Papa Sangre II Review
Papa Sangre II is an experience like no other on the iOS platform. This new title from Playground Publishing B.V. features gameplay that takes advantage of the gyroscopic abilities of the iPad and the iPhone to deliver an adventure through sound, effectively creating a theater of the mind. Oh, and your adventure is guided by Sean Bean. If that isn’t nifty, we don’t know what is.
You are dead. This is very important to note, because much of the game works off the fact that you are no longer in the land of the living. You’re gone from the real world and are stuck in a world of death, memories, museum exhibits and all manner of creatures that made you wish you could cleanse the memory of their sounds after you hear them. Luckily, you are able to get back to the real world, or so says your guide, voiced by Sean Bean, from Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings fame. In order to return, you’ll need to collect all of your memories. The thing is, they’ve been locked away in Papa Sangre’s museum. It seems like an easy enough task to retrieve them, but here’s the rub: you can’t see.
Papa Sangre II is an auditory experience that takes advantage of the most powerful graphics engine at your disposal: your imagination. Papa Sangre II won’t win any awards for graphics (mainly because there aren’t really any to speak of), but its sound design is to die for; pun “intendead.” As soon as you wake up in the strange world, you’re greeted by your mysterious guide, Sean Bean. He gives you a tutorial of sorts and lets you get your bearings, teaching you how to navigate the world of Papa Sangre II.
The controls are fairly simple and only ask you to move your feet to walk and use your hands to clap. Four big virtual face buttons are located on the corners of the screen, positioned to correlate with your own hands and feet. You’ll alternate left and right on the feet buttons in order to move forward and then press both hand buttons at the same time to clap. Pretty simple. You’ll notice that there is a large, compass-like object in the middle of the screen that keeps track of your position and changes as you turn around.
Now, because Papa Sangre II uses 3D sound to create the world in which you play, you’ll need to wear headphones in order to get the full, immersive experience. Once they’re on, you can turn around and hear where certain objects are located. Keep in mind that you’ll have to be standing (or at least seated in a swivel chair), so you might want to play Papa Sangre II in private, unless you don’t care about spinning about in place with your eyes closed in public.
Once you’ve mastered getting around the world, your guide will lead you to the Museum of Memories. Here, you’ll be able to sneak around and gather your old memories in order to get back your life. Though you can’t see, your memories give off a faint ringing sound that gets louder as you get closer. You need only using your hearing to locate them and then grab them. Sounds easy, right? Well, the thing is… there are mind lice everywhere. These vicious creatures act as Papa Sangre’s security force and they crawl around, waiting to devour the memories of any intruders, thereby unmaking them. Should they hear you fall, trip over yourself or make any noise whatsoever, they’ll be on you.
There are complications in each level, giving you obstacles like mind sparks that get set off like mines, objects on the floor, creaky boards and many other annoyances in the environment. There are also different kinds of mind lice, so you must take care not to rouse the truly dangerous ones. Thanks to the fantastic 3D sound design of Papa Sangre, you’ll feel like these monsters are crawling behind you and even in your ears. It’s a most unsettling feeling that helps elevate the survival horror aspect of the game.
Papa Sangre II has 18 levels for you to tackle, giving you a relatively lengthy and immersive experience unlike anything you might have come across before. It’s a wonderful feeling, stepping into this world devoid of sight and using only your hearing to navigate the many dangers and obstacles. Like I said, you probably don’t want to play this in public, but it’s definitely worth the $3.99 price of admission into the Museum of Memories.