A Game Highly Influenced by Real Life Events
The church in the Darkness is an indie game with a top-down perspective. Developed by Paranoid Productions this title Boasts a combination of shooting and stealth and an intriguing story in the midst of it. Set in the tropical setting of South America join our main character as he traverses a deadly cult to find his nephew. The Collective Justice Mission was first established in America but it soon became clear that they were leading their congregation with indoctrination techniques. Join us here at VIBE as we review this dark hidden indie gem.
We Got A Mission
Nestled in the tropical jungles of South America, this isolated cult coined The Collective Justice Mission is where the player begins in The Church In the Darkness. It’s clear the events of this game are reminiscent of the Jonestown massacre from the 1970s. As a result of this, the story takes a very realistic and terrifying approach at times. The story is different for every player due to the game being of a procedurally generated nature.
However, the main story is you are setting off to find your nephew Alex. Therefore, you infiltrate the camp and set off to look for him. It is entirely random how Alex will react. Alex may leap for joy or be so indoctrinated he reveals your whereabouts. Thus, resulting in quite a clever and unsuspecting game. During the game, the player can pick up several letters, notes, and items that reveal the story of the game. It’s entirely focused on the player exploring the environment.
Stealth, Guns, and Looting
The Church In The Darkness starts off by offering players several items to choose from to start their play through. A gun, medkit and shards to mess with alarm boxes. Players will not wait long until they first come in contact with an enemy. They will then be faced with a choice to kill or subdue if they successfully manage to sneak up behind them. On the other hand, it is also an option for players to go in guns blazing and shoot to kill with their pistol. Personally, I found the stealth approach much more manageable as it helped me traverse the cult.
Additionally, it helped me uncover parts of the story. There isn’t much variety in the gameplay and it really is more of a tedious sneak, hide and kill when caught. However, the allure of the world and the mysteries of the cult keep the player intrigued. The vision cones are a great addition to the combat and the player must approach the game with a puzzle-solving mindset. As a result of this, it adds a layer of tension onto an already evolving tension as the player knows they can’t be caught by the cult fanatics.
However, being caught is not the end for the player. Each time the player is caught they end up imprisoned in a cell and one of the leaders of the cult comes and speaks with them. The cell is easy to escape from and by this point, the AI enemies will have learned that there is an intruder in their camp. Thus, lifting the game’s difficulty up.
Rogue-Like Elements/ Difficulty
As mentioned before the game changes each time the player plays. The story is shaped differently. At the start of each play, you can choose the skin tone and gender of the character. The main characters the leaders of the cult Rebecca and Isaac have different personalities each play through, the world changes and the outlook of the nephew changes. This gives The Church In The Darkness an element of difficulty and of replayability. Difficulty due to never knowing what to expect and replayability due to wishing to experience different elements.
Art & Sound!
The art and soundtrack of The Church In The Darkness hit it out of the park. It really does contribute to the overall allure and enjoyability of this game. The Art has a unique style to it and due to it being from a top-down perspective is not overly flashy. However, the character portraits an example, pictured above give a more in-depth look at characters, places, and events. The color palette is actually very vibrant for the nature of the game. For example, In scenes where blood was featured, it was realistic and hard to miss. Even the water pictured above seemed the right shade and the art style gelled perfectly with the game and the story.
A major downside to the sound element of this game was the voice acting. Playing in full blast over the speakers in the camp is a ramble. The rambles are related to quips on socialism, a song played about working, and other humorous clips. However, after several hours of hearing this it becomes exhaustive.
A Respectful Word
VIBE wants to take the time to pay respects to the 909 lives lost at the Jones Town Massacre in 1978. Although this game isn’t directly related to this it is important that we remember such tragic events and the victims behind them. Cults are an incredibly dangerous mindset and indoctrination is never fair to individuals and is a deplorable act. We can only hope that the world learns from mistakes like this.
Thank you again for sticking with us to check out another indie title. Summer is fast approaching and we are hoping here at VIBE for more fun and exciting content. If there is something you want me to cover specifically reach out! If you’re still on the fence about The Church In The Darkness check out the trailer below. Overall, The Church In The Darkness is nitty, gritty, realistic, and fun but it lacks in some areas. However, players should still check this title out! If you’re looking to check out some other indie titles with a cult focus check out another article: https://vibethenook.com/the-chant-meditation-murder-and-mystery/
26, Indie Game connoisseur. Also a hamster mum, fiancée & working in the addiction field. Gaming and writing are my escape and comfort for when the world gets too much!