As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.
Horror games can be a bit of a mixed bag no matter what platform you’re playing on. You could be playing one on the PC with the highest frame-rate/performance, the best graphical content, and a 5.1 surround sound audio setup outputting a cinema-grade audio experience, and the game could still be so terrible that the result is more comedy than it is creepy.
However, Chillingo have gone out on a limb with their new game, In Fear I Trust, in the hope of re-installing some of that faith that handheld horror games can still give us reason to feel on edge.
In Fear I Trust has triumphed in areas others have failed. The first thing that strikes you is how the imagery in the game manages to conjure up an imagination so vivid that the question of “where the hell am I?” becomes more a question of “what the hell went on?” In Fear I Trust manages to cut right to the case with its opening cutscene, the protagonist signing up to participate in some kind of experiment which he seems reluctant to disclose information about. The next thing you know, you’re waking up in a cell in an empty facility, with little indication of what’s been going on and where the hell everyone has disappeared to.
The game’s ambient eerie choral noises and strange background noises add to the unsettling atmosphere that truly builds up throughout the game the more you advance. The blood splattered on the wall, the audio recordings, discarded notes and letters; each aspect manage to invoke the bleakest mental images.
Ordinarily, the game’s controls are similar to most touchscreen games, with the added bonus of being able to just tap wherever you want in order to move forward. They’re a bit clunky to get used to at first, and can detract a little from the overall general ambience of the game, but this is something that can be easily forgiven when you take into account how much work has gone into fleshing out the story. The game seems to rely on the recognisable escape-the-room mechanism, involving puzzles that don’t necessarily let you advance unless you have found a specific item or discovered something pertaining to the puzzle. It’s easy for the puzzles to seem a little out of place here, and sometimes detracting from the natural flow of the game, but they have a unique quality and challenging aspect about them that somewhat manages to redeem itself. The clues themselves are actually fairly easy to discover, considering there’s a retrospective visual mode that allows players to tap into an ethereal first person view to unearth potential clues, chilling messages or visions from the past. It’s hard to deny that In Fear I Trust is certainly different.
Furthermore, there are actually two episodes within the game itself, the first set in a prison and the second opening in a school. There’s no explanation on how they are connected at present, and it’s likely that further episodes will unravel the mystery or reasons behind the sudden narrative switch.
For a mobile game, In Fear I Trust looks outstanding. The lighting and textures combined manage to complement the overall tone of the game, which furthermore creates a dark, unsettling atmosphere. Some of the cutscenes actually blew me away; I wasn’t aware a mobile game was capable of such graphics and performance. It reminded me a little of when I tried out Republique, another game in which the graphical performance greatly impressed me. You can definitely tell the game is running on the Unreal Engine, and coupled together with such creepy overall noise effects, it certainly sends those chills running down your spine.
The game’s shortcomings were mainly due to its clunky controls and random crashes, along with the somewhat questionable localization and path-finding bugs. The sluggish analogue sticks are enough to make you want to perhaps give up on the game, but if you can endure it for the long-run, then it’s worth sticking with just to see where the game is headed. Though there isn’t really any answers in these initial episodes, it’s a solid escape-the-room puzzler, that definitely warrants a purchase.
One small nugget of warning is that if you have an iPad, you’ll probably benefit more from playing the game on that over the smaller, more portable iPhone, considering the text can sometimes be quite small and the puzzles can require some precision. It was clearly not really designed for the smaller device, but if you’re someone with no choice, it’s still worth at least a run-through.
Areas for Improvement
Stability fixes and perhaps a rethink of the control mechanics
Any issues for you? Let us know below and we’ll add them here
Technical Competency – 6/10
Graphic / Sound Quality – 9/10
Network Stability – N/A
Overall – 7/10
In Fear I Trust is a compelling horror game that manages to accomplish what it sets out to be; an eerily creepy and unsettling escape-the-room puzzler that’ll probably leave you with more questions than answers.
(These grades assess our playthrough, taking into consideration how many (if any) bugs were encountered, whether there were any interruptions in gameplay and the product’s final technical state. These scores, coupled with the Final Analysis and Areas for Development, are suggestions for future patches and updates which the developers could (and in our opinion, should) explore. These scores are separate to our DLC/Expansion Reviews but link into our Patch/Firmware Reviews.)
(These scores are not designed as a grading system to determine the entertainment value of a product and should not be treated as such..)
Issues you’ve encountered
Instability issues (random crashes, path-finding bugs)
Fiddly and troublesome control mechanics
Have you encountered any bugs and problems in your playthrough? Anything we missed? Add them in the comments below and we’ll slot them in!