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Hopeless: The Dark Cave

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Hope springs eternal

Product: Hopeless: The Dark Cave | Publisher: Upopa Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Hopeless: The Dark Cave iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's dark, you're a glowing blob, and you've got a gun.

Suddenly, you hear a sound off to your right - or maybe it was your left. A rusty iron gate screams in the darkness as it lets... something... draw closer to you.

Steadying your finger on the trigger, you wait. Will it be a friend, or will it be a giant Muppet-looking monster waiting to devour you? Movement flashes, you blink at the worst possible moment, and you make your decision..

Gumdrop dead

In a nutshell, that's the world of Hopeless: The Dark Cave, a disarmingly cute time-waster that's a great addition to the niche genre of 'adorable free-to-play survival horror shooters'.

Hopeless features controls that are as simple as its storyline - you tap anywhere on the screen to shoot, and that's it. Targeting is handled automagically for you, and your blobs are crack shots with their pistols (meaning, they'll never miss).

But simple shouldn't be confused with easy.

While the blobs and monsters don't really look alike, it's remarkably difficult to tell them apart once the game heats up.

Your eyes detect movement and you need to make the snap decision whether or not to tap the screen.

If you guess correctly and shoot a monster, you'll survive a bit longer. Tap incorrectly and shoot a friend and you'll miss out on the chance to score some points that help you unlock nifty power-ups and, naturally, ring up a higher score.

Stark minimalism

There's really not a lot going on in Hopeless: The Dark Cave, which works for and against the game as a whole.

IAPs explained
If the monsters gobble up all of your Blobs in Hopeless, you die and your run ends.

To keep your run going, you can purchase reserves of the completely optional "Emergency Blobs". 99c/69p gets you 15 Blobs, while $1.99 / £1.49 nets you a cache of 45.

For $2.99 / £1.99, you'll get 90 Blobs while $4.99 / £2.99 gives you a mighty reserve of 200 Blobs.

On the plus side, there's not a lot of places for it to go wrong and - happily - it never does. The IAPs are unobtrusive to the point of being non-existent and you can play for as long as you'd like without being gated with energy or bombarded with ads.

On the negative side, there's really not a lot of meat to keep you interested for long playing sessions, and you can probably unlock all of the power-ups in an hour or two of gameplay.

But Hopeless: The Dark Cave isn't designed to be the sort of game that commands marathon sessions. It's a cute, pocketable shooter that provides a compelling test of skill along with some intriguing artwork.

It's not the deepest game in the world, sure, but it's incredibly hard to put down once you start playing - and, if you're in the mood for a bonus challenge, try playing it at night, alone, with all the lights off and the sound turned up.

You'll see just how much fun this cute little game can be.
Hopeless: The Dark Cave
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 24 January 2014
Easy to pick up and difficult to master, the deceptively twee Hopeless: The Dark Cave is a perfect game for short bursts of entertainment
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