Earlier this summer saw the release of Legacy Interactive’s first DSiWare game, House, M.D. - Episode 1: Globetrotting. If you played the game, or simply read our review, then you’ll know that this maiden voyage was not a very successful one for the company. Now, several months later, the series continues with House M.D. - Episode 2: Blue Meanie, the second instalment in the series of episodic point-and-click adventure games based on the hit television series House. We hope you kept your immune systems up after the first game however, because a second dose of this won’t do the body good.
House, M.D. - Episode 2: Blue Meanie focuses on the story of a chef who suddenly falls ill, and at the same time her skin turns blue. It is up to Dr. House and his crack team of doctors to solve the mystery of their patient’s bizarre illness all the while making many references to The Smurfs and other blue characters from popular culture. As the story unfolds, you will be given the task of gathering information from the patient while treating her illness and testing her symptoms.
Just like the first episode, the entirety of this game is played through a series of mini-games that take place on the DSi’s touch screen. There are a variety of games ranging from hidden object puzzles to operating medical machinery, but all of these playable portions are very superficial and feel like an afterthought. In-between these mini-games are segments of the game’s story that are told through still images of characters in different situations and accompanied with blocks of text. While the story in this episode is a bit more engaging than that in the first, the lack of voice acting still dramatically reduces the quality of the dialogue: rather than enjoying the witty and sarcastic banter between Dr. House and his employees, players must instead suffer through the biting and listless dialogue printed on the screen.
At seemingly random intervals throughout you'll be given grades based on your performance. Regardless of how well you did, you will always be allowed to move on to the next part in the game, removing any difficulty that one might find in playing this. While you may do a terrible job at examining your patient or you may ask the wrong questions during an interrogation, the game doesn’t really punish you in any way. There is also no way to go back and view the grades that you’ve already received; this, coupled with the stagnant plot, leave little to no room for replayability. Playing through this game once means that you’ve seen everything that it has to offer.
The audio and visual presentation hasn’t changed one bit from the first game, but that’s to be expected as all of these episodes are simply slices from the original PC game. That being said, the visuals are still impressive and drawn with fine detail and the soundtrack still falls flat with its complete lack of variety.
The biggest and most glaring flaw with this game is that all of the mini-games are exactly the same as the ones that were in Episode 1. While the situations and circumstances under which you are drawing your patient’s blood or searching her workspace for clues have changed with the story, the gameplay has not changed at all. Unfortunately, the mini-games weren’t fun the first time around, and absolutely nothing has been done to remedy that with this turn. All of the games still amount to little more than tapping the DSi’s touch screen until it’s over.
If you either played the game or read our review of House, M.D. - Episode 1: Globetrotting, then you know exactly what to expect here. Episode 2, in the most literal sense, does absolutely nothing different or new, with the exception of the plot. If you found the story engaging and really enjoyed the first game, then by all means get this one and continue your career as a doctor at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital. If, on the other hand, you’re someone who actually enjoys having fun while playing video games, then you’re going to want to stay very far away from this one.