The Padre – PC Review – With bonus interview!

Lori May

Lori May

Reviewer at The Drastik Measure
Lori is an avid video game enthusiast who enjoys blending her love of gaming with her work as a writer. She first cut her teeth back on the NES and Sega Genesis systems, and continues to be a Retro-gaming advocate with a soft spot for Point-&-Click Adventures. She's also a Survival Horror and Psychological Horror game collector, when she isn't coercing friends into any number of Co-Op multiplayer titles. If she isn't gaming you can find her working as a journalist and social media consultant, or perhaps dabbling in video game design among other hobby-with-big-dreams endeavors. Born in the heart of the Midwest, she's currently living in Colorado, where she prefers to avoid skiing, snowboarding, and other Mile High City attractions.
Lori May

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Genre: Early Access Action Adventure Indie Survival Horror
Developer: Shotgun with Glitters
Publisher: Shotgun with Glitters
Release Date: Feb 22, 2018

The Padre is an exquisite trek back into Survival Horror yesteryear that feels like a love letter to the genre. Its voxel graphics and brooding themes blend with an unnerving atmosphere and phenomenal voice cast to create an environment worthy of loitering within. We had an opportunity to interview Patrick Hickey Jr., the voice of Padre himself, in preparation for this review; you can watch a video of that session in its entirety over on Twitch. Patrick is a story editor for The Padre, in addition to being the primary voice actor, and he has had substantial influence in the development of the title. “I have this really soft spot for Indie games that are taking risks, and trying to do something different,” he explained during the interview. “The first screenshot I saw of this game – I knew that it was something different and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Released on February 22nd, 2018, into Steam’s Early Access from the clever minds at Shotgun with Glitters, The Padre plops players into a gloomy, surreal world populated by zombies, ghosts, and other supernatural horrors. Padre is our protagonist and reluctant hero, a man with a mysterious past that includes time spent slaying demons. When a letter arrives at his home pleading with him to go in search of a missing priest, Padre gears up and heads out to an ominous, sprawling mansion one dark and stormy night. I don’t want to give away anything of the plot, because the lore and secrets to be found in The Padre are top-notch. “It’s all about the mystery of what the hell is going on inside this mansion,” Patrick enthused, a sentiment I entirely agree with. The Padre is a creepy world you want to explore, and the writing makes it easy to lose yourself in the quest to figure out exactly what’s going on.

The voxel graphics are crisp and clean and feel Retro without seeming dated. They are obviously clunky and nostalgic by design, which only lends more to the early Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark vibe of the game. There are Easter eggs galore hidden in The Padre — in his dialog, items found within the mansion, and beyond. It’s very well done and is an added treat for fans of the genre that are eager for a new Survival Horror chapter. Even the tank controls and fixed camera angles are present, to my brief frustration at times when some wayward corner got me injured by a previously unseen foe.

The interface and controls are exactly what you’d expect from a classic Survival Horror experience. The Padre has a Point-&-Click feel at times in terms of combining objects in your inventory and using things found around the mansion to solve puzzles and progress further. Animated books fly at your head, skeleton dogs howl, and zombies sporadically respawn in areas where you’ve already visited. It keeps players on their toes, and The Padre does a great job of keeping suspense high and ambushes just around the corner.

I did encounter a few minor bugs, such as a glitch with a boss fight where the camera would spin around unsteadily. But these were infrequent, and although a few made situations much more difficult it was never so bothersome as to ruin the gameplay. I initially played Padre during the free demo phase and watching its progression between then and its current Early Access status has been a treat. Patrick had plenty of great things to say about the studio behind The Padre: “There are not a lot of Dev teams who take constructive criticism as well as [Shotgun with Glitters]. They are so down to earth and they love appeasing their community.”

The Padre is a fantastic trek into gaming yesteryear, and its dedication to the Survival Horror genre is obvious from the first scenes. Its world is Gothic and unnerving, full of fantastic lore, great atmosphere, and exceptional Voxel art design. The voice acting is superb across the board, and the score blends perfectly with the crashing thunder and spooky sounds in the mansion. Its puzzles are challenging and clever without feeling tedious or obtuse; something that many modern games don’t balance well.

And Padre, himself, is an intriguing main character with a fascinating backstory I’d love to explore in a prequel or DLC. This one is a must-buy for fans of the genre, voxel art, and even Adventure gamers who want a macabre story to explore. “The thing that really makes The Padre stand out to me is the puzzles,” concluded Patrick at the end of our chat. “It’s the little touches … like the knight looking at you when you walk away. It’s the tongue on the woman in the painting coming out. It’s that ghost that hangs himself.” Consider this one highly recommended for fans of the genre, with an active, helpful community around the game as well. And maybe, if we’re really lucky, we’ll see Patrick Hickey Jr. in another chapter of Padre’s story – whether as a prequel, a DLC, or maybe even a ghostly voice from beyond the grave.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Art/Atmosphere
  • Great Voice Acting
  • Interesting Story & Lore
  • Satisfying Puzzles
  • Retro Goodness
  • True to the Genre

Cons:

  • Fixed Cameras Can Be Frustrating
  • Controls Can Feel Clunky (Especially in Combat)
  • Early Access (Potential Pro?)

Lori May gives The Padre a Drastik Measure of 8 out of 10 (80).

The Padre is available on Steam for $14.99 USD.