Hellraid: The Escape is a gloopy pustule of a game. Every corner drips with some un-mentionable substance and every trap or trick ends in your untimely and painful death.
It's never subtle when it comes to the horrific, and because of that it fails to build any sort of atmosphere of dread or suspense. Everything is always awful, rusty, and splattered with blood that probably came from you.
In spite of that though it's still a reasonably interesting first person-puzzler. Comparisons to the superlative The Room will do it no favours, but if you're looking for an endlessly grimy trudge through entrail-filled dungeons, there's enough here to recommend.Dirty walls
You play a tortured and tormented soul who has to break his way out of a series of locked rooms. There are various sharp-edged traps between you and that goal though, and a good deal of puzzles as well.
None of the challenges you're set are particularly original or taxing. Shift mirrors to fire a laser at a gem, throw rocks to pull a switch, turn a key to unlock a chest. Objects you can interact with sparkle with a golden aura. Tap on them to twist, pull, or poke.
The whole game is painted in dingy brown hues. It looks pretty impressive, but there's little variety. Corpses dangle from chains, rats and giant spiders scurry around, and you meander through it all pretty much oblivious.
A floating joystick controls your movement, and you can move your head around by swiping on the screen. An inventory button on the left of the screen lets you whip out the objects you collect and combine them with other things.Don't touch that
The one spark of real ingenuity the game shows stems from the bad guys. You can't hurt them, so you need to figure out how to kill them in other ways. It's pretty satisfying to solve a puzzle that leads to a giant log crushing a skeleton.
The rest of the game sort of rolls by in a grumpy stumble. Spikes descend from the ceiling, pointy things twang out of the walls, and a series of mysterious letters tell a story of wizards and unnatural powers.
It's not the most entertaining experience you can have on your iPad or iPhone, but it's polished and preened and does its best to try and turn hackneyed medieval torture instruments into something a bit more frightening.
But it's frustrating at times. Flicking objects around is a fiddly business, there's a bit of back-tracking here and there, and the aura of overwhelming misery starts to grate after about a couple of minutes.Dark times
Hellraid: The Escape has its moments, and if you're looking forward to the console game it accompanies it might tide you over until its release.
But its brash when it should be sinister, trying to shock with gore rather than unsettle with setting and atmosphere.
As first-person puzzlers go it's a blunt object thudding over and over again into a pile of squelchy flesh-bits and eyeballs. But it's well enough put together that you'll probably enjoy the time you spend in its schlocky company.
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