Deaf Game Review – The Church in the Darkness

Review copy provided courtesy of Paranoid productions. Game reviewed on Xbox One.

The Church in the Darkness Deaf Accessibility
5.3 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
All dialogue is subtitled, very helpful visual cues, speaker labels for subtitles
Cons
Subtitle text is a bit small, too much text on screen at one time on occasion
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues

Indie games have really been killing it lately with Deaf/hoh accessibility and The Church in the Darkness is no exception.

In this game, you are tasked with infiltrating a cult (however you feel so inclined to do it) to save your nephew. The cool thing about The Church in the Darkness is its replayability. Each time you play, you’ll have a different experience with different personalities of the cult leaders, different levels of hostility, and variations on the common end game goal.

The game itself is a simple one in terms of mechanics (Not in gameplay, as I’ve yet to actually successfully find my nephew. I keep ending up in a cage, suspended over water, and then I push the cult a little too far and I die.) Similar to American Fugitive, this is a top-down experience which makes for an interesting take on a stealth approach.

They have smartly implemented features that, while they serve as Deaf/hoh accessibility features, are not exclusively so.

View of nearby enemies/cult residents with colored cones to indicate their level of aggression and field of view.

Take these little multicolored cones in the above image. They indicate both the cult resident’s (I know there’s probably a better term than cult resident, but that’s what we’re going with) field of view, as well as their aggression level. So players know exactly where not to go and who might be safer to sneak into their line of sight.

These are also tied to the difficulty level and with each level of difficulty, the cones go from showing on screen for a few seconds, to not being there at all.

Group of cult residents with colored rings around them indicating their aggression.

Once you’ve been spotted as an intruder, the cones are swapped out for the above circles. Red means they’re chasing you to shoot you, yellow means… something else (I don’t know, I keep dying).

The only aspect of this game that’s not great are the subtitles.

Four lines of small subtitle text shown at the bottom of the screen.

More specifically, at times there is far too much text on the screen at once (it should always be 2-3 lines max, preferably 2) and the size. While I’m glad to see they are against a dark box, I’d also love to see some size options, as the one size won’t be large enough for many players.

Subtitles aside, The Church in the Darkness is a fantastic game that you should definitely check out (especially if you are oddly interested in cults like me).

See options and controller configuration below:

Game options menu