Hysteria-Project-2---iOS-Review Hysteria Project 2 - iOS Review

   24/01/2011 at 10:58       Drew Bower       2 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Hysteria 2 Review, Supernatural, Spooky, Bulky Pix

Back in April 2009 when our handsome Phil May reviewed the first episode of Hysteria Project, he remarked that it was a surprise no-one else had attempted a FMV interactive game on iOS before. He also pondered when Bulky Pix would deliver the second episode and if other developers would follow suit with their own video based offerings. Well, quite some time has passed since then and as the release of Episode 2 approaches on 27 January 2011, there still hasn’t been the expected influx of like minded games.

Episode 2 kicks off in similar circumstances to episode 1. Namely, flat on your back with your arms restrained. Your surroundings appear to be a room in some sort of research facility. Inside the room beside you is a female researcher who is intent on jabbing a needle into you. Noises occur from outside and the researcher makes a bolt for it advising you to do likewise.

Here marks the first major difference between episode 1 and 2. In the first game, choices were presented in a ‘choose your own adventure’ type manor. In episode 2, the researcher’s voice is your guide (so headphones are highly recommended!) and it’s up to you to find your way around. These sections are marked by the black borders at the top and bottom of the screen disappearing. When this happens, you touch the screen or swipe across it depending on what is required to progress. Thus the first motions you must make are tapping your wrist shackles and breaking free.

Often the video will transform into a graphical version of your surroundings. This allows 360 º movements as you plan your next move. Finally, graphics sometimes overlay the video such as when hiding inside a cupboard and you need to keep the doors slightly ajar so as you can see out.

These ideas certainly improve over the originals ‘go left or go right’ options and really add to the tension as you quickly scan your surroundings looking for escape or safety.

Quick-time events are still very much included too. Again, a big difference from the original comes with much tighter allowances for slow reactions. You really have to concentrate and react instantly to onscreen prompts lest insta-death be your outcome.

There are a few annoying moments – especially when trying to work out a puzzle and there’s no real clue as to how it works. Puzzles such as entering a security door code with the last letter/number missing are a good example. It’s supposed to add to the tension – and it does the first couple of times. But by the time you’ve seen the death scene umpteen times, it becomes less frightening and simply frustrating. This can actually be laid at most of the set pieces as repeated death is never too far away.

The game is set out in chapters with each chapter having a handful of checkpoints. Whenever you die, you pretty much start off at the point you died. However some parts insist on you completing a small preceding section every time. This can become tiresome and again does detract somewhat from the feeling of fear. One other thing to point out is that if you power down your phone/iPod or remove it from the multitasking, then you can only resume from the beginning of a chapter. So something to keep in mind if you’ve completed a tricky section mid way through and don’t want to attempt it again!

It shouldn’t take much more than an hour or so to rattle through the episode, but whilst it lasts there is plenty of entertainment to be had. The story and acting isn’t quite Hollywood blockbuster standard (think Blair Witch ‘Handycam’ style) but it is surprisingly well produced. For genuinely further developing the FMV interactive game genre, Bulky Pix should be applauded. And quite simply for something different to the usual Angry Birds/Cut the Rope style games; it’s definitely one to check out.

It will be interesting to see how Bulky Pix develop episode 3, be it going back to the choices of episode one, the ‘think for yourself’ approach of episode two or perhaps a mix of both. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait 18 months to find out!

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