Developer: Upopa Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.11
App Reviewed on: iPad Air

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Don’t blink, or chance a miss. This game will tug on anyone’s heartstrings; a perfect little time-waster, Hopeless: The Dark Cave is a unique take on the survival horror genre in which a group of glowing blobs huddle in the dark, watching and waiting as the shadows move in closer and closer…

Employing a clever elementary approach, Hopeless throws the player straight into the action, bypassing any need for tutorials. Simply a case of tapping the screen to shoot, the aim is to rack up as many points as possible by rescuing and protecting friends and assassinating hairy monster-foes as they both crawl their way out of the shadows and into the light. A dab hand with a pistol, targeting is automatically handled by the blobs of their own accord, who can take down anything and everything that comes at them. So hands on the triggers, and get ready.

IMG_0897Though Hopeless does indeed sound basic and run-of-the-mill, this game is far from easy. As soon as things start to heat up, blobs and monsters can easily merge into a frantic fast-paced chaotic rampage and it becomes much harder to tell friend from enemy as the action ramps up rather suddenly. Instead it’s a case of relying on the eye’s ability to detect the movement and the brain’s ability to make a quick-fire decision.

In terms of playability there isn’t a great deal more going on here, which in some ways is a blessing and in other ways can seem lacking. The in-app purchases are unobtrusive, and it’s possible to play the game for the longest time without any barriers or obstacles. The only downside is that due, to its simple nature, Hopeless can get stale pretty quickly. Especially since it’s wholly possible to unlock the few power-ups within the first hour or so of gameplay.

IMG_0903It’s fairly obvious that Hopeless was not intended to be the sort of game designed to be played for long sessions, and is best played in short intervals or when on the move. A fair number of the features, including the option to compete against friends as well as more extreme modes and challenges, are currently (at the time of writing) disabled, but it’d be interesting to see what these modes can offer in the future.

In a nutshell, Hopeless is a cute, distinctive, and highly original survival horror shoot-em-up that relies on the player’s reflexes and instincts in order to succeed. The more blobs rescued and the more monsters eradicated, the higher the score, and the harder to beat. Though a casual game at heart, Hopeless: The Dark Cave is not one to miss out on.


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