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28 May, 2015

Hellraid: The Escape Review

"In Hellraid: The Escape, a sorcerer obsessed with dark arts has trapped your soul in a magic prison guarded by demonic creatures. Why are you there? Who are you and why can’t you remember your name? To find the answers, you must first escape from this dimension of agony hung somewhere beyond time."

Broken up into a number of self-contained levels, the emphasis in Hellraid: The Escape is on using your wits to escape rather than frenetic button-mashing action. After diving headfirst into the game, I was thoroughly impressed by the time and effort developer Shortbreak Studios and Techland have clearly put into it. This is certainly not a mere cash grab or sub-par mobile tie-in with impressive production values throughout. Better yet, there are no IAPs or other intrusive in-game mechanics - you pay once for a premium experience.

Also read: Tormentum: Dark Sorrow Review - Disturbingly Brilliant

The puzzles are clever and challenging, and make smart use of the iPad’s interface. And not once did the puzzles ever repeat. Some of my favourite brain ticklers included brewing a potion to sneak past a particularly challenging enemy and rearranging a lock mechanism that required me to die multiple times before I could complete it. Make no mistake though, the puzzles err on the side of being quite difficult. You will die repeatedly to the point that it sometimes feels like you’re banging your head against the wall. But this just makes it all the more sweeter when you have that lightbulb moment and solve the puzzle.

As mentioned, for a mobile title the visuals are quite stunning, on par with some console and PC games that I’ve come across. Each dungeon is intricately detailed with macabre little items, like blood splatter, skeletons twisted in agony and grotesque monsters. It makes me all the more sadder that we may never see more of this twisted universe given that Techland has shelved plans for the console experience for which this mobile title was supposed to act as an entrée.

But something is better than nothing, and thankfully, Hellraid: The Escape manages to be more than just an entrée.

Grab the game here.

Stephen Mitchell

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