The Church In The Darkness from Fellow Traveller
A top down stealth game about infiltrating a cult’s compound to rescue someone.
In the late 1970’s your nephew has joined a religious cult and moved with them to the South American jungle to become a part of Freedom Town. Your sister, Stella, asks you to infiltrate the cult’s compound to find, convince, and escape with your nephew Alex.
While walking around the compound you meet both friendly and hostile NPC’s. The hostile NPC’s will chase after you and shoot at you, while the friendly NPC’s will provide you with objectives or challenges as well as information on where your nephew Alex is through conversations. The friendly NPC’s can be identified by the green circle around them and the speech button prompt when you approach them.
You can fight the NPC’s by shooting them at a distance if you prefer lethal ranged combat or you can sneak up behind them and choose a lethal (kill) or non-lethal (subdue) takedown. When choosing the non-lethal takedown the NPC will wake up about 10 seconds later and start trying to hunt you down. If you choose this option, make sure you clear the area quickly or find a hiding spot. If you are able to locate Chloroform it can be used with the non-lethal takedown to extend the amount of time the NPC will stay unconscious.
You can search desks, closets, cupboards, and dead or knocked out bodies for weapons, ammo, food, and medical supplies. While searching the desks around the town you find letters to and from the NPC’s.
Limited customization’s allow you to choose your character’s sex and race as well as the difficulty level.
The graphics are basic but the top down angle that puts you above the tallest trees can still be a little vertigo inducing for anyone with issues with heights. The sound is ok. There are some sound effects related to your movement and in world actions and dialog options with NPCs but the majority of what you hear is either preaching or singing over the loudspeakers.
The game has a Permadeath system. Once you die, your only option is to start the game over again. When you start a new game, your spawn location is randomized as is the locations for some story objectives. The game also has different endings based on the choices you make and the difficulty chosen which all adds to the replayability of the game. Depending on where you spawn in and where your nephew is located, a playthrough takes about 20 minutes to 1 hour; less if you get killed.
You are able to see the NPC’s field of view by holding a button, though doing so makes you crouch and move slowly. This makes it easier to avoid detection and know where to hide or disappear when/if you get spotted. You can also find Townsperson Clothing to disguise your character and reduce the detection radius.You can still get spotted though and once you are, you lose the disguise and it disappears from your inventory so you can’t even reequip it after escaping.
The game provides you with a few options to try to distract the NPC’s and make them change the route they are traveling or move from the location they are guarding. You can throw stones or turn on a radio, both of these options will send NPC’s to investigate what is going on. This becomes very helpful on the harder difficulties since being as stealthy as possible will help keep you alive.
The religious cult has two leaders; Isaac Walker who is the Preacher and his wife Rebecca. You will hear their voices over the loudspeakers around the town as they preach propaganda and “brainwash” the NPC’s. After about 4-5 times it starts to become repetitive and makes you wish there was an option to lower the loudspeaker volume.
As mentioned, the game has different endings depending on the choices you make and the difficulty you selected but there’s also a seemingly random component to the different endings centered around Issac’s actions. The permadeath mechanic does you no favors if you want to see all of the possible endings.
Short campaign, Permadeath, top down, stealth game with multiple possible endings that have a random component to them.
The Church in the Darkness is available on Xbox, PS4,Nintendo Switch, Windows and Mac. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.