Your heart is racing, adrenaline is pumping, all you can hear is yourself gasping for breath as you run for your life from an axe wielding maniac… Sounds like the latest big screen slasher flick, but it’s actually an immersive video/puzzle game from the fine folks at BulkyPix.
In April of 2009, BulkyPix released the original Hysteria Project. If you are unfamiliar with the title, it was a creepy, slasher choose your own adventure style game, reminiscent of those old VHS tape games (yes I’m dating myself). The sequel, Hysteria Project 2, improves upon the original in just about every way, including a vastly increased and varied interactive component. Using a cool mix of interactive portions and watching video clips, you must help the game’s protagonist escape from an axe-wielding robed figure out for blood.
Instead of just the simple path selection and the occasional tapping of marked spots on the screen that the original title offered, Hysteria Project 2 challenges players with a nice selection of puzzles, tilting, swiping, logic and more, which do a good job of really immersing the player into the game. At times, perhaps there is even a little to much immersion. By which I mean that often you are thrown into a puzzle segment without any instruction whatsoever, only to find yourself quickly and decisively killed over and over and over again. Sure being hacked to death while you try to quickly figure out what is going on may add to the realism, but instructions would have (at times) made this a much less frustrating game. Fortunately some of the puzzles offer a bit of assistance on the death screen to help you with future attempts, but others retain their vagueness through death after death after death. In an attempt to resolve this, BulkyPix has recently released the following walkthrough, but I would have preferred to see some basic instructions at the start of each interactive section, in the subtitles perhaps, so that those who didn’t want them could skip them.
The production values in the game are top-notch and given the relative simplicity of the concept, BulkyPix has pulled of some really neat visual effects, like one instance where you are peaking around the corner or through closing doors at the action unfolding via an embedded video clip.
Overall, Hysteria Project 2 is an experience unlike most of the offerings on the App Store. It is fun, albeit a bit brief, and challenging (although this is mostly due to the lack of in-game instructions). Fans of the original Hysteria Project, which is currently free, will definitely want to pick this up, as will horror fans in general. Kudos to BulkyPix for really expanding and improving upon their original creepy and creative concept!. Hysteria Project 2 is currently available in separate iPhone and iiPad releases for $1.99 each.