26
Apr
DarkMeadow-550x550
Last Updated: April 29th, 2012

I want to put one thing on the table right away: I'm a huge fan of horror-actions games, so I have been insanely excited for the release of The Dark Meadow: The Pact for at least three months now. I've watched the trailer at least a few dozen times, read about the game for iOS (yes, this is a port), and done checked out any info I could find that wouldn't give away all the secrets of the game.

But, the more anticipation involved, the greater the chance for letdown, no? Fortunately, that's not the case with The Dark Meadow - this game is awesome.

2012-04-25 13.35.06_banner

Gameplay and Storyline

The game starts off in full-on creepy mode: you wake up in an abandoned, dilapidated hospital with no idea who you are or how you got there; no backstory, nothing. You just find yourself in a nursery (which makes it even more creepy, in my opinion), with a strange man in a wheelchair talking to you. His voice is both psychotic and oddly calming at the same time, which sets the mood perfectly. The man warns you of the creatures dwelling within the halls and makes mention of a "witch" before quickly rolling away never to be seen again (well, I haven't seen him since, anyway). From this point forward, this man plays as a narrator of sorts, using the hospital's intercom system to speak to you.

2012-04-25 13.32.52

I would freak out and explode if I woke up here.

Since the game is set entirely in first person view, you can immediately begin exploring your strange new world, and it makes it all that much easier to really get sucked in. Touching certain items, like bookcases, drawers, cabinets, etc. will open them and give you items from within (usually gold, which can be used to buy upgrades - more on that later).

Once you've meandered around your room, exploring the mechanics and controls, you can then exit into the hall. This is where the fun begins. You immediately catch a glimpse of a strange white figure floating away (which can only be assumed is the aforementioned "witch"). Small green nodes on the ground show you where you can go, which leads me into the next section...

Controls

2012-04-25 13.28.00

I killed him (her?) until ten past dead.

Let it be known that I hate touch controls. One of my first questions about this game was "will it have controller support?" Unfortunately, the answer to that is no. In this case, that's not necessarily a bad thing, though, because this game has the best touch controls that I've ever used. The controls are laid out in an extremely intuitive manner: you simply tap where you want to go. No on-screen D-Pad or any crap like that. Just tap, and you'll go that direction. #winning

To look around, just drag your finger around the screen. The default controls didn't feel all that natural to me here, so I inverted the both the vertical and horizontal axis, which makes them more in line with the way things normally work on a tablet (swiping, etc.).

When it comes to battle, the controls are equally as intuitive. You have two different weapons: a crossbow for ranged attacks, and a shiv/sword/sharp thingy for melee attacks. When a creature spawns in front of you, the crossbow automatically comes out and you tap the spiral icon to aim and release to fire. The mechanics here could be very frustrating (as with many other games), but they're not, at all. Aiming with the crossbow works exactly as it should.

2012-04-25 13.24.48 2012-04-25 13.25.00

Have you played Fruit Ninja? If so, you're already ready to handle melee attacks. Well, basically, anyway. There are arrows on either side of the screen that let you dodge the creatures' attacks, and you swipe to attack (which is where the Fruit Ninja expertise comes into play). It works quite well - just make sure to dodge in the appropriate direction.

Graphics

DarkMeadowSXS3

The power of the Tegra 3 is prominently displayed here - just look at the difference in the screenshots above. The textures are much more rich and vibrant on T3 devices; the environment really comes to life thanks to the NVIDIA's 4-plus-1 architecture (four regular cores, one battery-saving efficiency core).  These added elements make the game that much more realistic feeling and really shows the age and abandonment of the hospital.

Upgrades

Since this is an action-style game and you have weapons, there has to be a way to increase the power of your weapon, right? This is where the gold that I mentioned earlier comes into play. You can enter the 'store' from the menu, where you'll be able to purchase new weapons (crossbows and swords), as well as amulets that can increase your health, defense, etc.

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As you level up (killing creatures gives experience) you also get "skill points" that can be used to increase your vitals: health, defense, block, melee, ranged, and reload. You'll need to increase these to defeat bosses and access areas of the hospital where stronger creatures live.

