Ian's Eyes [Hands On Preview]
People like to be divided by the age-old question of whether you are a dog person or a cat person. I am hands down a dog person; hell I’m a dog person before a person person. It has been put on record that I take special concerns when canines appear in my video games and will take no guff when it comes to my furry friend getting into any harm. I would sacrifice my character to ensure the safety of Pooch.
But what if I wasn’t a guiding human...what if I was an actual guiding dog?
Ian’s Eyes was a very new premise to me and would completely turn my perspective of playing as a character I would genuinely care about. Playing as a guide dog for a blind school boy where the control and responsibilities fall into your hands...or paws?
The story follows Ian who is a new student at school and before he even manages get settled in, an out of the ordinary force takes over the students and teachers during a time capsule opening ceremony. During the ceremony a bright light fills the school taking over the school children and faculty staff turning them into aggressive brain dead zombie like creatures.
Due to Ian’s blindness the ominous light did not affect him (hurray?) however the commotion is enough to warn you that something terrible has happened and you need to escape. Cue the assistance of ol’ wet nose.
The game plays like a scary stealth style where you have to move through the dark school hallways without getting the attention of the now possessed school members. The dog is solely responsible for moving around the obstacles with a stealth crawl and also leading enemies away with a distracting bark. You can move away from Ian however the time between your separation gives Ian a scare meter when he gets anxious. So you can’t play the whole game without him but Ian is useful with opening doors.
The art of the game reminds me of a mix of Tim Burton and Invader Zim with novelty sized big heads and large round eyes with a grim colour scheme. Sadly the design of the dog is a tad bit perplexing, almost looking like its head was once round but somehow got squished. There are also some distractions when it comes to particular voice work. The character of the principal (and also narrator) seems out of place and can really take away from the story.
The game isn't necessarily polished but the actual game play is challenging as well as scary. I do recommend playing this game with headphones as the nightmarish scream from the enemies made me jump constantly and raised my anxiety levels. The overall environment consists of single angel viewing and tight corners which makes for quite a fright if you do a sharp turn right into enemy arms.
As a person who does not enjoy the stealth/survivalist genre this game kept me going (even though I was caught 20 times within the first five minutes of the game). I do recommend this game if you are looking for a cheap puzzler and there is actually a free demo available on Steam so you can give it a try.
IAN'S EYES WAS REVIEWED USING A "RETAIL" WINDOWS DOWNLOAD KEY PROVIDED BY SOEDESCO