Apparition (Switch)

We all have guilty pleasures.  You wanna know what one of mine is?  You know those ghost shows on the History Channel or Travel Channel where paranormal investigators try to find evidence of hauntings?  Yeah I know those shows are dopey and probably most of the stuff they find isn’t real or overly exaggerated for TV.  But you know what?  I like watching them anyway, I don’t care.  Well now there’s a game on the Switch where you get to be a paranormal investigator in a first person adventure perspective.  Is it any good?  Well you’ll just have to read on to find out…if you dare!

I’ll get it right out of the way, this game is riddled with problems and is not very good.  First of all, you never want to play this game in handheld mode.  The game is just way too dark and you can’t see anything.  Even after I turned up the brightness all the way I couldn’t see anything.  So only play this in TV mode.  But it’s just as well, as the text is completely illegible in handheld mode also, and you’ll need to be able to read everything you can because of the lack of instructions.

And that’s the other main problem with the game, it doesn’t tell you what to do.  At all.  Right off the bat you’re supposed to start the game by equipping a camera and other tools, but I didn’t know that so my first few playthroughs were just me running around in the dark with a candle not knowing what to do.  Once I figured that out and played in TV mode, I could see a small area that consisted of a road, a car (not sure if it is mine), a bunch of trees, a campfire with an Ouija board, a small house, and a shed.  If there’s anything else around, I couldn’t find it.  What you’re supposed to do is pull out your journal so you know you’re supposed to take pictures of things to gather paranormal evidence.  This in turn earns you experience points which you can use to buy things on the first screen so you can equip them and gather more, better evidence and start the process over again.

Items that you can take pictures of include blood, bodybags, and dark demons that try to get you!  But since it’s so dark, you usually can’t see the demons until it’s too late.  And the controls aren’t very intuitive and I would always forget what button to push to pull out your camera and take pictures.  You can view the controls, but by that time, you’re already dead.  You can also use a Ouija board by a campfire to communicate with spirits to get experience points.  If you don’t know what to type in and ask, the journal tells you to look for scraps of paper.  I found one on a nearby folding chair that said, “Are you good or bad?”  I typed that in and the answer I got was “YES.”  So apparently the spirit I was talking to was a smart aleck.  Then I typed in HELLO and got the answer “GET OUT” which is kind of scary but also expected.

So after doing these things over and over again because the dark demons kill you after a few minutes, I just stopped playing.  I never could get enough experience points to buy better cameras and such, and doing those things over again just wasn’t very fun.  What the game really needs is an interactive tutorial to help get you started, or at least get your bearings.  That’s just good game design.  Random tips during loading screens just doesn’t cut it.  But through those, apparently you can craft items, too, somehow.  I also thought it was interesting how you could turn off jumpscares in the options screen.  But yeah, I really just can’t recommend this game to anyone.

Kid Factor:

Apparition is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Violence.  There is blood smeared around the floor of the little house and on a mattress, and when you die, the first person camera just tilts to the side.  Families with strong religious beliefs may also not like the fact that you use an Ouija board in the game.  Heck, even I wasn’t comfortable with using it.  One thing I’ve learned by watching all those ghost shows on TV is those boards are nothing but trouble.  Whether or not they’re real, those boards just don’t sit right with me.  I’ll never bring a real one into my house, anyway!

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