of Prey. I personally salute Amazon Game Studios for their efforts to bring games to smart devices that feature the staples of many console games without resorting to the typical cash grabbing methods we all know too well.
Til Morning’s Light is available now on the Apple App Store and on Android via the Amazon app store.