Price: £7.99 (800 MS Points)
Format: Xbox 360 via XBLA (tested), PS3 via PSN
Publisher: Lexis Numerique
A new survival horror developed by Vector Cell, Amy sees you cast as the pallid Lana, a young woman charged with rescuing the titular character from her past life in a creepy ‘children’s home’. Later on, you take on the Amy role, possibly the first chance to play as an autistic 8 year old in a budget-price videogame, and tag-team between the two protagonists to solve puzzles, smash zombies and survive the infected Silver City.
Opening with a strange train sequence that seemingly involves Amy summoning a host of trouble by using her futuristic etch-a-sketch/iPad hybrid to draw some monsters, the game tries to compose a brooding, menacing atmosphere as the train conductor is revealed to be some kind of ancient occultist.
We wake up to find the train has crashed into the station, which is deserted apart from the odd zombie. Then begins the task of tracking down Amy, who in the commotion of the train crash, has gone missing. But no, she’s not to be found in the station arcades playing Zumba dance games or hanging out with the older girls smoking outside Costa Coffee, she’s really disappeared.
Instead of heading to the nearest station police and requesting they make an announcement over the tannoy like a normal person, we pick up an iron bar and head out in search of the young child.
Along the way we meet the shambling, limping shell of an Italian mobster, or at least, a mobster’s limo driver. He helps hack the oh-so-futuristic DNA terminals and through waiting rooms full of corpses, platforms covered in debris, and, er, random grey areas without any texture. Our journey through Silver City continues.
At least, that is if you get that far. For starters, the game looks and feels like a poor Silent Hill knockoff on the PS2, circa 2001. Lana herself looks very disturbing, the game’s palette making her appear just as undead as the zombie enemies, her teeth being particularly frightening. Textures and design are dull, missing the character required to make horror games any more than damp and grey. The lighting isn’t dramatic, some of the smoke effects are as pathetically non-transparent as those on fifteen-year old consoles and it’s never really clear just exactly where you are supposed to be going.
Camera angles are frequently frustrating, and the game gives you little or no directional clues as to where to go. I spent a good twenty minutes trying to get the DNA lock to work, listening to the same repetitive voice samples until I finally cracked it. It’s not a fiendish puzzle though, it’s just a simple one poorly executed, and as any gamer knows, there’s a big difference between the two.
We locate Amy, and then marvel as she hacks computers, and runs fearlessly straight towards the shambling, badly-constructed zombies, needing constant saving from not only the undead, but the resulting abysmal collision-detection prgramming.
The ability to control both Amy and Lana would give some much-needed variation to the game were they both not cursed with the same wretched awkwardness, suffering under the same stuttering game engine. With more than about three characters on screen begins to strain like a fat man on the stairmaster, huffing and puffing like a true January jogger.
Unlike the metaphorical fat man though, exercising this game will not do anything to prolong your life – in fact it’s more likely to snuff it out as you bang the controller against your head in sheer frustration.
Amy is a complete and utter waste of money and time, unless you really like inflicting pain upon yourself. Even if there are masochists reading this, may I recommend spending your cash on hiring a dominatrix instead. In fact, the thought of the developers crafting a sequel, is enough to strike fear into this reviewers heart for years to come.