Release date: October 21, 2022
Developer: Airdorf Games
Publisher: New Blood Interactive
Music: Phyrnna, MEREMIX
Genres: Action-adventure, survival horror, puzzle
Modes: Single player
Categories: Horrifying and Terrifying, The Occult, Dark Creatures, (Ill-)Fated Quest
FAITH: The Unholy Trinity takes a nostalgic framework and upgrades it with substantive storytelling and a dreadful ambience built with the simplest of parts. If you think pixel art can’t be scary, FAITH is ready to convert you.
FAITH: The Unholy Trinity is a compilation of the series’ previous two chapters (self-published by Airdorf Games in 2017 and 2019) along with the new Chapter III (published by New Blood Interactive in October 2022). Inspired by “the era of classic 8-bit gaming and the ‘Satanic Scare’ of the 1980s” , the game utilizes “wickedly chunky pixels” , rotoscope cutscenes, and robotic text-to-speech dialogue to create an experience that’s visually and sonically reminiscent of Atari titles like Adventure (1980) and Asteroids (1979). You play as John Ward, a priest who is plagued by fear, remorse, and doubt following an exorcism gone wrong. Using his crucifix to repel enemies and uncover information from haunted objects in the environment, he is determined to atone for his past failures and prevent more evil entities from entering the world.
FAITH seems to have been designed with both reverence and a bit of lighthearted sardonicism for the generation of games it emulates. The aspects of ‘80s media (particularly within the horror genre) that come across as unintentionally campy by today’s standards—the clunky graphics, goofy special effects, and devil-worship melodrama—are elements that FAITH undoubtedly recognizes as camp and nevertheless chooses to lean into with gusto. There are bloody pentagrams galore, cultists who congregate at an abortion clinic, unapologetic plot-advancing tropes (e.g. a gun loaded with a single bullet that appears at just the right moment), and an abundance of quotable lines that sound rather funny when fed through the game’s speech synthesizer. The Unholy Trinity bundle even includes a folder of memes as part of its bonus content, so there’s no doubt that Airdorf embraces FAITH’s capacity for humor.
Despite its willful foray into the realm of the absurd, FAITH does a remarkable job of eliciting genuine fear, particularly in the church and sewer settings of Chapter II and the clinic in Chapter III. Although the demon sprites and rotoscope animations are eerie in their own right, FAITH’s most effective scares are derived from a carefully crafted atmosphere of suspense and dread. Subtle shifts in your surroundings (e.g. crosses falling off the wall or candles lighting on their own), vaguely sinister clues (e.g. “When you see it, don’t move” ), and simple, tension-building music all hint at something dangerous concealed just out of sight. These moments brimming with anticipation—what otherworldly evils are in store for John, and when will they emerge?—are unnerving to an impressive degree.
It can be tedious to search for the notes hidden throughout the game—pointing the crucifix at any landmark that’s even mildly striking in hopes that it yields a piece of paper to pick up—but assembling a complete collection is both satisfying and useful for understanding John’s character and the context in which FAITH takes place. There are nearly 100 letters, newspaper articles, and other intriguing morsels of text to discover, and by the end of Chapter III, it feels like you’ve read through an entertainingly deranged time capsule of sorts.
It doesn’t take long to complete all three chapters of FAITH (about five or six hours), but the game offers replay value in the form of multiple endings, secret bosses, missed notes to find, and options such as “turbo” (which increases movement speed) and “flashlight mode” (which darkens the entire map). Even if the idea of multiple playthroughs doesn’t appeal to you, FAITH: The Unholy Trinity is certainly worth a try—it’s a fun little throwback that’s scarier and more challenging than you might expect.
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