When people refer to dementia, it’s usually a very bad thing. “Oh no, she’s got dementia!” In this case, however, Dementia means a horror iOS game, not the mental illness. But, after playing Dementia will players wish they had the real thing, or will we be glad to remember the experience?
If you just pull the game open and start playing, it’s not clear what you’re supposed to be doing. There’s no tutorial, no instructions. Flippin’ nothing. You get dropped inside a house and that’s that. There is one note on the door saying good luck with your investigation and that the house is dangerous. Okay. You have to learn more about the back-story on iTunes if you really want to know. Apparently, the player is a guy with supernatural powers whose purpose in life is to study ghosts and demons… you’d think that this means you’re going to walk around looking for clues to uncover ghosts and demons, but, in a Shyamalan-inspired twist, you don’t. In fact, you don’t do much of anything.
You’ll walk around the house, looking for something to interact with, but you’re going to come up empty handed. There are no objects to collect, no keys to find, and no doors to open. All you can do is move and look around (and neither one work very well). Why can’t players interact with anything? Who knows! To be fair, there is a button that will switch the view from normal to a special Dementia-mode to allow you to see ghosts… a.k.a mostly textureless dudes who don’t do anything and who you pass right through like a bad glitch. Hard to investigate things when there’s nowhere to go and nothing to interact with.
Finding the ghosts will open a few more hallways for exploration, but without any interaction to be had it’s lacking in fun. Pretty much the only good thing about Dementia would be the sound effects; there are creaky footsteps, spectral laughter, and ominous chanting, but, though these help develop the setting initially, the sound effects are used so frequently they quickly become less scary and more annoying. The graphics are basic, but would be occasionally serviceable were it not for the prevalent textural tearing.
With only two joysticks to work with, it seems like it’d be fairly simple to maneuver movement, but even those are sluggish and limited. You can’t look down! Good gravy, all you want to do is look down at things on the floor and you can’t. The controls are also a bit unresponsive, taking a few seconds for the joysticks to appear after placing your fingers on the screen.
There are four chapters available to explore, but only masochists would make it far enough to find that out. Perhaps after it’s updated a bit, Dementia will become a somewhat playable horror game, but, as it is right now, not even the most diehard horror fan should play this busted pile of programming.