Capturing terror on a tiny screen is the challenge Renegade Kid took on when they decided to make Dementium: The Ward. The experience is a mixture of Doom 3 and Silent Hill with controls similar to Metroid Prime: Hunters. You start the game by waking up in a rundown hospital with very little lighting. One of the first objects you can pick up is a flashlight, a necessary tool to see where you are walking. When you want to attack the zombie-like creatures with mouths on their chests (a sign of being evil) you have to put the flashlight down and fight in the dark.
Shooting in the dark is going to make some people immediately love or hate Dementium: The Ward. There are dim lights that let you see the zombies, but the flashlight is your primary source of light. When you use the nightstick you don’t need to worry about aiming. You just walk up and smack the creatures by pressing the L button. Later you can pick up ranged weapons like the handgun that you aim with the stylus and fire by pressing the L button. Aiming is a little tricky if you are trying to get headshots. Since light was limited I opted to aim for the chest mouth instead of going for the one headshot kills. I asked the designers if they plan on adding duct tape to let players tape the flashlight to their gun and they told me there are no plans to do so. In their eyes, keeping players in the dark makes Dementium: The Ward feel creepy.
Dementium: The Ward keeps a staple of the survival horror genre, puzzles. The first one you encounter is a set of numbers written in blood. Obviously you are going to need these numbers for something and there is a handy memo pad where you can scribble down the six digits for future use. When you reach a door with a numeric keypad you can pull up the memo pad and punch in the numbers you wrote down earlier. After walking through more shady corridors and on the hospital roof I ran into the first boss, a giant hunk of flesh cutting something up with a butcher knife. Friendly. With the help of a shotgun you can shoot the boss monster in the face, but you have limited ammo. Miss a few times and you have to resort to the handgun or dying while trying to whack it with the nightstick.
Renegade Kid purposely left out details about the story, but the goal of the game is to escape the creepy hospital. They estimate it will take around eight hours to beat the game and there are not multiple endings. There was one other feature in Dementium: The Ward that impressed me, the sound. You can hear your heart beating and it beats faster when you get hit. A very cool idea that integrates a health meter with the environmental sounds and chants you can hear with headphones.