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Dark Meadow: The Pact
A giant abandoned hospital. Monsters trying to kill you. A possibly crazy “friend” that offers you advice over the intercom system. All these are familiar concepts that Dark Meadow puts to good use. Your character wakes up in a creepy hospital. Since this game is for mobile devices (I played on an Ipad) the interface is touch-based. You can examine the objects around you by touching them, but if they’re not interactive a beep will sound or nothing will happen. Gold abounds in plenty in the hospital, strangely enough. Checking each drawer and cabinet will enable your character to buy bigger and better weapons to defend yourself from the denizens of Montclair Hospital. Being able to upgrade weapons and buy new equipment in a “Store” breaks the feel of isolation. Finding weapons as drops from killing monsters or having the weapons upgrade as your character climbs in levels would’ve been a better solution; indeed, your character can upgrade their abilities with each weapon, so it might have been better to include that in there. Either way, it ends up being a minor issue at best.
Combat is handled by shooting the monsters with your crossbow as they close in on you and then dodging or blocking the monsters attacks when they are in melee range. You get your chance to slice at them when they get tired. It’s important not to try and be too Rambo, if you attack while the monster’s attacking, then you get hit and it hurts you more than them. You have first aid packs and can use them to patch up wounds, but if the monster kills you, then back to the start room you go. Overkill damage is what happens when you keep hitting a monster even though it’s already dead. Each slash of overkill gives a small amount of experience. I’ve gotten up to 66 (an appropriate number) extra experience with Overkill. I’m not sure there’s a top number. The best monster for this is the golden one. You’ll know it when you see it.
This leads me to another small flaw in the game: a lack of incremental healing. The monsters would be a lot easier to handle if you didn’t have to spend a precious first aid kit after almost every encounter. Of course, since you can use a real money transaction to buy coins which buy items, then maybe we see why there’s no healing in the game. Dying seems to sometimes help as well. It resets areas and you can find more treasure as all the cabinets are closed again. You also sometimes find new clues, so maybe the healing thing is more of a hassle for players who don’t like dying just to gain more information, like me.
Each monster type, and they are varied and incredibly creepy, has a certain style of attack. Some of them also have a projectile attack, which can be a real pain, because you have to choose between nailing them with a crossbow bolt or dodging the spittle as it flies at you. The witch by the staircase is the boss monster for the first level. She’s creepy and yet kind of sad at the same time, and also pretty damn tough to defeat.
The graphics and sound make feeling immersed in the game very easy. Curtains blow through half broken windows, the sun shines in through boards nailed over doors to the outside, and the whole place just makes you cringe as you creep down the corridors looking for clues to why you’re here and what the hell happened in this place. The sound of the cicadas constantly buzzing and old man talking to you by intercom add to the atmosphere. The old man has some killer lines too. I won’t spoil them here though. Dark meadows is a game that sucks you in and keeps you guessing until the end.
Watch out for the witch!