I always feel like I’m playing catch-up when I join a series with a second or third game.
Thankfully it seems that the narratives being told in the Creepy Tale series are pretty standalone. The franchise has taken a host of influences from Grimm Fairy Tales to Hans Christian Anderson, working a brilliant mix of childhood adventure and deep horror; something that seems to be the trademark of this series.
So let’s see if we can be creeped out with Creepy Tale 3: Ingrid Penance; the latest puzzle adventure in the series.
The first impression you get when starting Ingrid Penance is that she is an annoying little girl. Selfish and rude, it feels an unlikely choice for a hero who you’re going to be spending a lot of time with.
In the story, you are sent out by your mother to deliver some freshly baked bread to her grandmother. But as soon as Ingrid sets out on her journey she comes across a dirty puddle and uses the bread as a stepping stone so as not to get filthy. Instead, she falls straight through the puddle and into a region of hell. And now she has to get out of there, using her wits. But there is also another problem
When she arrives in hell her hands are branded in fire with two numbers. Ingrid has been a horrid child in her life and it is either the time to atone or carry on her life of evil doing. To start with, one hand has six sins and the other has three good deeds. It’s up to you – as you progress through the game – to run the bad or the good route, changing the numbers on your hands. It works well, the writing is very good and the characters are fantastic.
But throughout Creepy Tale 3: Ingrid Penance you’ll find it hard to sympathise with the girl at the fore of the tale. Perhaps that’s the point of the game though.
Gameplay-wise and this works as a puzzle adventure, but it has point-and-click elements. You move Ingrid around a myriad of different levels, actioning certain tasks, utilising your brain power. The game isn’t great at giving you hints either, and so you will find yourself scratching your head a lot, trying a multitude of things randomly. It’s all about picking up objects and using them with other items to activate progression through the world. And as you’d expect to hear, some things will be out to kill you so you’ll have to be aware when trying to solve the puzzles.
Those puzzles are mostly good; occasionally complex and very inventive, but enjoyable most of the time. The good and bad choices are cleverly done and you’ll be left to make choices – some things you’ll be found actioning carefully, others violently. For instance, it’ll be up to you to either leave a room quietly or kill everything in there. Your choices of course will determine the ending of the game.
Creepy Tale 3: Ingrid Penance has some very distinct visuals; like a strange cartoon world, but full of darkness and mystery. Each level of hell has its own unique feel to it too – the insides of a gut with its hellish tentacles and food-feeding demons, to the strange bedroom world of captured sleeping children. It’s a piece of creative genius that is sometimes at play.
The soundtrack is also solid and works fantastically with the world you are exploring. There is a full voice-over but that only sees Ingrid becoming even more annoying, all thanks to the committed performance of the actor.
Creepy Tale 3: Ingrid Penance is a very bewitching, rather fascinating adventure. It comes with a unique story and a neat way of using good/evil choice dynamics. Some of the puzzles are a bit too tricky to work out, and that may put off newcomers to the genre, but the visual design works wonders.
A six hour or so experience, the choices you make will determine whether you have been a very good, or very bad, Ingrid Penance.