Despite sounding more like a horror game, The Church in the Darkness is an interesting stealth-based title set in a cult that has shut itself away from the rest of America.
Sneaking in to the cult, your character is trying to find their nephew, who has joined the group, now hiding out somewhere in South America. Placed on the edge of this ‘Freedom Town’, you’re tasked with finding clues to the leaders motives and possibly helping free your nephew.
Interestingly, the game mixes things up with each playthrough, giving the cult leaders different motives and personalities each time and this provides for different endings. If your character is killed then you’ll start again as a new character, but you’ll still have some knowledge of where to find clue and how best to approach the game.
It’s a neat idea but it’s let down by one fact; the game is far too small to use its ideas properly and often you’ll find clues in exactly the same place as your last playthrough. It also has the same 2 leaders, though they can be a mix of good and bad depending on how the game has randomised them. I really wanted the ending to play out differently and maybe expand this idea to more of the cult members wondering around, many of which you’ll speak to in order to get clues. As it stands, the game just feels like a bit of a missed opportunity in terms of scope and there’s very little danger or tension here.
At least the town itself is presented well in a top-down style with buildings opening up their roof as you enter them in order to search for clues. It’s a little bear of characters, though, with huts and simple wooden structures interspersed with jungle fauna at regular intervals and not much else in the way of scenery to speak of.
With a premise that promised more, taking less than half an hour to complete a playthrough was a bit of a let down. That said, the game world has plenty of scope for expansion if developer Paranoid Production decide to make a sequel or expand this title with content and it could still become the game it initially promised from the start.