Soul Trapper is a remarkably enjoyable and awesomely innovative combo of 1950s radio dramas and Choose Your Own Adventure story books. While this style of game may not be in everyone’s taste, you owe it to yourself to check it out if you have a hankering for a totally unique experience on your iPhone.
Soul Trapper tells the story of Kane Pryce, a gruff private detective turned ghost hunter. Using the Soul Trap that his father invented, Kane can both trap and talk to the spirits he is hired to remove.
Throughout the 23 chapters in the game the whole of the story is acted out for you. The dialog is spoken and the foley artists are right there putting in all of the sirens, door creaks, phone and footsteps needed to get the point across. The voice acting was well done if not a little bit on the cheesy side, but it didn’t grate too much on my nerves as I played through the five-ish hours that it took to complete the game.
While the story is progressing you’ll frequently be tasked to interact with the story. These interactions range from simply moving from room to room, up to controlling your breathing or opening the Soul Trap to trap a ghost ala Ghost Busters. There were just enough interactive parts to keep things interesting and moving along nicely. Some of the interactive parts of the game were better then others, and others yet could of been removed from the game entirely to cut down on the annoyance factor. I mean, how many times do we have to tap along with our in-game heart rate and breathing speed? We got it the first time.
The interface is minimal at best, almost to a fault. While the story is progressing a simplified backdrop will be shown on the screen to set the tone of the chapter, and the controls to interact with the story will appear when needed. I can understand keeping things simple here as to not detract from the story being played out, but would of liked it if the interface was a little more refined. The buttons were a little small for my liking which turned into some wrong presses while playing on the bus.
My one biggest complaint with Soul Trapper was that there was no way to pause a chapter once it’s started. All games on the iPhone should include this as a standard feature because there is nothing worse then listening to ten minutes of dialog all over again because you had to turn off your phone or take a call. Once you beat a chapter you can replay any of them by choosing them in the chapter menu however, which was nice to see.
Overall I was quite impressed with this first installment of the Soul Trapper franchise. It was a welcome injection of freshness into an App Store that is heavily clogged with match three puzzlers and Soduku apps. I’m hoping that with a little refinement to the gameplay and a much needed graphic overhaul that the future exploits of Kane Pryce will look as good as they sound.
Version 1.0 of Soul Trapper: Episode 1 – Ollie Ollie Oxen Free! was reviewed and was available on the App Store for $6.99 at the time this review was written.