Dark Meadow ($5.99) by Phosphor Games Studio, LLC is a first person game that will suck you in from beginning to end. It is a fantastic collaboration of RPG meets room escape meets Half Life, Portal, and Infinity Blade — all rolled into one. And it is amazing. I have, admittedly, not been able to put this game down since I've gotten my curious hands on it.
Right away you are met by the visually stunning 3D graphics and cinematics. They will draw you in to the world of Dark Meadow immediately, and the captivating storyline will keep you there — whether you want to stay or not.
You awaken in a room. Alone. Disoriented. You're not sure how you got there, or even where there is. You don't even know who you are; your memories are fuzzy, practically nonexistent. But in time, you will piece it all together.
The room seems to be a baby girl's room. Decorations on the wall make this apparent. While you're looking around, a man rolls up to your door in a wheelchair. He says you're in some sort of hospital. He is a "prisoner" there as well and that you can help each other escape, but before he can say much more he whispers, "She's coming!" and hurriedly takes off down the hall.
So, again you're alone. It's time to investigate your surroundings. Tap around the room to open drawers and touch the green circles on the ground to move your character.
Along the way, you'll want to tap on everything you see as there are many items to collect. Drawers, lockers, fire extinguisher holders, and other compartments will hold currency and once in a while a weapon or amulet. You can also find bags of gold lying around on the floor or up in the rafters. Fortunately, gold is everywhere and you collect it at a fast pace.
There are also health kits and gems for you to pick up along the way. You can only hold five health kits at once, and you must collect 10 gems before reaping the benefits: 10 stat points to distribute to your character as you see fit.
Tap on the doors to find your way around the hospital. Green circles mean you have access to that area, whereas, red diamonds mean the doors are locked and you must wait to obtain a key after another awakening.
You will navigate the hospital and find old journals and scraps of paper — each bringing you one step closer to figuring it all out. The library in your inventory keeps all the things you've read in one place so that you can read them later. They are all very detailed and interesting, each one an intriguing piece to the puzzle. One step closer to escaping.
Oh yeah, did I mention this abandoned hospital is filled with frightening monsters that want to kill you? Luckily, you come equipped with a crossbow and a sword (oh, and an amulet). To use the crossbow, you pull back and shoot. The controls are all gestures and make gameplay engaging and seamless. The melee fighting style is exactly like Infinity Blade. Just swipe across the screen with your finger to attack your target. You can also dodge right or left and block. You gain experience (XP) and gold from killing each monster.
But if they kill you, you die. And you reawaken. And you start this beautiful mess all over again. One thing that did bother me about the game is that, each time you awaken, you have to wait for the 10 second long cinematic before you can head back out into the giant death trap of the hospital.
Each time you level up, you gain stat points to distribute to your character. You can also view your equipment and purchase new weapons and gear with the gold you've acquired. One thing I didn't understand was that, although you can buy items, you can't seem to sell them. Unless I was missing something, there was no way to sell items you no longer use or want.
And what about this witch the old man keeps talking about? Each time you awaken, the old man will be talking to you over the loudspeaker. He says some very entertaining, and some very suspicious, things. I found myself chuckling aloud almost every time he spoke. This definitely keeps it even more interesting (as if the gameplay and storyline alone weren't enough).
The music you hear in some of the rooms is reminiscent of music from Bioshock 2. It's old 30's music being played on a record player. But mostly you'll be hearing an eerie soundtrack that will play even more tricks on your mind as you wait to see what's behind the next door you open.
Dark Meadow is a universal app with Game Center support — and, trust me, there are a lot of awesome achievements to be had. It's available in the App Store for $5.99. I know this is more expensive than most like to spend on iOS games, but this is absolutely worth it!
Be a part of this story as it unfolds and you put the puzzle of your memory back together. Can you find your way out of the Dark Meadow, or will you be stuck reliving this nightmare over and over again?