For a change of pace, I take to my HTC Desire Android operated phone for some gaming time. Reviewing the Tale of Tales app The Graveyard.
Having played this previously on the PC I was curious to see what changes they might have made.
My SquareGo review is published originally here.
You can, as ever, read the full text below the cut.
On my android phone, an old woman stands at the gates of a gothic yet still pretty graveyard. The occasional call of small birds and the low whistle of the wind blow quietly in the background. This image is painted in stark black and white with no colour or joy to it.
With a gentle pressure on the screen, the woman begins to slowly walk towards the church, occasionally veering off suddenly to one side or the other like Luke Skywalker trying to avoid Tie Fighters in the Death Star trench. When she eventually finds her way to the end of the pathway, our glum and plucky geriatric lass will attempt to walk against the church and the bench in front of its cold stone walls.
Luckily sliding the pressing finger to either side will oh-so-slowly make the poor woman shuffle her little steps until she faces back towards the gate. Leaving her be for a few seconds and understandably the old dear will sit down on the bench, likely to regain her breath and possibly try in vain to comprehend the strange and meandering journey her player puppet-master has forced her through. While sitting there a song begins to play, beating out an ironically jolly song that describes a litany of the deceased and the ills that brought them to their doom.
If the song, while waxing despairingly about stillborn children, cancer victims and others, becomes too much, the old woman can be recoaxed to her feet and with a gentle pressure further down the screen, causing her to stumble wobblingly along the road back to the gate and the end of the game…
Or at least, most of the time that’s what happens. As with other Tale of Tales games – such as the oft lamented Vanitas, and the more bleakly brilliant The Path – The Graveyard is supposed to make you ponder and reflect upon the meaning of life and death. So every now and again, the old woman will suddenly and unexpectedly slump forward, dead. Leaving the player to muse upon the meaning of it all.
The Graveyard was originally released on the PC as a free download with an option to buy for a small price, unlocking the random deaths in the process. Similarly, the Android iteration is free unless you want to spend your time contemplating Granicide and shell out the few pounds it costs. It’s a strange and bizarre mobile experience that is mercifully shorter than the PC version, yet just as baffling and largely quite dull. Although the pathway through the graveyard isn’t as long on the handheld edition, the controls are far more finicky, making progress more difficult – which unfortunately gives the impression of the woman being drunk or suffering from some serious inner-ear malfunction as she skites around like a mayfly in a distillery.
Kudos must be given to Tale of Tales for being one of few companies who are trying to genuinely progress the art movement in videogaming, and broadening their audience by porting their PC wares to the phone market. However, while it’s worth having a try at The Graveyard, it’s unlikely that you’ll be recommending it to friends and family.