01st May2019

‘The Padre’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

padre-zombie-lady

Presented in a voxel graphical style from a mostly isometric viewpoint, The Padre puts you in the blocky shoes of the titular character as he tries to solve the mystery of a missing Cardinal. The game contains elements of various titles, most prominently Alone in the Dark and early Resident Evil games. The tone of the game, however mostly reminded me of Ecstatica, a game which also shared visuals and design choices that seemed to work against the gameplay itself.

The game begins in the Padre’s room where you can spend a few moments acquainting yourself with the controls. The game always feels quite claustrophobic and as a lot of the puzzles are both environmental and inventory-based, you are sometime standing near three or even more intractable objects which are assigned to seemingly random buttons on the fascia of the control pad. I never got used to how these were allocated and so it never felt comfortable. As I got deeper into the game, the main voice actor began to grate as well, putting on a forced, rough voice, the accent wavers between each lines and repetition soon kicks in when interacting with in-game objects. Another issue I had was the blocky visuals sometimes being too indistinct, I’d click on a highlighted object that looked like some brown squares on a table and the Padre would say something along the lines of “Hmmm..it looks like one is missing”…one ‘what’, though?

padre-dont-need-it

Aside from some cool, creepy moments and some solid inventory-puzzles (there are also a few too many ‘winky’ references to other games for my taste, which takes you out of the atmosphere of The Padre), the combat is another major part of the game, split between melee and ranged, each never feels satisfactory and is a bit of a button-bash fest, not helped by the cramped rooms which don’t lend themselves to any sort of tactics beyond getting in a corner and hoping for the best.

I did like the tone, ambience and some aspects of The Padre but Shotgun with Glitters, as a development team, are scattered all over Europe and this seems to be echoed in the game itself, each element feels slightly rough and somewhat disconnected from the combat and puzzles through to the visuals and movement. With some refinement, this could be a neat little horror title but as it stands, it feels like a ‘late-stage’ Early Access title on Steam and is only really recommended to fans of games such as the original Alone in the Dark and even then, with caveats.

In short, The Padre is a promising idea that feels like it unfortunately overreaches its grasp in too many ways to make it a recommendable title.

The Padre is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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