Review by Uglyface2

"Horrifying, yes, but also a chore"

Theresia is a horror title that was recently ported to the US by Aksys Games. There's much to be said for the story, which can be disturbing at times, but the gameplay is lacking.

The Basics

Theresia takes place in a hybrid of Myst puzzle rooms and first-person-maze environments. Room screens are usually static, with occasional movie clips that take place on special occasions. Players may choose to look at, interact with, or use an item on certain locations on the screen. The maze environments are similar to what might appear on a PS One title; these serve primarily to connect the rooms and provide atmosphere.

The Good

Theresia truly shines in the story department. Plot is delivered in small doses, and often in a scattershot method that is deliberately intended to confuse. Character motives are not often clear at first, but when they are revealed, can be delightfully twisted. For those who do not understand the story along the way, Theresia kindly provides a Diary mode upon completion that retells the story in chronological order.

Then there is the atmosphere. Room environments are usually dark, uninviting places that may or may not contain traps designed to cut you down and kill you. Corpses are a common sight, and some have suffered terrible fates that are better left to your imagination.

The Bad

Cutting to the chase, the maze environments are dull. Trekking from one room to the next is tolerable (and maybe a little fun) at first, but eventually devolves into a chore. When certain expendable items are required and you have run out of those items, trekking through the maze back to a room, getting replacement items, and then returning in order to use those expendable items can take minutes of your time. When you repeat this task three or four times in a row, this chore becomes grating.

The Thoroughly Meh

The gameplay itself really isn't that exciting. There are a handful of good puzzles, but most of the time you are simply attempting to find a key or a certain item, avoid a trap, or perform some small task. Some puzzles are little more than a pixel-hunt: can you find this information from one of dozens of other rooms on an object that might have looked like a piece of background? You may wind up giving up and simply searching online for the answers to those puzzles.

The Wrap-up

Theresia is the sort of game that requires a great deal of patience and a certain temperment to enjoy. There is a brilliant story to be told in an unsettling atmosphere. If you can stand the sometimes tedious mechanics, and don't mind puzzles that can be worked out easily with the right items, then it may be worth your time and money to play.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 12/02/08

Game Release: Theresia (US, 10/30/08)

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