Developer: BrainBlast Games LLC
Price: free Download on the App Store
One of the most frightening aspects of a film such as Saw is the thought of being tied up or restrained with an abysmal amount of chance of escaping. The idea that a film like this could be entertaining baffles me, yet I've watched almost the entire franchise. That's why when I found out about Curio, my first reaction was that it couldn't live up to the painfully awesome experience that a film can provide. For me, film seems to be much easier to manipulate personal emotions than gaming. However, Curio changed that for me. Of course, Apple's pick for "Game of the Year" Dead Space did a pretty darn good job too.
While Dead Space pits the gamer against aliens, Curio plays to something that most would find scarier... their mind. Insanity is more than scary, it's darn right crazy. Curio does a very nice job of immersing the gamer into the game with its haunting setting, simple gameplay and unique storyline.
The gamer starts off as Ron who is frantically trying to escape the insane asylum. The game mechanics are very simple in that Ron can run to the right and the player can tap the screen to make Ron jump and miss various objects (other crazies) as well as get his hands on the very pills that keep him from going bonkers. They also help keep him from going off the deep end where the hallucinations are a plenty.
As for graphics, they're creepy. Of course, one would expect that of an insane asylum. Everything from Ron's outfit to the other patients' outfits and broken down old furnishings of the asylum are very haunting.
The frantic pace is what keeps this game fun and also instills a sense of panic in the gamer. This is rare in a game, I think, and the developer should be applauded for this. In addition to the frantic gameplay, Curio also offers bonus content in the form of 8-bit mini-games, which are very similar to the original game. As for the game, once each level has been conquered the gamer unlocks other bonus content such as Ron's artwork with full narration about Ron's jolly good ride into the darkness.
While the sidescroller and horror genres are nothing new, the way that BrainBlast Games combines them with an interesting storyline, bonus content and sense of insanity really made Curio worth playing.