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Dementium: The Ward review

Breathtaking, original, unspeakably horrific

You strafe about with the D-pad, while dragging your stylus to aim and using the L button to shoot or melee. Outside of the occasional frenzied tap that'll activate the options menu, it all works pretty damned well. The only drawback is that the tiny crosshair tends to get lost in the darkness, making it hard to squeeze off precise shots on enemies weakpoints. But this could be seen as part of Dementium's appeal, it's less a shooter than it is a game of survival. Ammo is scarce and there's equal emphasis on gathering information and solving the game's several intricately designed puzzles.

You'll crack codes, like playing designated keys on a tiny piano,as well as decipher found items to figure out just who you are, how you landed in this twisted hellhole, and exactly what the eff is going on. Pictures really don'tdo it justice. More than anything, Dementium is a triumph of atmospheric sound and lighting. The enemies may look the visual relic, but the way they growl and lunge at you, while bursts of lightningilluminate hallways nearly had us tinkling in our Underoos. We won't spoil anything, but... Banshees! Dear god... the screaming Banshee heads.

We recommend playing in dark, with headphones, or with the sound all the way up in a room that echoes. Maybe a bathroom? Because publicly recoiling from a Coral Pink DS in a fit of pure terror can make even an American Gladiator look like a silly goose.

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DescriptionIn a land of tap-and-drag minigames, Dementium: The Ward sticks out like a blood-thirsty gremlin in a Smurf village. And we mean that as a compliment.
US censor rating"Mature"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)