Papa Sangre: iPhone Game You Play With Your Ears

Over the weekend, I downloaded a new game called Papa Sangre. Rather than tell you it’s something I’ve never seen before, I want to tell you it’s something I’ve never heard before. In the game, you really don’t use your eyes very much at all. Nearly all the work is done by your ears. It’s a bit pricey as games go (currently $5), but well worth the money. As soon as you hear this thing, you’ll know what I mean.

The premise is simple: You are in the land of the dead. Someone is in danger, and in need of your help. Your job is to get there, using nothing more than your hearing.

The controls in the game are very straightforward. Walking consists of touching two buttons: left foot, right foot. The faster you hit the buttons, the faster you walk/run… but if you go too fast, you’ll trip. The sound of your falling will then alert nearby monsters to your location.

The only other control is a wheel that turns you around. But the great thing is that you’re not seeing anything when you turn. You can tell you’re moving based on the sounds around you.

For a sample of the audio quality of this game (which is pretty top notch, by the way), check out the following video clip. Believe me when I tell you that it’s much, much better if you wear headphones while listening.

At each new level, there are different monsters or obstacles to overcome. In one room there is a monster that patrols across the path, left to right. Your job is to walk by without being detected. In another room, there are sleeping monsters. As you walk towards the exit, if you step on a pile of old bones, the monsters wake and rush to your location.

I’ve been playing this game at night, before bed. I’ve turned down the lights, and found that playing it in the dark is even more fun. The world of the game is incredibly rich and textured, but it’s all done with sound. It’s novel and incredibly fun to shift my focus almost exclusively to one of my other senses.

The game is based off a theatre game called Sangre Y Patatas. Players all wear blindfolds, with one person designated as the killer (Sangre) and everyone else as prey (Patata). If two people bump into one another, they have to announce their names. If one person is Sangre, the other person automatically dies (and gets to die as theatrically as they wish).

In addition to the players, there are physical challenges as well. Typically, the game will include potato chips on the floor and bells dangling from strings. The winner of the game is the last Patata standing. Here’s a video of the game in action:

I’m really taken with this game and have been showing it to folks at work, insisting they put on headphones and explore the first level of the game. The only complaint I have is that currently, I’ve encountered a bug that prohibits me from playing the game beyond a certain level. The game requires you to have a specific iPhone to play (3G won’t work, but 3GS and above will)… and while my phone meets the requirements, I’m currently stuck, more or less. I’ve submitted a support ticket, and we’ll see what happens.

Despite that though, the game is pretty fantastic. I know it’s odd that I’m recommending a game that’s currently not working right for me, but I really have to say – from what I’ve seen heard so far, it’s really great stuff. For as much as I’ve played so far, I’m absolutely sold. You should buy this game, and hear it for yourself.

And make sure to play it in the dark.

// Update: On a whim, I tried to reset my iPhone. I powered it down, started it up again… and now the bugginess I experienced is gone. I’m no longer stuck, and looking forward to continuing to play this super fun game.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. I’m a totally blind guy, recently got an iOS device, and I love this game, I’ll tell you why: All the textures are extremely realistic. What I mean is, as you walk near a wall, you hear it, as you turn, sounds change. You know the way in which, even at a party or club someplace, you will back up to a wall but not ram into it? You know this even though you didn’t turn around and look. Very similar sensations, only of course it’s a horror game of awesomeness. Very realistic when moving across snow, or ice, or swamps, or anyplace.I’m not a big-time gamer, just an average working guy, but I can’t see getting bored with this game any time soon. Take your time in the tutorial mode – unlike me who hastened in to the game to see what all the blood and guts was about. For those still doubting because of lack of video, I think the sounds will make you draw your own visuals in your head. At least it does for me: sights, sounds, smells. I’ve never seen, so someone with useful vision would have to comment, but I will say this, it’s like when you’re in a dreamlike state half-asleep half-awake with some industrial music playing in your headphones and … fill in the rest for yourself. Great craftsmanship.

    Robo Reply

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