Don’t Turn Your Back. Don’t Look Away. Whatever You Do, DON’T BLINK!
Sixteen years after its newly continued release, the unfathomable has finally happened. A Doctor Who video game has come out that’s actually rather good. A witty take on found-footage horror, this time utilizing a mobile telephone as the game’s interface, Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is a faithful adaptation of the longstanding science fiction series that takes on its most menacing recent antagonists: The Weeping Angels. Developed by Maze Theory in partnership with BBC Studios, Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is a narrative-driven adventure created by the award-winning Kaigan Games. Fans of the series will find a lot to love here as the storyline is entirely faithful with the tone and heart of the series, but also, is a really fun puzzle solver with plenty of challenges in the escape room type of puzzle-solving. Though in this case, it’s more like “don’t let the Weeping Angels escape” the cellular telephone situation.
Cry Me An Angel
Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins begins with finding a discarded cellphone. When unlocked, it welcomes players with a greeting from Petronella Osgood. A scientist over at UNIT and friend to the Tardis driving Time Lord, Osgood soon realizes that The Doctor left YOU with this missing person’s cellphone for a reason. So she asks you to help find the phone’s owner. Featured in many of the promos, it’s obvious that the creatures featured are none other than the series’ Weeping Angels. A powerful species of aliens that have existed since the beginning of time who look like Stone Angels. And though they can’t move so long as something is looking at them, look away for just a second, and an angel can close in on unsuspecting victims in the blink of an eye. Angels work like a type of energy vampire, being able to drain their victims’ futures out of existence. Being touched by an angel can send a person forever into the past, with no ability to return to the present and live a fulfilling life ever again. Which is why they make a seriously menacing villain for this game.
A Cellphone Puzzle Mystery?
Much of the game plays out like an episode of Doctor Who. It takes place entirely on a cellular phone where players will need to find and unlock clues to send them to Osgood. The phone is also heavily blurred out and encrypted, but the further players get to the truth, the more Osgood is able to unlock different applications on the phone. Initially the phone itself has several locked applications including its web browser, image gallery, text chats, phone calls, and e-mail, along with a direct line to Osgood. Much of the game features actual photos, audio, and live-videos, all using real human actors that have left loads of pre-recordings on the phone. The game has a lot of horror elements to it, though much of it is decrypting different parts of the phone. Blurred-out phone images, eerie messages and phone calls are sent to you throughout your progression, as more and more hints slowly materialize and even break the game the further along you are. Be ready for some easter eggs along with some good old-fashioned jump scares, as the angels will do what they can to stop you along the way.
How’s It Play?
Much of the cell phone’s data is scrambled for good reason, so the focus is to unlock the game’s narrative by working with Osgood. This includes finding informational tidbits and hints in a cell-phone adventure. If you enjoy escape the room type of puzzles involving finding codes and putting together clues and coded messages, this game is all about that. Gather every bit of data from shipping addresses to even mysterious tabloid websites. The storyline itself is straightforward once everything is put together. For fans of the series, there are a lot of references to the Angels and even mentions of a few fan-favorite Doctors seen in the game. And though it’s a quick game meant for a single playthrough, it’s still a lot of fun. There are also tons of dialogue branches and useful UI customization, including the ability to add subtitles and speed up in-game texts in the opening menu.
The Angels Are Coming
A short but fun escape room sort of puzzle-solver, Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is a refreshing take on a found-footage horror story that replaces the camera with a cellphone. Fans of Doctor Who, regardless of which was your favorite Doctor, should try it. Especially at this price.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: Steam (Reviewed), iOS, Android; Developer: Kaigan Games; Published: Maze Theory; Players: 1; Released: March 19th, 2021; ESRB: T for Teen; MSRP: 5.99 (Steam), 3.99 (Mobile)
Editor’s note: Review Copy was Provided by the Publisher