Version Reviewed: 1.05
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini 2
Replay Value Rating:
If Halloween is your thing - not for the candy, but the symbolism - or you just like the idea of things jumping out at you, the aptly titled Mental Hospital III might be for you.
The storyline is merely a vehicle for the gameplay: special forces, an innocent videographer, and psychiatric hospitals that conduct secret experiments. Toss in the automobile malfunctioning and bad weather and we have all the necessary components for a horror classic.
The gameplay is taken in first-person style and uses simple controls. Most of the screen serves as eye-view, and the virtual joystick on the left controls movement. Swiping on the screen allows the player to pivot in either direction and to intuitively look up or down. There's also a run button (telling), and a button to toggle night-time vision.
The idea is to navigate out of the forsaken place alive. Without giving too much away it means collecting information, using collected tools to solve mini-puzzles, avoiding clear dangers like elevator shafts, and knowing when to hide or when to make like Ben Johnson and run away fast.
When it comes to spooky, Mental Hospital III delivers; it's immersive in its desolation. One goes in expecting a prohibitive environment, and that element underscores the entire experience. Behind every door, every corner, and every shadow, one just expects something bad. The enduring suspense is perfect for the masochist in all of us. The artwork is dark and eerie, and the developer doesn't scrimp on gory effects. From the first scene and on, players are greeted by old blood, horrifically shriveled bodies, and rooms that seemingly compete with each other for the title of most destroyed. Anything and everything is fair game when it comes to creating fear; at the risk of spoiling the fun, be on the look for the limbs attached to the examination table - with the torso missing.
In the end, the straightforward premise and intuitive concept mostly overcome the little things I would have preferred, like major weaponry and a map of sorts. Mental Hospital III's biggest triumph? Getting someone like me who enjoys (endures?) getting his hair done by his daughters to actually engage in a horror game. Not bad.