A brilliant and unnerving THUMP in the night
In the world of Papa Sangre II, there are no such things as video games, or mobile devices, or even games called Papa Sangre, because the sad truth of the matter is that you are dead. Yup, you bit the big one. Everything you're seeing around you right now (including this review) is actually just the last waning memory of your long-lost life that you've still managed to hold onto. The good news is that there's still a way for you to be brought back into existence, and it just so happens to involve playing through one of the most captivating, brilliant, and downright horrifying mobile games ever made by the living world you've left behind. Lucky you.
I'll be talking primarily about sound in this review, because as a completely auditory horror adventure, Papa Sangre II comes devoid of any real visuals. But the biggest highlight of the experience is in listening to the eerie and gravelly narration of Sean Bean, the A-list actor who's appeared in such modern classics as The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Bean serves as the perfect companion for your unsettling adventure, and he provides an immaculate balance between helping you proceed with pertinent instructions and information on how to play, and being just grim and cynical enough to keep you on your toes and never completely trusting of this dark and mysterious voice in your head. I think this probably goes without saying by now, but Bean's vocal performance is simply astounding here.
To play the game is simple, although there are a few minor prerequisites that you'll need to be aware of before entering the haunting Museum of Memories for the first time. For one thing, wearing headphones is an absolute must, as a large part of the gameplay involves determining which direction something is to your relevant location, and how the sounds ultimately travel around you from your left ear to your right. Second, the game is also based around your mobile device's gyroscopic features, so you'll need to be standing the entire time you play in order to give yourself the proper mobility for turning. When you turn around in a complete 360-degree circle, you'll actually be able to hear the many environmental sounds morphing and moving places around you, just as they would in real life. And lastly, as Bean will instruct you early on in the game, you have to keep your eyes closed, and you can't open them for any reason.
Admittedly, I did feel a bit silly at first standing there in the middle of my room with my eyes closed and spinning around like a madman with headphones on, but once I stopped fighting the setup and let the sounds of Papa Sangre II wash over and engulf me, it was like I was transported to a completely different world, and earthly things like iPads or headphones didn't seem to exist to me anymore. Moving around the actual game world is as simple as alternating taps between two foot icons on the bottom of the screen, while two hand icons at the top will let you perform such actions as clapping or striking things in front of you. The basic goal of the game is to listen to gramophone music playing off in the distance, which signifies a dead soul's forgotten memories, and to simply make your way towards it. Of course, coming back from the dead won't nearly be as easy as it seems...
Read the rest of the review at GameZebo.