Just Like Reading A Book BASED ON DEMO
I imagine this game must have been quite something in its day (Jan 2009). The production values are great. The graphics are adequate even by today’s standards. The gameplay is a classic example of the way HO games used to be played. Dated, yes, but appealing all the same.
The one thing that will really put a lot of people off, but which I find endearing, (partly because no developer would be brave enough to do it these days) is the extensive prologue and subsequent instalments of the story. The story is told by a diary, each line appearing at about reading pace. There is of course no voiceover, and after the intro cut scene (excellent comic graphics), all the action is narrated threw this method. During each chapter thereafter there is also several pages of story that take longer to read sometimes than the chapter takes to play.
But it is a fine story. A traveller is involved in a car accident and ventures down the road to a hotel in search of assistance. When he gets there the place is deserted. The more he looks around, the more he discovers mysterious and ominous surroundings, strange phenomena and terrifying screams. This is the stuff of the diary. The game itself is pure HO, so you must read this to get any sense of progress.
Each level has a number of mini-games you must complete in order to move on. These include puzzles like untangle ropes and a variety of arcade-like mini-games. Within the demo, these are not too difficult, but I anticipate a time when they will be. Which makes the fact that there is no skip for some of them, and that everything is timed, daunting.
The increasing number of ‘rooms’ (HO scenes) in each level require you to find an ever increasing numbers of items from a list, as well as some bonus items that get you power ups such as more time. You get five hints per level.
My one major criticism is that the background for the listed items is too ‘busy’, making it difficult to read the words.
This game is certainly not for everyone. Many would actively loathe it. But if you’re feeling nostalgic for the way it used to be, when HOGs were as challenging and high stress as any other casual game, then this could well be your thing. It is also fun to see how this series started and how it evolved to what we love now.
However, unless you're an antique collector, ...I Don't Recommend This Game!