There's not really any gameplay worthy of discussion, so the product demands an open-mind. But with a price-tag no more expensive than a bottle of Dr. Pepper, those seeking something a little "different" might welcome the punt.
Hysteria Project is a unique nod to the FMV laden experiences of the mid-nineties. With no setup and no description you start the game looking down at your duct-taped legs and hands. The entirety of the game is presented through FMV video - so this is real Blair Witch stuff. The camera shakes, the picture's groggy and the atmosphere's particularly thick.
During breaks in the video, you'll be given a variety of choices. Do you want to slip free from the duct-tape holding your arms in place, or scan the room? We choose to scan but see nothing of interest so we slip free from the duct-tape. That's when we happen upon a knife, and swiftly cut through the tape holding together our legs. Free - we dash for the door. This time, the action doesn't stop giving us a choice - instead a button prompt flashes up on the screen. In a post Heavy Rain gaming climate, these QTEs should work to Hysteria's advantage. Unfortunately, everything's less considered than Quantic Dream's epic.
For example, should you make the wrong decision at any point in Hysteria Project and you'll be welcomed by a picture of the Grim Reaper with a little explanation of what went wrong and a prompt to retry. Which completely draws you out of the illusion that your choices mean anything.
The game's also not particularly frightening. Despite its title's emphasis on the word "Hysteria", you're unlikely to ever feel hysterical as your character jogs through woody marshes looking over his shoulder at a Hallowe'en costume recreation of the Grim Reaper. "Why does he walk so slow?" you'll ask yourself?
For all its faults though, Hysteria Project does quite a few things well. For a start, it's a clever piece of interactive entertainment and while it does a lot wrong it dares to do something different, which is always a plus in our book. The FMVs are really well edited to, with great sound design and effects creating a sense of tension that's unseen in any other PSP titles, let alone a Mini.
It's just that for all its ambition, Hysteria Project is a bit flat. With branching routes and less trial-and-error, Hysteria Project could be something special. For now, it's destined to remain a flawed experiment. But with a £1 asking price, it's worthy of your attention, if only for its ambition.