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Garden of Fear Review

By Dave Flodine, on April 24, 2013

Garden of Fear
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Very atmospheric.
  • Those who enjoy a fright will get a kick out of this.

CONS

  • Framerate issues.
  • Not much to the game.

VERDICT

Garden of Fear is for those who like to be scared, but aside from that aspect, the game itself is rather lacking.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

Garden of Fear has a warning on its iTunes page. It cautions people who are scared easily from playing this game. Full disclosure, Dave cannot handle scary games. He's fine with horror films, but there's something about controlling the character involved in a horror scenario instead of just watching it that makes things all too real. For this reason, he tends to stay away from horror titles, and either as a cruel joke or just by providence, is given this game to review. You wake up in a dark labyrinth. You don't know why you're there, and all you have is a flashlight and some charcoal to make marks on the walls. There is a monster locked in the labyrinth with you. Can you escape before it finds you. This is the eternal question.

The game is in first person. The labyrinth is tight and winding. One analogue stick controls movement, while the other controls your viewpoint. As you have your flashlight on, its battery depletes, but touching the icon in the screen can turn it off and it will recharge. You have twenty uses of charcoal to mark walls or doors, and there's a compass at the top of the screen to show you the direction you're moving in. As you travel, you'll notice alcoves that make for good hiding spots if you happen to be chased by a horrible monstrosity, and webs and chains, that along with doors emit sound that might just hone the creature in on your presence.

The whole experience, simple as it may be is very effective at maintaining a mood of tension and terror. Everytime you turn your flashlight off, you fear that the game is going to provide a jump scare by having the monster in your sights when you turn it back on. When you finally do see the monster, it is quite frightening (in the terms of you will most likely be dead a moment after setting your sights on it), but it's more the not knowing where it is that keeps the player in a state of dread, and the ambient noises to little to help relieve this fear.

Sadly the game has performance issues, at least on older phones. What could be passed off as sluggish movement for the basis of creating dis-empowerment is actually just a sluggish framerate as you look and move around. That said, if you love being scared, you'll find this game to your liking. If not, then perhaps it's best to avoid Garden of Fear. It's more Children of the Corn than a pleasant movie or book featuring gardens that I can't think of at the moment, thus ruining the metaphor.

Screenshots

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