The most frightening things are often the ones you can't see. It stands to reason, then, that in a world where nothing is visible, just about everything is frightening. The Nightjar is an audio adventure from Papa Sangre that uses a rudimentary visual interface to allow you to explore a sci-fi horror adventure world. Every sound has a meaning, and every step moves you through a dark labyrinth of mental images. Now let's see if you can escape this ship you've been stranded on without getting eaten by one of those "complex, non-human" lifeforms!
Navigating The Nightjar requires you to listen and locate sounds then use a few simple visual controls to move through the world. Alternate tapping the left and right "tracks" on the screen to walk, your feet making appropriate noises on every surface they strike. To turn left or right, simply swipe the top of the screen. Sounds appear to come from different locations as you move and pivot. The game often requires you to seek out a particular sound (a door lock release, for example), then find the exit to continue. That isn't to say there aren't some twists in the gameplay, however...
As the story progresses, The Nightjar becomes more of a frightening place. It's a strong story-driven game and puzzles are presented at their absolute minimum. There are 14 chapters in all, each lasting just a few minutes for around an hour of gameplay in all. It's a bit on the short side, but the experience is absolutely worth it. And yes, that's the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch you hear!
Get ready for one of the most frighteningly lifelike games on any mobile device. When a world exists only as words and sounds in your ears, you'll be surprised at the horrifying images your brain conjures up.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 3. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.