How to start for this one?
First of all, I have never read or watched Phantom of the Opera, so my vague understandings of the story are this: A disfigured man with a possessive streak a mile wide gets obsessed stalkery over a singer who has very low self-confidence because of abusive upbringings.
I.E.: Not a relationship I want to touch with a ten foot pole.
So. Proceeding from that concept, I saw an ad for the mobile game. Around the same time a fairly numerous amount of individuals in the Twitter writing community were talking about their works in progress and comparing their storylines to various classical literature. PotO kept showing up in my feed. I figured this would kill two birds with one stone by giving me a mobile game with good ratings to review and letting me have a better idea of the story.
I will say, in opening up the app, it does provide a nice series of warnings well laid out ahead of time for those with visual and auditory triggers along with content warnings. I greatly appreciate apps that are taking their audience’s needs to heart and proactively providing these warnings. (Might need to add in a video shake warning for those of us who find random jittery screens extremely uncomfortable and maybe seizure inducing)
Within the game itself, you are faced off with both 2/3 body anime characters for certain types of dialogue scenes, and little chibi characters to move about the screen and discover various clues to help move the story along and provide context about culture, history, and other such useful information.
The auditory part – that one needs to be addressed. At the beginning of the intro screen, there is a suggestion to wear headphones for better immersion. Do not. Not unless they have some good calibration. I played it on my phone speaker. The difference in level pitch between the regular musical background and the “additional” noises – as in screaming, tapping on glass, etc. are much higher. I also have sensitive hearing, so I can tell you now, headphones would actually make my ears hurt listening to the leveling in this one. Otherwise, the music and sound effects are nice and fairly well timed. The screaming might be a little over played honestly, but it is what it is.
The art is rendered beautifully. The exploratory scene content is not extensive to the point of frustration (looking at you Murder in the Alps). The timing for ads and coin recharge rate is not out of the question. In general, I’d say the game is entirely playable and worth at least poking through the first pair of chapters. FYI, pet the cats. They give you ads to watch, which give you coins, which lets you get through more scenes.
I think my issues lay in the actual premise of the story itself. At which point, I need to go back to pointing out that I have neither read nor watched the original story. To say it bluntly, I don’t care for any of the relationships this whole caste of characters has. The premise of it is set up through gaslighting, manipulation, deception, terror, abandonment. Currently, you name it for unhealthy relationship red flag, this story seems to have it, not just in the game, but in the original work.
This is where I have to ask why people “fall in love” with the story. Maybe I should read the piece to find out, but I’m really leery of subjecting myself to that. Been there. Done that. Dealt with gaslighting and emotional abuse and took too many years to work myself out of it. I don’t see how qualities in either Raoul or the Phantom can make the tome redeemable in any way. Yet. I don’t actually know what is going on to assign these snap judgements.
In essence: I liked the mobile game. The graphics, soundtrack, and pacing were decent enough to pull me in for the first couple of chapters I usually go through for a review. It has left me in a debate with myself on if I want to visit the original text to have a deeper understanding on a “classical” piece of “literature”. I am now curious as to what specifically the original author’s intent was behind writing the story and quite intrigued with how the programmer and artistic teams were able to handle the characters and settings for the game based on the work.
I am a writer and artist working through the Kavordian Library series. I write sci-fi, fantasy, lgbt romance.