iOS games tend to have a difficult time catching my attention. Angry Birds? It’s been done and exhausted. Words with Friends? It’s friggin’ Scrabble. Dark Meadow: The Pact? It’s Infinity Blade meets Silent Hill – wait, I think we’re onto something here!
Dark Meadow is a “Punchout” style game that’s caught between being story-driven and RPG advancement loot-n-boot. You wake up in an old, decaying hospital with a crossbow and a sword. Some bald guy in a wheelchair is constantly ranting to you over the PA system as long as you’re not wandering the hallways – which, by the way, are filled with monsters that will make the most devoted Silent Hill fan squeal with glee. Oh, and you have to occasionally fight a super-tough, super out-of-place naked ghost girl that slaps you for half your health. Did I forget to mention the twisted, throbbing, living tentacles that stretch through the hallways? Yes?
Heaven knows what’s going on. I certainly don’t… but I love it.
If you ever watched at least a little of LOST, the TV show, you know what I’m talking about. Polar bears in the forest? “The Others”? A mysterious hatch bearing a familiar sequence of numbers? You’re so blind, and yet, so intrigued. Dark Meadow does that to you. It pulls you in. It tells you so little, and the lack of knowledge is a drug. The game itself has the major flaw of losing itself in huge portions of grinding, as you’re just not powerful enough to advance quickly… or moderately, for that matter, but the way the story and environment unfolds only makes things more interesting.
I’m just going to let the question of, “why don’t more developers do this?” sink in. It may be that they attempt to, but aren’t sure how. The writing in Dark Meadow certainly is good enough that I’m positive the writers have some measure of experience with drama and suspense. Have you played a game that’s done the same thing? Let me know, please. I want to play it!