A little over half a year since the release of Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD, Glitch Games has returned with the follow-up, Forever Lost: Epsiode 2 HD. Has this series evolved from its Flash game-like beginnings? Or has Glitch Games regressed and lost a fan forever?

The short of it is that yes, Forever Lost: Episode 2 HD is a hefty improvement over the first game. The groundwork was laid in Episode 1 and Glitch Games simply built on what they had and made everything better. Episode 2 has better graphics, longer gameplay and an infinitely more interesting story that gets better as you delve deeper into the mystery.

If you're a fan of locked-room games, or have played Episode 1, then you know exactly what to expect when loading up Forever Lost: Episode 2. Since this is a review of a sequel, I'm going to go ahead and assume that you've triumphed over the first game. If you haven't, just consider this whole review a big, stinkin' spoiler and play the first game before coming back. Trust me, it's definitely worth playing.

When we last left off, we had just escaped from a facility that resembled a hospital. After solving many puzzles, the first of which had us breaking out of a locked room, we explored until we found many different tools and clues that would help us piece together the mystery surrounding our circumstances. The biggest question remains: Who is doing this to us and why?

Unfortunately, each puzzle we solve only begets more questions and tosses us further into the mystery. We come out of the facility to find a house called Hawthorne Manor. Inside, more puzzles and riddles await our attention.

The gameplay remains largely the same. You'll be tasked with hunting down objects in order to complete puzzles, finding keys that unlock doors and combining different doodads in an attempt to obtain important items. The difference in Episode 2 is that the puzzles are deeper, more plentiful and require a lot of thought to solve.

Thankfully, you can take pictures using the in-game camera, getting rid of the need to backtrack endlessly between two locations. Unless you have an incredible memory, you'll be relying on the in-game camera in order to bring up solutions that you might have stumbled across or clues that could play a role in solving different riddles.

The amount of objects you can pick up and lug around with you has also increased. At any given moment, you might have 12 items at your disposal. You'll use these items to help get further in the story, usually to get rid of an obstacle in your way. For example, a block of ice in a freezer holds an object at its center. In your travels, you'll come across an ice pick. You'll then use that ice pick to shatter the ice and then use the object encased within to help open up another path for you later on. 

It can get a little confusing, remembering which clues might help you solve different puzzles, but the game is equipped with a hint system that lets you know how to use each object and whether or not you should take a picture of certain clues. If you ever get stuck, there's no shame in getting a hint or a two to help keep the ball rolling. There are 177 hints in total, meaning there are at least 177 puzzles in the game, so be prepared to put your thinking caps on.

It's nice to see that Glitch Games has improved the presentation a lot since the first game in the series. The graphics are a lot crisper in the HD version and no longer make the game look like a relic from the heyday of the Flash games era. Lighting effects are lot cooler now and add to the creepy atmosphere inherent throughout the adventure. The music is as moody and haunting as ever. There were more than a few occasions in which I was truly freaked out because of some awesome sound effect coupled with the ambient tunes.

The mystery also deepens as new characters are introduced, though never shown. We learn about a woman named Alice and a man named Jason. And, since I don't want to spoil anything, that's all I'll say about the game's story. Rest assured that it gets more than a little creepy.

The only mark against this game is some lag when switching environments. One puzzle requires you to make it to another part of the Manor in under seven seconds, but the lag during the transitions can work against you. Also, there comes a point when you're overburdened with puzzles to solve and can get lost in trying to solve each one while getting information and clues that can complete other puzzles. It can get a little overwhelming.

With all said, Glitch Games has definitely outdone themselves with this second entry to the Forever Lost series. If you're a fan of mysteries and locked-room games, this one's definitely for you. There's a lot to do and it could take you a while to solve everything. But there's something about the game that just keeps you enraptured and wanting to chug along, despite the fact that you might have prior obligations. It's a good thing you can get it for the iPhone and discreetly play wherever you are!

App Store Link: Forever Lost: Episode 2 HD for iPhone & iPad | By Glitch Games Ltd | Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0 | 434 MB | Rating 9+

8.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating