Three and a half years ago, I chucked $5 at an interesting little project on Indiegogo. It was an augmented reality game for mobile called Night Terrors and claimed to be “an ultra immersive gaming experience that transforms your environment into a terrifying hellscape”. Fucking. Sold.

There were updates as the campaign went on, but it came to an end, having made only about ¾ of it’s target. A a couple more email updates came thereafter, but then things really slowed down. I heard rumours that the game had come out, in some manner for iOS, but the promised Android version was still nowhere to be seen. Backers were told to wait, and as soon as the Android version happened, we’d get our copies. However, on Monday night I got an email telling me that Night Terrors: Bloody Mary was being released (woo?). This was followed a day later by a request for information. Telling me that if I still had that email address, I should should them a message and get a code for NT:BM. This I duly did and tonight my code arrived.

The first thing that struck me was that the game’s icon is a default Unity icon with the text “BMH-test”. I was now preparing to be more disappointed that if the game hadn’t even shown up, if they’d just taken the money and run. It wouldn’t be the first thing I’ve crowd funded and lost out on.

I remained unsurprised as the usual array of checkboxes for permissions that games are want to have, popped up on screen, before the game presented me with instructions to turn off my lights – check, put in my earbuds – check, and click to sign a long ass waiver to say that the dev isn’t responsible if I fall over my headphone lead while wandering around my house in the dark – check, I guess.

The camera light flicked on and the screen showed my living room with some video flicker effects over the top and a timer in one corner. Oh the horror. Be still my racing heart. As I wandered around, the light periodically flickered off, odd noises came out of the speaker, and occasionally, the screen would just go black and some video would play. The first sighting was someone cutting up a body on a table and eating bits of it. I wouldn’t call this AR though, despite the fact that angling my phone around could show it mostly hanging in one area. The room wasn’t showing as a background, just this cheesy video.

Once that faded I wandered to the hall and lost light again, lots of weird sound and then a phone ringing sound and a screen showing an incoming call. Pushing answer on screen did nothing, as far as I could tell so the whole point of putting this on a phone and in my hand felt pointless and gimmicky.

The whole dreary experience took about 15 minutes, and by the end I was just walking up and down the hall waiting for whatever happened next. At one point I was told to look on the floor for something, which wasn’t there, but did eventually show up. At which point it just followed me around the house, until that scene had played out.

I wouldn’t call this augmented reality. Just a badly implemented gimmick. Considering that the project I helped crowdfund had promised environment mapping, meaning that the scares would be appearing in your play area. Ghostly figures appearing in doorways, etc. All in the hopes of creating a “breathtakingly scary experience”. Sadly, that’s not what I got when I walked into my bathroom, the light went out and I watched a video of a person in period costume and a mask sitting in a puddle (of blood?) on the floor, while someone else scurried past in a totally black space. At least in Pokémon Go makes Pikachu stand on my couch sometimes.

The acting is cheesy, the graphics are ok at best, the sound design is fair. Nothing about this game should make you want to spend just under £3 for this on Google Play

Pros:

  • Short
  • Over Quickly
  • Good costumes

Cons:

  • Not worth the money
  • Cheesy acting
  • Not nearly as AR as it claims to be.

Overall: 2/10

Night Terrors: Bloody Mary is out now on Android & iOS.

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