2012-04-25 13.49.47 

And then there's the "pay real money for this stuff" stuff. Like most games now, The Dark Meadow has in-app purchases that will let you get through the game a bit easier. This includes things like gold, sun coins, gems, etc. - all of which are used to buff your character as much as possible, as well as buy first aid kits and bombs (which slay enemies much faster).

Fortunately, the game is quite playable without ever having to buy anything.

2012-04-25 13.34.24 2012-04-25 13.55.47

App Store, huh Phospher? I think you need to check your store names again.

Great! So... what's wrong with it?

I think the biggest issue with this game is that it's lacking a clear objective in the beginning. There are no quests, no hints on what you should be doing, nothing of the sort. I figure that you're supposed to walk around exploring rooms and battling creatures until you're strong enough to handle the boss battles (the first of which is the mysterious white witch from the very beginning sequence) and make your way into other areas of the hospital.

I'm not necessarily saying that's a bad thing, per se, just... slightly confusing. I actually enjoy the freedom of walking around and discovering new artifacts in the game, as well as battling the random creepy creatures and listening to the crazy old man's banter.

Conclusion

2012-04-25 21.47.24

Yep, that's my tablet's homescreen. Loving this game.

After spending a couple of days playing The Dark Meadow, I can honestly say that it has lived up to my expectations in many ways, and surpassed them in others. It's creepy, mysterious, and fun to play; the touch controls are outstanding and an absolute pleasure to use, and it is challenging enough to keep me going with enough mystery to keep me hooked.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill that witch so I can see what's happening on the second floor of the hospital.

Wallpapers:

DarkMeadow-1408a DarkMeadow-1408_2

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Himmatsj

    Come on man....just tap where to go...that's very schoolboy-ish. This isn't even on-rails...it's point to click. Anyways, the graphics are good, storyline is nice (narrated by the old man and complemented by n-paper clippings). I don't really know how the game's gonna progress, so will check the FAQ on Phosphor games website later.

    Btw gutted this isn't available for the Tab 10.1....so I installed it on the iPad 2 and been playing for the past hour or so....it just sucked me in! I think it can be played for free w/o upgrades....the key is not to die as you get bonus then.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Unfortunately, this one's for Tegra 3 devices only. There's no word whether or not they'll release a T2 version. :/

      • kruglovus

        Yep, Motorola Xoom is not supported officially. 
        Funny thing is Play Store says it's compatible with HP Touchpad running CM7, i.e. Android 2.3.7. I don't have it with me to test if it launches or crashes.

    • Himmatsj

       Actually, I didn't even know the white witch (is she the wholly white naked looking women at the stairs?) was a boss. I reached her after about 30 mins of play and that was the only one time I died. So I guess I should win her now.

      Anyways agree with you that this game didn't outline the objectives at the start...so I just went wondering around... :)

  • Dd

    Tegra 3 yea rite..  not compatible with one X :'(

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      They supposedly made a fix for the One X, and the game is now compatible as of mid-day yesterday.

  • Lefty2717

    It stinks because I know my e4gt can run this. Oh well it saves me from spending money on in app purchases.

  • Falconator

    If shadowgun is running on smaller devices then this should run fine on t2 devices. My A500 is feeling sad now.

  • http://www.thepixelpuse.com Aj Meadows

    YES! If I had a Tegra 3 device I'd get it in a heartbeat.

  • Buddylocal457

    The thing that I like most about THE DARK MEADOW is that its FPS/horror my absolute favorite type of game.

  • AHrEJl G-test

    Wonderful graphics, atmospheric music, interesting gameplay. I would like to be the owner of such a device, that would be able to test the latest games.

  • Near Edge

    The environments look beautiful! Can't wait to play in this world!

  • John

    The game looks pretty sweet and I'd love to be able to play it.  Good new though is that I emailed the developers and got a reply that they do at least plan on supporting Tegra2 devices, though no release date which is a bit of a pity.

  • http://twitter.com/mexedavian Mexed Avian

    Works fine on my Asus Slider (Tegra 2). Found the apk and sd data and it works without root. Great game!

  • http://Nepallica.com Pretush

    takes really
    long time if you are playing with out in app purchase

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