Perhaps one of the most visually stunning games on the iPad so far, The Descent [$1.99] takes full advantage of the Unity3D graphics engine in order to build on a wonderfully deep and immersive player experience that takes you through deserts, caves, the afterworlds and more on a quest to find missing daughter Liza.
Historical explorer John couldn’t believe it after discovering that the ancient legends of ‘The Book of the Dead’ were undeniably true. On the trail of his daughters whereabouts after a frantic and abrupt call, he seeks out clues of her whereabouts using her diary and eventually finds himself trapped between the world of the living and the dead.
A beautifully designed game with elements of FPS and hidden-object style gameplay, The Descent takes you through a wonderful journey as John uncovers the many mysteries behind the ancient legend, all in hot pursuit of his missing daughter.
Using the advice of long-time friend Bill, and a book that unveils some of the clues and many hidden secrets involving the ancient legend, it is left up to the player to decide the outcome of this mysterious story. Split into 11 levels across two episodes, you will discover a series of the most wonderfully immersive environments, from deserts to caves, to the Amazon Jungle and the Akat Afterworld.
One element I found both quite frustrating but at the same time satisfying was the lack of map guidance throughout the game which meant I would frequently find myself wandering around lost. There are of course areas where the game will simply prevent you from walking in a certain direction but for the most part I found myself meandering aimlessly until I reached a specific destination that was a nod in the right direction.
The game itself is blessed, for the most part, with incredibly fluid joystick style controls to move your character along, while tapping various dedicated buttons on the right to shoot, aim and jump. For those who don’t quite get along with the dynamic joystick control system, it’s also possible to swap for simpler touch pad controls. The controls itself were incredibly smooth, the only problem was that I kept hitting the button to fire the gun rather than jump or look around, which used unnecessary ammo and was a little frustrating at times. That said, it’s not a huge issue, and was probably more due to the way I was holding the iPad more than anything else.
Though there are no voice-overs, nor much of an audio soundtrack to speak of, I still found the occasional short resonating bursts of sound and realistic sounding audio made me feel as though I was living the game as I advanced through some of the most visually arresting environments I’ve seen in an iOS game to this day.
Driven largely by its on-screen dialogue, it’s up to you as the player to choose and decide how the story will advance by further carrying out specific actions of some sort. Every decision made throughout The Descent affects the overall outcome of the story, which in turn makes it largely enjoyable and boasts a high replay value.
Personally, aside from being blown away by the visuals and the glaring fact that I tend to enjoy games of this genre, The Descent had a whole host of depth that I didn’t expect, and was most definitely a worthwhile purchase. If you’re on the fence about whether you should buy this visually striking adventure game, then the trailer posted above may change your mind. All in all, an exceptional mystery adventure game, and without a doubt one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve played through in some time.
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