Experiencing Papa Sangre II.

When games take something as simple as audio output and use it to build their worlds, it can be tricky. Somethin’ Else are back with their latest offering in Papa Sangre II (iTunes link). It is no secret I’m a fan of their previous titles. How will this one do compared to the others? My review is after the jump but first, watch this making of video to get a taste of what’s to come.

The set up: If you are reading this review, you are dead. The coffee or tea you had earlier, a fading memory. The assignment due, the deadline to meet, the game to win are all unimportant because you are dead. There is hope. Just do what Sean Bean tells you and you may make it back to the land of the living.

Sounds familiar? If you played the original Papa Sangre, you’d nod your head in agreement. Wear the original game and its stellar cousin The Nightjar made you locate a sound and follow it while trying to stay ahead of what was after you, Papa Sangre II adds some new wrinkles to the twisted tapestry. You have three different modes to help you change direction; gyroscope, swiping, or tilting. Pick a mode and stick with it unless you want to switch things up. You can’t do this while in a level. Why would you? There are things in the dark. Remember?

The standard bottom corners return to help you move your feet. Left, right, left, right; always forward. But with the ability to change direction, obstacles can be dealt with, you hope. What’s new is now the top corners allow you to use your hands to interact with your environment. Clap to make noise, break glass, use a weapon to defend yourself. This is a welcome addition that was absent in the earlier releases. You aren’t just a somewhat passive observer going through the motions to see how the story ends. You are able to engage in the scenarios presented.

The lead performance by Sean Bean is a driving force in this game. His vocal presence works well in the setting. Follow his instructions and you may get through this.

the sound design in Papa Sangre II is top notch and is expertly used to paint every scene in your mind. A burning house, a train ride, and even the act of drowning all seem real. The audio engine used in the making of this game showcases how every bit of noise is important in telling the story. When you turn, the world moves around you; not just switching sides but making use of what is in front or behind you as well. Danger lurks around every corner. Even the creative ways you can die are given attention.

The game manages to keep you on your toes as you progress through each level. It won’t hold your hand or make things easy. Tension slowly builds as you try to make it back to life. At points, the environment is just as much your enemy as what is hunting you; you are being threatened from multiple angles. This is how a horror themed game should be. The designs are straight forward but filled with layers to discover. One level even pokes fun at this and it had me smiling ear to ear when playing through it.

The time to complete Papa Sangre II will depend on the person. If a level is too difficult, you can skip it but it comes at a proverbial price. The game also keeps track of certain tasks performed in each level. Achievements can be unlocked which also means there is replay value to be had; this is another welcome addition that addresses criticisms from the earlier titles.

Sale’s pitch: Papa Sangre II is a worthy successor to the original game released in 2010. It takes the best parts of Papa Sangre, marries them with the Nightjar, and adds new elements that turn this from a mere clone to something much better. Steps are taken to show what can be done in the audio only space and then the bar is raised. It plays off your fears and throws you into a world made of your imagination. All you have to do is put on your headphones, hold your device, and remember that you are dead. Papa Sangre II gets five out of five stolen memories.

If you’ve taken the time to give this game a go, what are your thoughts? Even if you haven’t, is this one you would be interested in playing?