As someone who uses the Wii primarily for sports or fitness games, I thought it would be fun to try out something a little different. The Calling is a Japanese first person horror/adventure game that relies on creepiness over gore. In The Calling you play as four different characters at different times. The game begins with curious Web surfers entering a chat room while looking for a website called “The Black Page.” All they find is a blank black page and the names of other curious web-surfers. Just when it seems as though there is no more to the webpage, four of the chatters' phones begin to ring.
Game play begins with the first character waking up in an old house. This level is more of a prologue and provides the basics for game play. The player learns how to use the controllers. The nunchuck is used for movement, while the Wii remote works as a cell phone and a wand for fending off attacking spirits. The first level is fairly short and easy to get through. There is a fear level monitor that measures the level of terror each character is experiencing. Too much terror and the game is over.
The Calling is suitably eerie, particularly the phone calls, which actually come out of the Wii remote speaker and not through the television. The spirits are reminiscent of characters seen in The Ring and The Grudge. This game is definitely full of horror clichés. The story involves a man who became a doll maker after the death of his only child and three dead teenage girls. Creepy dolls are a staple of horror, and so are restless spirits of dead children (or teenagers). However, after a few ghosts have jumped in your face, waving the remote around as the only means of fending them off becomes a bit tiresome.
My biggest problem with the game was that it was not very intuitive. For example, in the first post-prologue level my character woke up in the music room of a school. After fooling around with some of the instruments, I wandered into the hallway and almost immediately found a ringing cell phone. A voice told me it was coming to find me to get its cell phone back. As I walked further the phone would occasionally ring and an unsettling voice would tell me she was getting closer. I thought something would happen quickly. It didn’t. I wandered the halls aimlessly opening up every locker and door I could find. The phone calls stopped and I had to keep walking in circles until I figured out what to do. Every door led to nothing very interesting, which was a disappointment. How many times to I have to look at cleaning supplies? They were behind almost every door. Kind of boring.
The best parts of the game are the phones. It was always a bit unsettling when a voice came out of the remote speaker. Also the phone could be used to take pictures and make calls. The prologue level was probably the most fun because it had the fastest pace. The different locations were somewhat intriguing. The characters find themselves in a school, hospital, hair salon, and internet café, in addition to the house at the beginning. But, in the end the game is too repetitive. Fighting off the spirits was always the same, and there just wasn’t enough going on to make it as exciting as it could have been.
The Calling requires the Wii remote and a nunchuk for play.
The Calling is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence.