Are you looking for a bit of horror fun for the iPhone? Do you also want to spend your time puzzling away, working desperately to save a Japanese girl trapped by an unseen psychopath in the wake of Earthquake? Yeah, probably not that specifically: Regardless, Ellie – Help me out please, by developer Ateam, offers just such an experience, and at a fair price to boot.
Concept and Gameplay
As mentioned, Ellie has you playing as a stranded voyeur with access to a video camera overlooking a young Japanese girl being held captive by an unseen assailant. It’s your job to direct her about the room, giving suggestions about what to look at, what to do, and how to do it. In this sense, Ellie is most similar to item-based mystery titles for the Mac and PC. However, the game also features an heavy horror element, as it’s up to you to ensure the well-being of the young captive.
On the whole, the gameplay offered is solid and entertaining. It’s a fairly nerve-racking experience, directing Ellie about the room and stumbling upon clues. Working out how exactly to free the poor girl is quite the challenge. To help compensate for the difficulty, the game offers hints that can be bought via in-app purchase.
It’s worth noting how short the game is, though. The difficulty ensures at least an hour’s worth of gameplay, but with only one room to sort out, there’s simply not enough content here to keep the player coming back for more. Likewise, there’s no Game Center integration, which means no leader boards or achievements to add an extra carrot on a stick.
Graphics and Design
That being said, Ellie looks pretty darn good on the iPhone. The animations are smooth and reminiscent of classic anime. The game comes in both Japanese and English, as well, which is nice for those that are into that sort of thing.
Navigating the game’s items and puzzles is a cinch, as the title has been touch-optimized rather intuitively. Users simply click on an interesting item, and Ellie does the leg work. Items must be selected from the inventory to be used, which can be a bit of a drag when swapping items several times, though.
Though brief, Ellie is priced appropriately at the free mark. An additional room can be purchased in-app for a dollar, adding even more content. All in all, it makes for a tight package that’s priced well for the amount of gameplay offered. Ellie will please fans of classic point-and-click mystery puzzlers and horror buffs alike. And at no charge, there really isn’t much to lose by giving the app a go.
Ellie requires iOS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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