Surprisingly I’m reviewing a game the same day it was released so that means either one of two things, either the game was addictive as Hell and I couldn’t stop playing or it’s an extremely short game, Spirit Camera is a mixture of both.
The length of the story mode is two hours, yep two little hours, but whilst it is short, the game doesn’t wear out its length and offers something extremely unique to the system. Using the cameras on the 3DS where ever you’re playing (in my case, the bedroom) comes a haunted location. The game works quite simply you have a “haunted” purple diary, which you point at during the course of the game and helps trigger various ghosts and events. The story follows the Woman In Black-style with a curse and you’re partnered with a good spirit known as Maya as the two of you try to find out what the Woman In Black wants and the reason behind the twist is quite creative, but not too much.
Sounds cool, eh? Yep. Does it work? To some extent, it really depends on the lighting where you’re playing, you need to balance it just right, not too much, not too little and you’ve got to point the camera at the right angle, but with the angles you have a lot more flexibility than with the light. There’s only one point where I felt that the execution let the game down, during an excellent part of the game where bloody handprints come on the book and you’ve to move your fingers onto it which triggers a hand coming out of the book (and presents a great scare, a simple idea we’ve seen before in many horror games, but none done like this, which feels “real”) and you’ve to bust these hands with your camera obscura. What falls down here is during this you need to move 360 around the purple diary, not taking your camera off of the page, the problem here isn’t so much doing that but rather it isn’t clearly communicated to you. Other than that it works fantastically and there’s a few moments where you have to turn around knowing that there’s a creepy ghost behind you, in your own house, which actually replicates what being in a horror film would be like and it sends chills down your spine.
I will point out that I enjoyed the puzzles in the game, it wasn’t too difficult or obtuse (a word I do over use in this blog, but I blame the Shawshank Redemption) that I had to run to a online guide (which I’m pretty sure there might not be one) and in fact I found them stand out as something different from other survival horror games (the ones involving playing with the spirit of the child stands out as the best section of the game). Exorcising the ghosts using the camera obscura is a joy using the gyro in the 3DS, there’s NEVER a time you feel like the controls let you down in searching out the ghosts and as you follow them with your camera gaining more and more power as you focus on the spirits, I found it a joy to use, a note with this I only died once during the game was during the final section of the final boss, but I’d been playing for over a hour and a half straight so my mind was turning into jelly a bit and my reflexes went soft so I was missing the correct time to take a photograph. There are filters you get to use with the camera, but they decided to keep it simple and you only rely on the normal lens whilst fighting spirits so you’re not constantly trying to change your equipped weapon.
The game is actually a great experiment but I will be honest it does come off like a glorified tech demo, like Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D however I would recommend getting this more if you’re a horror fan, it is an unique game which no other system is doing at the moment. If I come off a bit too “fan-boy” about this game and recommending it, it’s because I want this game to be successful as I’d like to see more games like this and developers to try and experiment with what systems like the 3DS can off.