Horror is a hard mistress to tame. Be it in film or video games the same rules tend to apply, the budget isn’t always a factor in quality, but just because something is indie, it doesn’t mean it’s good. There’s a number of things that I’m sick of in gaming:
- 1. Characters that have coms chat but have to walk slowly with a finger in the ear to get it going.
- 2. Boss fights being Quick Time Events.
- 3. Indie developers all doing survival horror FPS games.
In Fear I Trust is a game from developers Blackwing Foundation, who have brought to the table a psychological thriller for iOS devices. In Fear I Trust puts you in the prison greys of Nick, a man who can’t remember who he is or how he arrived at a creepy abandoned facility buried deep in Soviet Russia.
The game starts with Nick going into an office and signing up to a programme. What the programme’s aim was is teased like a perfect burlesque. After awaking in a cell alone and to some confusion you must use every shade of grey matter to put together the fragments of memories. To aid you on your quest you discover cassette tapes that features interviews with other participants on the programme. This is where In Fear I Trust comes into its own.
There’s many types of horror, the jump scare, the gore scare and the most damaging the fear you create in your own mind. In Fear I Trust is a game that plants seeds in your mind, makes you question what you’ve seen and are seeing, it manages to make you create the fear just by using some distorted industrial noises and a haunting choral backing. The game is in the first person perspective, and being an iOS game this almost scared me the most, thankfully I can honestly say In Fear I Trust contains the best FPS controls on a touchscreen game I have ever played. The movement is smooth and if you’re not a fan you can just double tap and part of the room and quick step it over.
I played the game on an iPad 3 and despite the fact that according to Apple my tablet of choice is soon to be obsolete it ran the game perfectly. The models in the cut-scenes are just as good as anything in Bioshock and despite my usual opinions on the Unreal engine it’s actually used to produce some quite wonderful locales.
As well as finding haunting interview tapes you are also treated to many a discarded piece of paper, be it an official document, scrap of note paper, or even the random scrawlings of a mad man. Each of these adds depth to a world you can’t begin to comprehend and that’s probably In Fear I Trust’s greatest move, the player is kept away from so much, I finished the two chapters that came with the initial bundle and even though I knew hardly anything about the plot or reasons, I was given just enough for me to guess and wonder. In episodic games like In Fear I Trust the trick is to give enough to entertain but keep enough to intrigue into buying following episodes. I can safely say I enjoyed the opening episodes to purchase the next, providing the don’t mess up the pricing plan.
As it stands my description of the game sounds like an interactive story, and to a degree it is. If you’re willing to pick up and read every item then you will get a little bit of the plot fleshed out and you’ll also be treated to some great writing. However, this is where I come to my first issue with the game; the playtesters or translators did a bit of a sloppy job in places, a handful of times in the first two chapters I was taken out of the wonderfully immersive world by some shoddy spelling or grammar. When you pick up a piece of paper you are given the option to read it in a 3d model of the sheet or you can click an icon to have it presented in Arial font, that’s where you will often find for example “nevery” instead of “every”. Admittedly this is a small issue, and if you read this site often you know spelling mistakes happen, however with something so neat it’s a shame to see.
The game breaks up the story with puzzle sequences, the reason I mention them so late in the review is because I actually didn’t enjoy some of them. The game features a detective vision from Batman style camera, a swipe with two fingers produces this ethereal view that un-earths icons indicating where items and puzzles are but also gives chilling messages or potential clues to puzzles. The main problem with the puzzles is that on numerous occasions I just didn’t understand what the intended outcome was, I would often understand the principle of what was being asked but couldn’t decipher the ‘clue’ to see the objective. The second chapter suffers a lot less with this issue, but a particular electronic block puzzle and a fuse block early on had me truly stumped.
If you’re willing to give in to the world and are willing to read some text then In Fear I Trust is a haunting and joyous experience. A true FPS horror for the iPad at last, and namely one that doesn’t feature The Slender Man or something that looks like a rip off of a rip off Steam game. It would seem that development took quite a while for this game, but with rumours of PC and Android releases I highly recommend picking this up now whilst it’s still hipster cool and before it appears on every Let’s Play or Twitch channel in the world. Give In Fear I Trust an hour and it will give you back that sense of unease and fear from when you were a child and still creeped out by being in your house alone and hearing a creak or clunk from another room, just me then?