The Ensign review

Download.com staff

The Ensign is a text-based game that tells the story leading up to the events of A Dark Room, making it a prequel in name, if nothing else. And while it technically comes before A Dark Room, it's a good idea to complete the original game first before you start on this one.

Pros

Captivating storyline: Just like its predecessor, this game involves a slow-reveal of a dark and compelling storyline. You start out in a brief conversation with the Admiral before setting out on your own to try and make it to your ship with only a compass to guide you. Following the small clues that the game provides, you discover new areas of this mysterious world and slowly begin to get a feel for what you're really trying to accomplish and why you're here.

Cons

Dynamic resource management: Success in this game hinges on your ability to manage your resources, specifically food, water, and health, on a very short leash. You don't have a lot of room in your bag, and you have to decide what to bring with you to give you the best chance of reaching another restocking point before you run out. This setup means that you're walking a very fine line at all times, and you'll almost certainly die frequently.

Highly frustrating: This game is very hard, and that can get immensely frustrating, especially for inexperienced players. There is no way to ease into it, and if you don't catch on to the mechanics and tricks quickly on your own, you'll never get anywhere.

Bottom Line

The Ensign is engaging and addictive, as long as you don't get too frustrated by your almost certain early failures. It costs $0.99 on the App Store, and there are no options for additional in-app purchases.

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