The Agency of Anomalies: Mystic Hospital
(IHOG)2012 review updated after replaying Steam version April, 2019
There are separate sliders for music and sound, plus options for full-screen, wide screen and custom cursor. Choice of Regular or Advanced mode.
Our notebook contains tabs for Goals and Story, plus a separate Top Secret file that will show you patient charts. The notebook also tracks your time in-game, which is used to compete against the (pre-populated) Top Players on the Main Menu.Story:
The opening sequence long, but the voice-over is very well done. In short, the government tries to harness the paranormal activity of a haunted hospital to create the perfect soldier. Of course, things don't go as planned, and now our investigator extraordinaire needs to stop the dimensional vortex that would devastate our world more surely than any war.
Further cutscenes are not as long, and can be rewatched at any time via the Top Secret file next to your notebook.Basic Gameplay:
Using the HINT button during the adventure portion will either tell you that there's nothing to do on that scene, or will highlight the areas that you need to pay attention to. Choose one of the highlighted items, and it will give you an image-solution. No directional hint.
Mini-game instructions are available, and the puzzless can be SKIPPED, but this will add 30 minutes to your in-game time counter.
or fast travel, exits to new locations are not always clear and there is a LOT of to-ing and fro-ing. Hidden Objects:
There are two types of hidden object scenes.
The first is your standard find-by-list with light interaction (items in red need some kind of task before you can collect them). There are more items to find than are listed - 22 for each scene - and each time you find something, a new item will be added until you've found everything. The scenes are not terribly crowded, nor are items tiny or concealed by poor lighting.
The second type gives you items that you must return to the scene. These are lot of fun, as they requires you to really study the scene. Sometimes items will be used in ways that make perfect sense, but that you might not have thought of initially. Sights and Sounds:
The music is nothing outstanding, but nice enough. The sounds of the skip and hint buttons becoming ready to use were pretty irritating, but otherwise the sfx are good.
Sometimes you will have just the background noises, such as the cawing of a bird or the sound of the wind. It's a pleasant effect, and nicely-environmental.
The graphics, on the other hand, are very nice; sometimes beautiful! I love how well the devs took the era into account, both with little comments in our journal and with the care they used in choosing what objects to use in their HOS.Bonus Content:
- 12 in-game achievements
- 20 Collectible Post Cards
- Integrated Strategy Guide (accessible via Menu button)
- Bonus Chapter
- 8 Replayable mini-games
The main storyline wraps up nicely at the end, so we are given a new area of the hospital to explore in the bonus. As opposed to the main game, this chapter is incredibly repetitive in actions. Two of the mini-games are played three times each (one of which is a Simon Says-type game), and we visit the HO scenes at least three times each. I stuck with it for two hours, but even though the strategy guide showed that I was close to the end, I just couldn't finish it. It was mostly finding hidden objects, and not enough adventure to break things up.
HOS are find-by-list only in the bonus chapter.Verdict:
The main game was very interesting, and I enjoyed having a different take on the abandoned hospital theme. Gameplay is nicely varied, and the story is strong without drowning you in things to read. Recommended to IHOG-lovers~