I have been fond of the whole ‘found phone’ genre of games ever since I played SIMULACRA on the Nintendo Switch, so Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins appealed to me from the get-go. The fact that the developer behind SIMULACRA also worked on this game gave me faith that it was going to be an engaging adventure, whilst knowing it featured the best villains from the Doctor Who universe (Daleks and Cybermen? Pffft…) had me even more intrigued to play.
I’m happy to report that it’s a whole lot of fun too, with the disturbing journey through another man’s mobile phone sure to appeal to Whovians worldwide.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Much like other titles in the genre, Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins sees the player discovering a mobile phone and trawling through it to find information. Seems an invasion of privacy, right? Well, it turns out that this phone holds all of the clues to uncovering a missing person, with ex-UNIT scientist Petronella Osgood helping you sleuth your way through its contents to unravel the mystery.
The word ‘UNIT’ and the name Petronella Osgood may be unfamiliar to those who don’t watch the Doctor Who series, as will a lot of the things that happen in the game. Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins follows on directly from the episode ‘Blink’, which actually aired all the way back in 2007. I won’t go into too much depth about that episode, but I will mention that it featured TERRIFYING statues known as Weeping Angels. Whilst they might seem harmless (if not a little creepy) at first glance, they have the power to send you back in time and feed off your energy if you blink their way. So yeah, they’re not to be trifled with.
Whilst Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins will certainly appeal to fans of the series the most, it’s certainly possible to enjoy the game without knowing anything about it. Sure, some of its finer details might go over your head and it’s certainly an excellent accompanying piece to the episode, but there’s enough intrigue to be found in the story and gameplay for it to remain engaging for those who are clueless about the Doctor’s famed adventures.
“The simple gameplay mechanics of going through a phone lend themselves perfectly to the mystery, whilst some brilliant writing and plenty of surprising moments (including some jump scares which I won’t spoil here) really capture the vibe of the original episode perfectly.”
As far as gameplay is concerned, everything in Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins takes place on a smartphone. You’ll look through messages, pictures, apps, and so forth as a means to uncover any details you can find, all whilst solving small puzzles that will require a bit of detective work. You’ll interact with Patronella on a regular basis too, sharing information and making dialogue choices as you push the story forward.
Nothing in the game feels overly complex, but that lends itself well to the ‘found phone’ setup. You’ll genuinely feel like you’re trawling through another person’s phone and discovering their secrets, whilst the fact that some information is conveniently locked-off at first adds a satisfying sense of progress to the game. It ensures that players aren’t overwhelmed with information from the get-go, which streamlines the experience and makes sure you always know where to look.
It might not sound all that exciting on paper, but it genuinely makes for a really neat experience. The simple gameplay mechanics of going through a phone lend themselves perfectly to the mystery, whilst some brilliant writing and plenty of surprising moments (including some jump scares which I won’t spoil here) really capture the vibe of the original episode perfectly. It can be really dark and creepy at times, but what else would you expect from the Weeping Angels?
It’s worth mentioning that it’s a short game, with my playthrough taking just over an hour to complete. Whilst there are plenty of easter eggs and nods to the series to be seen, it hasn’t really got much replayability either – it certainly felt like a ‘one and done’ experience. It makes the game feel a little bit pricey at £9.99 then, especially since you can grab it for £3.49 on your mobile phone.
Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins Summary
Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is a great ‘found phone’ experience that captures the eerie vibe of Doctor Who’s ‘Blink’ episode perfectly. I was completely invested in the investigation from the very start, whilst the intuitive use of a phone and its contents added an extra sense of immersion and believability to the experience. This is definitely a game that die-hard Whovians won’t want to miss out on, though newbies to the series will probably enjoy its mystery too.
– An intuitive and original ‘found phone’ adventure
– Plenty of nods to the series for Whovians to appreciate
– The Weeping Angels are bloody terrifying
– A bit pricey given the short length
Developer: Kaigan Games
Publisher: Maze Theory
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC