Wednesday 23 January 2019

Review: The Inpatient is in need of more treatment

The Inpatient (PSVR)


Age: 18+

The Inpatient
The Inpatient
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

The last horrorfest from the Supermassive studio was a masterful riff on teen slasher flicks. Until Dawn's mix of Hollywood royalty (Hayden Panettiere and Rami Malek) and knowing twists on genre conventions won it a Bafta for Best Original Property.

The Inpatient appears to be a lower-budget prequel to bulk out Sony's barren PSVR release schedule. There's no little craft at work here from Supermassive, but the clichéd setting of a creepy asylum immediately puts it at a disadvantage.

VR proves an ideal environment for horror and there's a real sense of dread as you wander the unsettling corridors. But a handful of jump scares notwithstanding, it quickly becomes obvious there's less to The Inpatient than meets the eye. It lacks puzzles or meaningful interaction and feels more like an extended trailer.

Perhaps sizeable chunks were cut at a late stage but the overriding sensation is a slight incoherence, exacerbated by a brief running time of maybe four hours. Supermassive makes much of the Butterfly Effect, in which your decisions create new endings, but it's doubtful whether you'd bother to return after a first playthrough.

LocoRoco 2 Remastered

(PS4) ★★★★

Age: 3+

Some of us oldies remember the original instalments in this irrepressibly cheery PSP handheld series from the late Noughties. Not so much because of the jaunty blobs rolling through dayglo visuals, but more because of the eminently hummable earworms on its soundtrack.

LR2 Remastered upgrades the graphics to crisp modern standards (except for the cut-scenes, which are still coarsely rendered for the PSP's screen). But the original's motion control is curiously absent, a shame because part of LocoRoco's bliss stems from tilting the landscape to help the blobs navigate the terrain.

The gameplay holds up well a decade on. But it would take a heart of stone not to be melted by the blobs' tunes, upbeat morsels of joy composed seemingly of children singing gibberish.

Chaos on Deponia

(XO/PS4) ★★★ 

Age: 12+

Devotees of the point'n'click genre are poorly served on console, which might tempt players to investigate this port of a six-year-old PC adventure. Produced by German specialists Daedalic and set in the junk-filled universe of Deponia, it pinches motifs and a love of absurd detail from the likes of Terry Pratchett.

But while the comedic dialogue is sporadically entertaining, the central character of Rufus comes off as instantly dislikeable, more a boorish loudmouth than a lovable rogue who could potentially worm his way into our hearts.

Still, there are plenty of knotty puzzles that err (mostly) on the side of logic and the remainder of the cast compensate somewhat for the lead's lack of charisma.

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