Review by vihena
"The first truly spine-tingling DS horror game"
I originally had no idea that this game even existed until a week before it was released. Upon reading some very short previews of the game, I was quickly sold on the premise, and the game style. I really like adventure games, especially the old-school kind, and really enjoyed games like Phoenix Wright. At the same time, I loved the art style and presentation of Haunting Ground, and have always been a fan of survival horror.
Theresia is probably the first DS horror game to truly bring up suspense and spine-tingling story. Because of the limited technology of the DS, Theresia relies a lot more on the player's imagination, and uses descriptive words that can be described as nothing less than disturbing.
There are two stories in Theresia, the first one must be completed before the second one is available. In the first scenario, you play as a young girl who wakes up in a strange and dark room, with no recollection of who she is, or how she got there. She quickly learns that she must escape as her life is in danger. She gradually recovers her memory throughout the story, and each fragment of memory uncovers something sinister and horrifying.
The presentation of this game is quite good. Considering the small size of the DS screen, it's very difficult to give a sense of morbid, spine-chilling fear in the atmosphere. However, Theresia is able to do this successfully with strong visuals, a matching interface, disturbing dialogue, and eerie music. The presentation and mysterious story have a very heavy "Haunting Ground" and "Rule of Rose" feel to it.
As the official site suggests, the objective is to escape from the confines of this strange and mysterious dungeon-like complex, and being careful not to set off traps that will harm you. The traps are in a way, a double-edged sword. It prevents you from randomly clicking on things or pushing buttons. Unfortunately though, some of the required switches and objects that you must manipulate give no hint as to the correct form of manipulation, and it quickly becomes a frustrating game of trial and error. For example, a panel of switches beckons you to touch it, but which one? You pretty much have to guess, and suffer for it if you are wrong. This isn't really that bad though, since most traps do very little damage to you and does keep you at the edge of your seat.
Later in the game, you obtain items that do allow you to manipulate objects without getting harmed, or to test an object a certain way to see if it is actually safe to manipulate. This introduces a layer of logical thinking to solve puzzles which are unlike most random click-fest adventure games of the past.
Theresia is like a combination of Haunting Ground style environment, with Deja Vu/Shadowgate-like adventure gaming. And unlike most adventure games, punishes you for doing something wrong or stupid. A DS game that will give you a scare is quite rare. Probably the first of its kind, especially with the limited technology a 256x192 sized screen can give. For $30, this is an experience you don't want to miss.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/08
Game Release: Theresia (US, 10/30/08)
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