“Unique” is a word that often gets thrown around when a game does something different. However, very few games give you a new experience like Papa Sangre. In fact, it drops the entire graphical aspect out of videogames in favor of a purely audio-based experience. While this part of the game is extremely immersive, the gameplay is uninteresting and frustrating.
Binaural audio, or 3D sound, is rarely implemented in games. This is likely to change eventually, but at the moment it’s more or less useful as a tech demo. Papa Sangre uses this technology to create an image in your mind so you can scope out where a sound is coming from and turn yourself to face it.
In order to progress through Papa Sangre, you must find the musical notes located on every level without getting killed by various monsters. You can use a wheel to position your character, and tap the left and right feet buttons alternately to walk. You must avoid walking too fast, so you don’t fall and attract danger.
The bathroom scale of the dead.
Some levels have different types of floors and monsters that make the game more challenging. However, trying to avoid monsters you can’t see with tons of other sounds coming in at all angles often ends in your death, and then you’ll have to start over again. Collecting random musical notes and avoiding aggressive monsters we can’t see isn’t our idea of fun.
In order to play Papa Sangre, you’ll need high-end speakers or headphones. The iPhone’s included earbuds don’t quite cut it; you’ll need something along the lines of Bose noise-cancelling headphones and above. When listening on headphones of this caliber, the audio touches are quite enjoyable, but for the masses this requirement makes the game inaccessible.
The $6.99 price tag on Papa Sangre is also hard to swallow with many cheaper and more entertaining games on the market. For what ends up feeling like an advanced tech demo with virtually no replay value, we can’t endorse this premium price.
Papa Sangre would be cool as an audio adventure, but as a game it simply doesn’t deliver the fun. If you still want to play Papa Sangre, we suggest waiting for a price drop.