You are lost, deep in the darkness of the land of the dead. Your eyes are useless to you here — but your ears are filled with sound. Thus the scene is set for Papa Sangre, one of the most stylish (and screen reader friendly) games on the iOS platform.
Papa Sangre is a video game with no video. It’s a first-person thriller, done entirely in audio by an award-winning team of game designers, musicians, sound designers and developers.
Created by Somethin’ Else with support from 4IP, Papa Sangre uses the first real time 3D audio engine on a hand held device. It’s a remarkably slick app, with added kudos for being perfectly accessible to blind/partially sighted gamers.
You’re in Papa Sangre’s palace. His palace is in an afterlife that takes the form of a malevolent, unpredictable carnival: imagine a Mexican graveyard on
the Day of the Dead — with the lights off.
The gameplay is extremely simple. You hold your iOS device in landscape orientation and tap the bottom left/right corners to walk forward. The faster you tap, the more quickly you move forward. Don’t tap too fast though or you’ll fall flat on your face in the dark!
You change direction by swiping left/right across the top of the screen. As you move through the game world the 3D audio engine creates a vivid landscape around you. You’ll need a set of earphones though. Without them it’s impossible to react to the 3D soundscape and play the game successfully.
Papa Sangre works seamlessly with VoiceOver. You don’t need the screen reader to play the game itself, only to start the game and move between levels. Useful cues are given to let you know when to turn VoiceOver on/off, so it couldn’t be easier.
All you know is someone is in grave danger and desperately needs your help. Can you save them and make your escape or will you be trapped in the blackness
Papa Sangre’s palace consists of a series of levels. Throughout the game your companion is a “fluttery watery thing” who provides help and guidance at each level, but can you really trust her?
You must collect the musical notes, and decide whether to rescue the lost souls you find along the way. Danger lurks around every corner though!
You must sneak past the many delightfully dreadful creatures that inhabit Papa Sangre’s palace. Snuffle hounds, vicious hogs, giggling grim reapers and other demented creatures will attack if they’re alerted to your presence. One wrong step and you could stray off the path of safety, crunch the bones of other victims, or start cymbals crashing loud enough to wake the dead!
Get out. Save the one you love. Do the right thing.
The production quality of Papa Sangre is brilliant. The characters are elegantly simple, and the dialogue far better than you’ll find in many (revenue churning) online game worlds.
At £3.99 from the iTunes app store it’s worth absolutely every single penny. Papa Sangre is a captivating adventure in a child like world of macabre fantasy!