Review by horror_spooky

"Come play with me"

The first game in this point-and-click horror series from independent developer Shining Gate Software holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first games I bothered downloading from the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace, and the amount of quality surprised me. Finding a genuine scare in this day and age is a rarity, but Decay - Part I freaked me the hell out. I even liked the game enough to write my first walkthrough over it. Naturally, I decided to continue my adventure in the horrific world of the Decay series, but did Decay - Part II live up to my expectations?

Decay - Part II retains the exact gameplay mechanics from the first game. It is a point-and-click adventure game. That basically is the just of it. However, Decay - Part II has a larger focus on puzzles than the first game. Unfortunately, the puzzles in this game tend to fall a bit on the archaic side. Some of the solutions are just way too out there and demand too much, and the result is a disconnection from the game's atmosphere and world.

Another issue is one that was also in the other game. While the environments are generally well-detailed and look pretty good, they are at times a bit on the dark side. Important items are tucked away in the background and are nearly impossible to see. Basically, the only way to find these items is to move the cursor around on the screen and tap A repeatedly until you come across something.

Visually, Decay - Part II is rather pleasing, besides being too dark at times at times. The graphics bring out a creepy atmosphere, and there are cool visual tricks that make even the most cliched horror tricks feel brand new. The art direction in Part II is perfect for the concept.

Working with the graphics is the audio soundtrack. The music is intense and horrifying. A sinister piano plays in the background at all times, and works well with the vivid imagery and the genuine scares that pop up throughout the course of the game.

Unfortunately, the game's main issue is the same one that was with the first game. Decay - Part II is painfully short. The game can easily be completed in under a half an hour, even if you have problems with the puzzles. While it's only an Indie game, the length is still very disappointing. I think it would have been better if the developers just waited to complete the entire series and release them all together as a full-fledged Xbox Live Arcade game. It would have worked. The length in Decay - Part I was a lot easier to stomach considering the game was only 80 MSP, but Decay - Part II is 240 MSP--a considerable spike in price what is more or less the same amount of content, just reskinned.

Despite its obvious flaws, the Decay series is still the place to go for a scare. Decay - Part II uses scary imagery, creepy music, and a chilling atmosphere to create one of the scariest video game experiences for this generation. The gameplay still needs to catch up, though.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/02/11

Game Release: Decay - Part 2 (US, 07/12/10)

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