Developer: Igor Migun
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 0.5
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

The story in Mental Hospital: Eastern Bloc II starts with the mysterious death of the main character’s friend, which players are tasked with solving. The protagonist’s purpose is to find the evidence that will avenge his fallen friend and get out of there as fast as possible. The hospital is packed with dark, creepy surroundings and disappearing visions of what appear to be an angry bunch of psycho zombies. Of course, some of the zombies don’t disappear, but try to eat the player’s brains instead. Good-looking visuals are a must for this kind of game to work, and in this case, Mental Hospital delivers quite well.

IMG_0578So, at first, the game looks great. A chilling atmosphere envelops every scene, with dark rooms, bloody evidence of pretty serious human maltreatment and torture, and sound effects that complete the picture. At any given point, the player will hear voices, screams, evil growls, and frantic movements. It’s what horror games are all about – right?

Well, the problem with Eastern Bloc II arises when the sense of unrest is replaced with a rather annoying sense of frustration. The controls didn’t bother me too much at first, but the further in one goes, the clumsier those controls start to feel. Dragging on the right side of the screen will move the camera, but if I accidentally place my thumb on the attack button when I actually just want to turn the player’s head, I waste precious bullets or start to thrust the flashlight in every direction like a crazy person. That’s a problem, because the attack button is placed right where other games have already taught us to tap in order to turn.

On top of that, moving to the precise spot where one has to be in order to open doors or interact with items is just too meticulous. I have to basically drive my characters right into a drawer, then steer his head to that narrow area in which the interaction button finally appears. For a game that’s mostly about escaping an evil, dangerous place, it sure doesn’t offer players a lot of ways to move fast.

IMG_0581Which brings me to problem number 2: the player can’t run. Or at the very least, I haven’t yet figured out a way to do it. When I have evil psycho monsters coming at me and no gun to defend myself with, I tend to think that I wouldn’t waste time by tip-toeing around like I hope he hasn’t seen me yet.

In the end, Mental Hospital: Eastern Bloc II is particularly suited for horror fans looking for a challenge and who don’t mind the occasional frustration. As far as everyone else is concerned, let’s just say it’s decent (and that is a pretty ironic term to describe a horror game).

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