The Church in the Darkness Review
I’m generally not a huge fan of stealth games because I find the gameplay too slow for my liking. But if a game promises to be short – like this one does at 1.5 hours per play through – I can deal with stealth mechanics, and even enjoy them from time to time. Playing through The Church in the Darkness has been a phenomenal experience, and despite some glaring issues, there is a lot to really like.
The Church in the Darkness is a sandbox stealth experience where you work to infiltrate a cult camp, find people you need to rescue, and get out. Each play through lasted about an hour, sometimes 2, but with 20 different endings to ‘get’, there was reason to keep going back again and again.
When you first step onto the island and work to infiltrate the camp, you are given the option of one time to take with you, either a health pack or a pistol. As you play through more and more scenarios, new items become available to you, and you will get dropped off in a new area of the map, with a new person to find. While the scenarios themselves are different, you are always traversing the same map, and generally, performing the same stealth actions.
The short nature of the adventure made playing it incredibly enjoyable. I could play one or two missions, re-dock my Nintendo Switch, and go about the rest of my day. It is the perfect pick up and play experience, and leverages the handheld mode of the Nintendo Switch incredibly well.
Visually, the game takes a unique approach, opting for a top down few and very polygon like characters. The lush forests and bustling cult town are fun to look at, albeit the reuse of assets is very evident the longer you are immersed in the world. Things are laid out well, always giving players options to hide – in barrels or boxes – as well as players to toss bodies out of sight. There are also nice visuals when looking at letters written by cult members to those outside the cult – they feel real and authentic, and really draw you into the experience when reading them.
The game really felt like a top down Hitman in my opinion. You will stealth around the map and take down guards to make your objective a bit easier. When in stealth mode, you can see the lines of sight of these characters, making movement a little easier. When you do take down guards or free cult prisoners, the games audio – played over loud speakers around the town – will provide updates to cultist, based on your actions. This is a really great touch.
Repeating the game again and again is really great here, and the development team does a good job making each new scenario feel at least slightly different than the last. If you are looking for a fun experience on your Switch for under 19.99, The Church in the Darkness is our pick!
We give this outstanding title a 8.0/10!