I love House M.D., and have been following the antics of Dr. Gregory House from the start. Now a game featuring the current season 6 cast has entered the App Store. I expected some sort of Trauma Center or Amateur Surgeon game cutting the innards out of unsuspecting (unconscious) patients. But House M.D. the game focuses on logical diagnostics instead.
As Dr House you have to diagnose the current patient, and you have your team to help you. The team members are there to find clues to the puzzles, and you have to assign them to going on home visits, do experimental surgery or work in the lab. Once done you can reassign them, and get more and more clues.
To complete a diagnosis you have to isolate the correct symptoms by removing the faulty ones. The correct and the wrong symptoms share the same box, and you have to make sure all boxes only contain one symptom each. Some heavy logical reasoning is demanded to solve the cases. The clues given can for example state that the red symptom should be in a blue box. In that case you can remove all other symptoms in the blue box except the red symptom. Then you might get a clue saying that two steps to the right of the red symptom there is a green flash symptom. New clues are constantly added when the team is out working, and you have to flick through the clue notepad to get an overview. You also get the odd “she is crashing”, “he is loosing blood” making the game feel quite hectic.
There are four levels of difficulty, and when you start the game you get a good tutorial by Dr Wilson showing you the ropes. Initially it took me some time to understand that I was going to think instead of doing precision surgery. Once I figured it out I managed to beat all four levels of difficulty with A ratings within 20 minutes. The cases are random but still it felt wrong to be able to complete the hard level in my first sitting. Perhaps I am too clever? Or probably not as the kind of logic demanded is the kind I am usually scoring low on at IQ-tests.
The show is nicely implemented in the game with Thirteen giving you praise after a successful diagnosis. Wilson is the perfect mentor to introduce you to the game. I would have liked to have a load of cases with progressing level of difficulty instead of random puzzle cases.
Graphics are ok with some nice shots from the show but there could have been so much more done with the license. Why not use some actual video footage instead of only stills? Images feel strangely copied and pasted in a clumsy manner, for example the menu image of Dr House looks jagged and rushed. Some of the clues and texts are quite small, and it can strain my eyes when played for more than 15 minutes.
The worst implementation of the show is by far the audio commentary by Dr House. It comes in with a bit of static around it, and it is much louder than the music. It feels a bit like a school project I did as a kid when I made my first Powerpoint presentation. The music is ok but seems to come and go however is wants, and fade away due to audio commentary. You can use your own playlists, which I really like.
The core logical gameplay is really good, but sadly the implementation of the House M.D. show is poor. Slapping an extra two bucks on the game just for the House M.D. name is not worth it at all. I would rather have the core gameplay without House and his team or at least make sure it feels like a polished product.
I cannot recommend House M.D. to the casual gamer looking for a quick fix but rather the game is for the thinker who wants to test some logical reasoning skills. Gamelife is secured by 40 achievements and leaderboards OpenFeint, and you can diagnose your Facebook friends.
I enjoyed the game but I am really hesitant to play it again due to the lack of cases to do, and annoying audio commentaries by Hugh Laurie. As logical reasoning games go it is a breath of fresh air to have a game not drawn on graph paper. You don’t have to be a fan of the show to play the game, but it helps if you know anything about the attitude of Dr. Gregory House as he is quite an angry man. Remarks like the following might strike you as offensive otherwise House: “Forget the bypass. Treat Jane Doe like a fat girl.”
House M.D. $2.99
Seller: Hands-On Mobile