There is something so great about seeing older games refurbished into more modernized concepts. This is why Haunted House looked so appealing. Based on the Atari game from 1982 this new version had major appeal with fun, cartoonish graphics, new characters, and a variety of challenges to keep you entertained. The issue is all that goes out the window when you face the vast variety of bugs that ruin your gameplay.
Haunted House follows the character Lyn Graves as she has to work her way through an ever-shifting haunted maze of a mansion to find her uncle and friends. Along the way, you might run into some fun characters that will ask for your help in finding cats, cooking items, or even collectibles.
You will have to work through a variety of rooms of the haunted house. Each room will require a certain objective to be completed. It cycles through a small handful including killing monsters, staying alive for a certain time frame, blasting chains, and finding certain items. The main concept is a lot of fun, and a lot more challenging than one might assume.
Procedurally Generated Might Leave You Struggling
One of the things that makes this game fun, even after numerous deaths, is that the rooms are procedurally generated. If you are doing well, you can keep progressing through all the levels in one run. However, if you get knocked out, you have to start at the front of the stairs to do the run all over again. For the most part, each run felt balanced, but there were a few situations where it felt you were either doomed before you started, or it was extremely too easy.
A great example of this falls to the luck of getting food as loot. As you work your way through the room you will come across different chests. As well as you will usually receive a chest after completion. Food items are how you heal yourself and are extremely important to your survival. That’s why it was absolutely despairing when room, after room, after room, you turned up nothing.
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Other random factors came down to the sizing of the room and the quest. For example, staying alive for 60 seconds is a lot easier in a giant room, versus a tiny room with a lot of chairs. You never know what each run will look like and for the most part, that was the most thrilling part. The downfall is how many runs were thrown away because of imbalance issues.
Enjoy the Haunted House, Hate The Bugs
It was easy to get swept up in the hype of the game because, for the most part, it’s a great game concept. Even when the first bug was encountered, which prevented the map from showing up, it did little to dampen the mood. While the map tool at times could be handy, if you just remembered where you came from, it becomes obsolete. The real problem was when the bugs started to impact the runs.
There is a huge difference between the frustration of dying on your own merit and having to give up on an amazing run because you glitch through the walls. Maybe, if it had been a one-time fluke, this review of Haunted Houe would have been vastly different. But the issues kept coming and seemed to get worse. Ultimately they ruined every reason for us to keep playing.
Take for example The Eye. If you are lucky to find this room, it will give you a boost for your current run. Each room is locked until you complete the current goal, which in this instance is to touch the eye statue. Now there will be times you have to backtrack through rooms and when you do, it’s clear that room has been beat.
The doors don’t relock, you don’t have to complete the objective again, and you are just free to run through it. However, with The Eye Room that was not the case. If you had to backtrack through, it locked you in as if you hadn’t completed the quest prior. The issue was The Eye, however, didn’t reset.
A Two-Prong Review: Haunted House vs. The Bugs
Besides the issues, most of the rooms were a blast to work through. No matter the objective you got, or the size of the room it kept your attention, pushing you to keep playing. Boss levels were challenging, without being impossible. The hardest thing in Haunted House depends on how good you are at sneaking around. As someone who might run headfirst into fighting, this might be more of a challenge compared to someone who shies away from fights.
When bugs are big enough to ruin the main concept of the game, it’s just hard to want to keep playing. Which is sad, because it cannot be stressed enough how fun Haunted House could be once those issues are resolved. Haunted House does a great job at merging whimsy with spooky while challenging the player to lean heavily on their stealth skills. Plus, the unpredictability of the runs sets this game up for hours of fun.
This is why Haunted House is receiving a 5/10 with the bugs, but without would be given a 7/10.
Haunted House is out now on PC and Consoles.
About Haunted House
Release Date: Fall 2023
Genre: Action Roguelite, Stealth Adventure
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox S|X, Nintendo Switch, Atari VCS
Developer: Orbit Studio
Chills and stealthy thrills abound In Haunted House, a reimagining of the classic Atari adventure! Players take control of Lyn Graves, the precocious niece of legendary treasure hunter Zachary Graves. Lyn visits her uncle’s mansion with her closest compatriots, only to find the house overrun with ghouls and monsters who quickly grab and spirit away her friends. In order to free her uncle and her friends, and capture all the supernatural foes, Lyn must find the shattered pieces of a magical urn and put them back together.
Through procedurally generated room layouts, shifting walls, unpredictable enemy placements, and unique ghostly encounters, Lyn must creep, sneak, and dash her way through hordes of ghouls and eerie ectoplasms in order to locate her friends and uncle. Each urn shard is fiercely guarded by a bone-chilling boss — with 3D isometric stealth gameplay, Lyn must think on her feet to conquer each challenge. When she gets knocked out by a shadowy specter, she winds up back at the Haunted House’s entrance and must face an entirely new floor layout and enemy placement, ensuring each run is unique.
Have you played Haunted House? What’s your favorite part about the game? Are you dying for a patch update? Let us know what you think on social media!