Amy is a downloadable title that attempts to capture the magic of the glory days of survival-horror, back before Resident Evil 4 reinvented the genre by placing emphasis on action over running away and conserving items. On the surface, it seemed that Amy had all the ingredients to become a horror hit. Unfortunately, Amy attempts and fails at everything it does. In fact, it’s already a strong contender for worst game of 2012.
The story begins with a train wreck amidst what appears to be a zombie outbreak. The protagonist is a woman named Lana who has recently freed Amy from a sinister organization studying her. Amy is a mute young girl with certain special abilities, but beyond that nothing else is known about her. The overall goal is for Lana to contend with the undead, soldiers shooting anything that moves, and obtuse puzzles all while holding onto Amy as doing so cures Lana’s rapidly-deteriorating health.
Amy‘s plot is kept purposefully vague with minimal explanation for what’s going—where the monsters came from, why Amy is immune to the virus, or any other details that might’ve intrigued players. There’s also no characterization, so there’s no reason to be endeared to either Lana or Amy, especially considering how atrocious the voice-acting is throughout the whole game.
One of the main gimmicks of Amy is that without her constant presence, Lana will turn into a zombie and drop dead. When Amy isn’t around, Lana can inject herself with a temporary vaccine to alleviate the symptoms. Lana’s appearance visually deteriorates and her surroundings take on a red hue accompanied by creepy voices whispering to her. A counter on her back measures how badly contaminated she is, but often times she’ll drop dead shortly after leaving Amy by herself despite apparently being in good health.
Constantly dropping dead is just one of the many problems in the game, further exacerbated by how the game drops all items when starting a new chapter or restarting from a checkpoint. The game loves to come up with contrived reasons for the pair to split up such as Amy being unable to climb ladders and the buttons to operate elevators inexplicably placed across the room. So Lana typically has to move ahead, clearing obstacles so Amy can catch up.
The controls for Lana and Amy are cumbersome to say the least. The shoulder button and square have to be held down in order to run, and the setup only gets more awkward as the players has to hold down R1 for Amy to hold Lana’s hand and walk or run with her. In total L1, R1, square, and the left analog stick need to held down for both characters to do a simple action like running, five if you want to count wrangling the camera with the right stick.
Amy is a constant pain to manage. She only responds to commands half of the time and she usually gets caught on objects, so it’s not uncommon to accidentally leave Amy behind in the heat of the moment. There’s nothing more frustrating than being on the verge of death and frantically calling Amy over only to have her just stand there, staring at you with her silvery, soulless eyes as you expire.
Levels take a grueling amount of time to navigate since there’s no HUD, map, or anything to indicate where you’re supposed to go and what you’re supposed to do. None of the layouts are unique, they’re all nondescript and blend together. Most of all they’re dark, as the game is nearly pitch black unless the TV’s brightness is turned up to maximum.
Combat is equally lamentable with Lana only being able to use pipes and sticks to clumsily bludgeon zombies with. She can only take a few swipes before succumbing to death, which will happen often to the game’s dodgy hit-detection, so don’t be surprised by the amount of cheap-shots enemies manage to get.
There’s an element of stealth to the game as well. Sometimes Lana and Amy need to sneak by soldiers or zombies if the player doesn’t want to deal with them at the moment. If detected, the soldiers will instantly kill the player, forcing them to restart once again.
Speaking of restarting, it wouldn’t be such a big deal if Amy didn’t place checkpoints at unreasonable distances away from each other. Since the game’s broken mechanics facilitates many unfair deaths, expect to restart a lot and having to perform the same tedious actions before moving on with the rest of the level. And there’s no quitting or progress saves. If you quit, you have to start the level from the beginning.
Everything about Amy is designed to frustrate and drain the player’s will before they eventually throw up their hands in defeat and give up. Between the broken combat, constant annoyances in dealing with Amy, counter-intuitive controls, non-existent plot, bland characters, cheap deaths, and overall shoddy workmanship, Amy fails on practically every level. The only truly horrifying thing about Amy is that it managed to sneak by QA and be released in its current state.