Indigo Lake Review
Indigo Lake, a first-person horror adventure from 3 Cubes Research, is now available from the app store. Featuring super-creepy visuals, spine-tingling audio, and several genuinely startling moments, Indigo Lake makes for a fantastic spooky experi
ce at just the right time of year.
Indigo Lake Pros:
- Fantastic visuals and audio that genuinely freaked us out
- Open-world allows for plenty of exploration and piecing the story together
- Intuitive controls and ability to navigate a jeep across the island, too
- Interesting puzzles to solve
Indigo Lake Cons:
- Easy to misfire your weapon when attempting to interact with objects
You take on the role of a paranormal investigator, checking out the reported odd happenings around the Indigo Lake resort. Much of the game plays out in near-darkness, forcing you to rely on your flashlight for illumination and your pistol for protection. You are additionally equipped with a state-of-the-art headset (Google Glass, anyone?) to provide additional information when encountering signposts and to indicate how much ammo remains in your gun, as well as your current heartrate. While most adventure games tend toward on-rails or very linear pathways for the protagonist to follow, Indigo Lake is pretty wide open, allowing you to explore and wander all over the place. I even unknowingly fell into a ravine and drowned, mostly because I didn’t expect that it would let me do that. Early on, you’ll find a jeep to jump into and drive around, giving the game a slight GTA vibe. Plenty of freaky happenings will keep you on edge, from floating furniture to weird apparitions and more. You are tasked with completing a bunch of objectives, such as seeking out missing people or collecting suicide notes strewn about the island. The notes serve to offer exposition that unravels that game’s story in a unique and interesting way. There are several puzzle elements to solve while you delve deeper into your investigation, though none left us scratching our head for too long. It’s not that they are too easy, but we weren’t nearly as challenged as we were with a couple of the challenges from DEVICE 6. Still, we found them clever and enjoyed the experience.
Graphically, Indigo Lake has a very dark and gritty aesthetic that is meant to obscure your view and increase your tension level as you trek around the island. We found ourselves squinting to see, as our headlights or flashlight would make getting a clear look at dangers in the dark a bit difficult. Playing in a darkened room also significantly ratchets up the fear factor, if you dare. The first time a box levitated and flung itself into me, I instinctively jerked my head backwards. Spotting ghostly images in room corners or through windows sent chills throughout my body. A few minutes later, I literally tossed my iPod away from myself and yanked my earbuds out without a conscious thought to what I was doing. This game legitimately weirded me out. I really enjoyed the visuals and the devs have indicated that a ton of attention has gone into how each of the pixels is lit, etc. to create the intended effects. Amazingly, the installed file size is ridiculously small for an open-world game with these types of graphics.
The audio is equally impressive, sending chills up my spine on more than one occasion and meshing with the visuals to create a freaky atmosphere. We haven’t felt this uneasy about a horror gaming experience since Dead Space (also a good late night affair). Controls follow the tried-and-true method of using a joypad on the left for movements and dragging the right side of the screen to aim. Discharging your weapon is not handled with a dedicated button, however. You’ll instead need to tap the screen’s edge to fire, which worked fine in our experience. However, given that you also tap items to collect or interact, the game did get confused on occasion and fire a bullet or two instead of opening a laptop or snagging a piece of paper, which only served to startle us more. When in the jeep, you have a slider on the left to control your direction and brake/accelerate buttons on the right. These were serviceable, especially since you’ll need to keep things pretty slow when driving in the dark. To access the screens for saving progress, checking on objectives, recording your gaming experience, adjusting sensitivities, and the like, you’ll need to rotate your device to the left or right to bring up the proper menu, similar to accessing the inventory in Warhammer Quest. This worked nicely and kept the UI clear for a more immersive experience.
Replay value is pretty good, as the presentation values are terrific and people love to creep themselves out. We were pleasantly surprised at how much of a visceral reaction the game was able to create. A universal app for $1.99, Indigo Lake is a 4.5-Dimple scream.