hys•te•ri•a [noun]… exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, esp. among a group of people
So, does the Hysteria project live up to this dictionary description… well, yes and no!
Don’t get me wrong, this game is pretty damn spooky, it even made me jump… and that’s pretty hard to do. I played this with the wife beside me just before bed time, and she asked me to turn it off because she didn’t want to have nightmares… that and the fact that she’d rather me pay her more attention than I’m giving my iPhone!
So, yeah it kinda does stir up exaggerated emotion, but I wouldn’t say it caused uncontrollable excitement.
Bulky Pix have created a first for iPhone with Hysteria, an interactive horror/slasher movie experience. I suppose if there was one game you could compare it to, then it’s Soul Trapper for iPhone, an audio adventure which we reviewed here. In Hysteria though, the game is presented completely using real video footage and actors. You come-to in an old shack, bound and gagged in the middle of nowhere. First things first, you must escape, and to do this the game gives you two options to choose from [I won't reveal any spoilers]. Which ever you choose is then played out as one of two possible outcomes. The game continues in this manner, and sometimes gives you a visual clue to which option you should take… other times it’s very much a case of trail and error. It saves your progress at certain points in the game, so if you fail, you don’t have to start from the very beginning. As well as path decisions, there are also some quick time events, requiring you tap an icon at the right moment to advance the story, react to slowly and it’s a bloody axe on the end of your noggin for you!
The story is pretty frightening at times, no thanks in part from the hooded character stalking you through the woods… and it recalls nightmares, from when I was a kid, of attempting to run away from a slow movie monster, only to find you are running nowhere… fast. However, the game is short… just as you start getting into to it, you are treated to a ‘to be continued’ and leaves you on a bit of a cliff hanger. I can understand that making a game this way with multiple paths to film, is very time consuming, but on the other hand I would have preferred they released it later with more content. One hopes that Bulky Pix have already begun part 2, and are not waiting to see how part 1 does first. Which would be unfair on early adopters. Right now the game, even after a few game over screens will last only an hour or so.
Presentation and Graphics
The whole game has a great horror style to it from the title screen to the menu’s. But it’s a the Blair Witch style film sequences and special effects that steal the show.
Almost scarier than the visuals, best heard through headphones… but I recommend you listen and play in a well lit area! Certainly not in dark woods!
This being an interactive movie, you cannot expect a lot of hands on action. I would have liked to see more interaction or problem solving mini games to advance the story, instead of some of the hand holding clues. In fact a dice rolling dynamic would have been a fun addition.
It’s pretty short, and really only starts to get going towards the end… leaving you wanting more.
If you want a quick fright then this game delivers, but if you were hoping for a deep interactive experience then this first part of Hysteria only scratches the surface… at $1.99 it’s good value but your decision to pick this up should really depend on the price point and how frequent the following parts will be. Because it could get expensive to see the game through to the end.