There’s a movie out right now in which Edgar Allen Poe fights crime. Don’t be that person who sees a movie in which Edgar Allen Poe fights crime. Spend your time and money reading some of Poe’s stories, instead. They’re often brilliantly told and severely messed up and great for scaring the kids (or yourself) before bedtime…especially with Play Creatividad’s unfortunately named iPoe – The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allen Poe Collection.
What is it?
It’s atmosphere, really. Reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe is already frightening enough, but imagine doing it with chilling sound effects and music in the background. With startle scares. With creepy illustrations to set the mood.
iPoe gives you everything you need for a good reading of psychological horror, whether you’re reading to yourself or to others.
How does it work?
Upon launching iPoe, you’re presented with a title screen that allows you to select one of the three included stories: The Oval Portrait, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death. I assume that more will be added—either via updates or in-app purchases—considering the high profile titles that are missing here.
The app also contains a biography of Poe and a collection of his sketches. The text of the stories is available in English, Spanish and French.
But the good stuff comes in the stories themselves, which are presented as text on worn paper with some slight animations and interactivity (you get to dismember the corpse!).
The stories are illustrated by David Garcia Forés in a manner that’s almost as creepy as the words themselves. And although I’m a reader, not a fighter, I totally get now how that old dude’s eye could drive someone to murder.
If interactivity isn’t your thing, no worries. You don’t need to spend too much time with flashlights and photos, and can focus solely on reading the text along with the background music and timed sound effects (I hope that beating is coming from your iPad and not from your own floorboards). The touch interface can be a bit picky, as it seems you have to first tap the screen in order to then swipe it turn the page, which is then delayed a bit. This doesn’t interfere with the overall experience, however.
Is it contagious?
It is if you like a good story. Including only three of Poe’s stories—two of which are lesser known but still pretty good—seems kind of slight, but hopefully more are on the way.
iPoe works not because of the interactivity, but because of how well the entire package is presented. The artwork and audio come together very well to enhance the psychological horror of Poe’s tales, not to detract from it, and they do a fantastic job of presenting the period in which they’re set.
This is Poe the way he should be presented to new audiences: haunting, cautionary, and brilliant.