Halloween is fast approaching, which means it’s that time of the year for plenty of scares and chills. Those are some things that are in abundance with Indigo Lake, the spine chilling new survival horror game for the iOS. The game is set in the typical horror movie scenario, with an abandoned woodland area for players to explore so that they may be able to solve the mystery behind the sudden suicides of the inhabitants.
Fans of the horror genre might find themselves at opposite spectrums when it comes to judging the game, simply because this title aims to bring players to the roots of what old school players think of whenever they hear the term “survival horror”. Indigo Lake is no Dino Crisis or Left for Dead where swarms of enemies can be seen and players are given a world war’s worth of weapons and ammo. Rather, Indigo Lake is more reminiscent of the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games where you are armed with minimal gear and you are more absorbed with exploration and letting the environment scare you than the actual ghoulies present.
With that, the environment that you will be exploring within the confines of Indigo Lake is truly macabre. Players will be exposed to spine chilling sights and sounds such as crying babies, piercing screams, floating boxes, and a ghost of a girl that will appear out of nowhere. In addition to the stunning visuals, the game will truly give players a feeling of dread each time they load up the game, something that has been absent in most horror games where action more often than not replaces the element of fear.
Indigo Lake also employs a very immersive way to keep players at the edge of their seats. This is done by minimizing the appearance of the usual HUD elements from the screen. Things like objectives will appear if the device is tilted to the left or the right, reserving most of the display for the things that matter the most. There’s also a lot of realism in the game, especially since the game little to no guidance for the players to move the story forward, leaving players the responsibility to explore and find notes that will slowly reveal the mystery within the game.
This latter part, however, can lead to some frustrations, especially for those who are used to getting led by the hand. Like older horror games, Indigo Lake focuses more on exploration and puzzle solving, the latter of which would often require a lot of backtracking as well as trial and error. Most of the playing time will be spent on going any which way in the hopes to stumble upon that one item that will allow you to move forward, all the while getting spooked by everything that you will see and hear.
The game also suffers from some lagging of animation frames that, although relatively minor, can really ruin the mood. Some technical issues also include the loss of sound in some instances, and the lack of an autosave function will have players constantly reminding themselves that they are no checkpoints to be found within this title, something that is a mystery in and of itself, especially in this modern day and age of generous saving functionalities. Saving graces for Indigo Lake, however, include the record function where players can save they playtimes, as well as a picture in picture feature where, using the front camera, players would be able to see their reactions as they play.
Indigo Lake is a game that can be finished from anywhere between five to ten hours, and the world is pretty expansive and is pretty much like an open world. There’s also a jeep that players can take to drive around, allowing you to better explore the entire area and the secrets within the creepy and sleepy town. Don’t think that a vehicle and the gun that you’re armed with will save you, though, as there’s really no escape from Indigo Lake until either the mystery is solved or you fall to your doom.
As mentioned earlier, the game is not for everyone as it caters to a very specific niche. Indigo Lake is geared more towards gamers who enjoy games like The Room or other games that are both spooky but requires players to think more often up to the point of frustration. Throw in some Slender elements out there and you’ve got a game that will be the equivalent of A Christmas Carol during December – something that you’ll be playing each time you want to get spooked yet entertained.
Despite some flaws, Indigo Lake is certainly a solid game, and it is definitely one of the most genuinely scary games available as of late. Also, it is available for a very affordable price and does not offer any in-app purchases, which means that you are getting a whole package once you’ve bought the game. It’s not a game for everyone, but those who get a kick out of these types of games will love fall in love with the title and crave for more. Indigo Lake is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s surely a game that is best played in the dark to fully appreciate the spooky experience.
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 7/10
Indigo Lake was developed and published by 3 Cubes Research LTD. It is currently available for the iOS via the iTunes Store and was released on October 17, 2013.