The Asylum

Not only can you has cyoot, you can provide it therapies!

Welcome to the Asylum, where patients go to hopefully sort out those mental problems that keep them from leading happy and successful lives.  The twist here is that the patients aren’t humans, but instead adorable little plushies.

The Asylum, after being out for a few years, remains one of the most original flash games out there on the net.  You are presented with five “patients” each with their own unique and challenging mental mallady for you to diagnose and treat by using a myriad of psychological procedures.

In the process of doing so, you will also unlock throughout your therapy sessions the little stuffed critters’ backstories, backstories for the most part that involve some sort of mistreatment at the hands of their owners.

I should at this point deliver a very stern warning.  While this looks like a kid’s game, it is not.  For one, the difficulty level is far too high, and while young children may find the stuffed animals to be impossibly cute, the actual gameplay mechanics will undoubtedly require a pretty high level of reading comprehension.

Further, there are some, ah, images and themes that may not necessarily be appropriate for the youngsters (drug use, and I vaguely remember the image of a condom thrown in there somewhere).

But for the adults, particularly those who are highly susceptible to teh cyoot, this game is a keeper.

For the most part, all you do is study your patient, recommend a treatment or diagnostic, pay attention to how your patient reacts, and then select another treatment.  Continue doing this until your patient is happy and mentally healthy again.

The driving forces behind the game that makes this so engaging are the logic puzzles presented by attempting to treat the patient, the mysteries posed by attempting to unlock how the plushies got the way they are, and the unforgiving cuteness and emotiveness of the little stuffed animals.

Seriously, there will be moments when you’ll want to tear up.  Which is interesting because most of the secondary artwork is pretty unimpressive, but you can tell the designers put a lot of heart not just in creating the main characters, but breathing life into them through their expressions and reactions.

But a game of this type can hardly come without some serious drawbacks.  As mentioned above, while it looks like a game for kids, it’s not, and one of the reasons for that is because it can be a very tough game.  If you don’t have training in psychology (and even then I wonder if such training would help, given that I have none), many of the logical puzzles provided in the game may not necessarily seem logical.  Thus, more often than not your next course of action can feel more like a guessing game than anything else.

Adding to the frustration of this is the fact that sometimes wrong selections will actually make your patient regress (progress, or regression, is measured by a little green bar at the top of your clipboard), and in some cases, make your patient leave the therapy session completely.

Put in place to help you is a professional assistance selection that is always available, but not always helpful.  It’s well done, actually, providing psychological theory behind certain recommendations, and helps with the immersive feel of actually trying to diagnose and help patients.  But on the flip side, sometimes the hints can be rather obtuse and thusly resist actually helping you.

Happily, the strengths of this game are far outweighed by its weaknesses, and so long as you don’t get trapped too terribly bad by the pitfalls presented, they do actually help witht he challenge and can, within reason, add to the enjoyment factor.

All in all, the Asylum remains a great game, and one that should provide first time players with at least a couple of hours of entertainment.  It is at once funny and touching, and without words manages to create characters that will stay with you for a long time.

Enjoy!

2 Responses to The Asylum

  1. Ginzig says:

    Fun game!!!! But you are right, very frustrating too. Does your progress save, or will I have to start all over again when I go back? You were right, that’s a lot harder than it looks. I made a lot of progress with the snake, but that was the only one.

  2. Actually, I think the snake is one of the trickier patients because you will have to go through a certain set of procedures at least twice, adn it will appear as though you aren’t making any progress, but the regression is necessary. Last night, for nostalgia’s sake, I did the snake, the turtle, and the aligator (actually, the turtle is a newer patient that was added after I played this game the first time years ago). Both of the other two patients were a lot easier and less confusing than the snake. Of course, you will eventually find out why the snake can be so tricky to treat once you figure out ALL of what is wrong with him.

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