As John Ward, the player must travel through a disorienting forest of randomized trees and rocks, searching for the Martin home tucked deep in the woods. Ward carries with him a crucifix, which can be used to dispel whatever evils lurk beyond the trees. The game consists mostly of wandering about a dark forest, drawn to replicate the graphics of classic Apple II games like The Oregon Trail. The player must collect notes scattered throughout the forest to learn of the events that have brought John Ward into these woods, while utilizing John's crucifix to dispel attacks from a creature that periodically attempts to kill him.
The forest in which much of the game is set is randomized each time the player traverses to a new screen. Special locations, identifiable by specific landmarks (which often contain notes) are never randomized. These locations will always look the same and be located in the same positions, despite their surrounding areas changing appearance upon each visit. Traversing to the edge of the environment will loop the player around to the opposite side. A map detailing the game environment can be seen to the left.
One year ago, priests John Ward and Father Allred visited the Martin house to conduct an exorcism on the Martins' daughter, Amy. The exorcism proved fatal, with John and Amy being the only survivors.
On the failed exorcism's anniversary, John returns to Snake Meadow Hill Road to find the Martin house—and Amy with it—so that he may conduct the rite once more and finally finish what he started.
After facing off against Amy in the attic, she throws herself out the window and escapes. Returning downstairs, John discovers a rifle with a single bullet. There are 5 different endings based on what John shoots.
The player can find Amy bleeding out in the woods. Upon shooting her, she will fall, presumably dead. Upon returning to the car, John will drive away, only to be pulled over by a police car. A newspaper clipping shown afterwards details John's arrest for Amy's murder.
"Father and Son" Ending
The player can discover a shack with a mysterious gray man standing outside. Shooting him and returning to the car results in John driving away, only to be ambushed by Michael, who is hiding in the back of his car. A letter shown after details Father Garcia's report on Michael's exorcism.
"The Offering" Ending
The player can discover what appears to be some kind of corpse in the woods surrounded by rocks. Shooting it and returning to the car, John will drive away. Soon, however, figures cloaked in red begin appearing in the background, and John is stopped by the red figures. A letter shown after appears to be written to Amy, written by a man named Gary.
"The Hunter" Ending
The player can discover a deer standing in a clearing in the woods. Shooting it and returning to the car, John will drive away, only to hit a deer as the screen cuts to black. The scene fades back in to John, bloody and mangled, crawling back to his cross, having hit a tree, while being surrounded by deer. Just before he reaches it, a deer rears up and rushes at him. A newspaper article details the crash, stating that the body was horribly mangled.
"When Faith Endures" Ending
If the player returns to the car with the gun still in their hand, the player is ambushed by Michael once they reach it. Upon shooting Michael, he will stumble back onto the road and be run over by a semi-truck. John will then drive away, pondering the events that have just happened and having faith that he did the right thing. A newspaper article then details Sterling's confusion over finding Michael's body, calling it a "chupacabra".
The development of FAITH took approximately three years, beginning in December of 2014. The game went through multiple prototypes, and was originally intended to be a high-fidelity, first-person horror game inspired by the cancelled title Silent Hills. A game in the point-and-click adventure style was also considered before the final design was selected. Development began as a personal challenge for the developer, who questioned whether or not basic graphics could be used to deliver horror.
The 1987 setting was chosen to reflect the era of graphics that the game most closely resembled, as well as for being contemporaneous with the United State's "Satanic Panic," and for being a time without modern internet or cell phones. The game's "cutscenes" were created by rotoscoping over live footage that had been scaled to 192x160 resolution (to mimic that of an Atari 2600), drawn at 15 frames-per-second. Amy Martin's long hair was animated by hand.
Airdorf originally intended for the section of the game set within the Martin house to jump between the initial exorcism of Amy Martin and the game's "present day." This idea was abandoned in favor of making the initial exorcism more ambiguous.
The game's developer has publicly cited multiple films and video games as inspirations for FAITH.
(*Different versions of the game have different notes in them.)