Haunted House originally came out for the Atari 2600 back in 1982. This is a console that had less processing power than the kind required to display a dot at the end of a sentence today. The game was understandably limited at the time, but it was still unique. You were a floating pair of eyes trying to find your way through a haunted house looking for pieces of an urn. The property was rebooted in 2010 for consoles with an abysmal release (it wasn’t scary or fun). Now, it is back, re-imagined for realm of mobile gaming. Haunted House is out for iOS. Let us see how it fares.
The Haunted House, unlike its original Atari or last-gen console predecessor (2010), this version of Haunted House is an endless 2D side scrolling runner. You guide your character by swiping and tapping various elements across the screen to keep your runner going. Making it a fast paced blend of Temple Run, Fruit Ninja and Limbo. If we’re being honest, it does not make for a good experience on the iPad, as your attention is diverted by all the different on-screen elements that you have to interact within order to keep your character alive. It makes for a challenging experience. The port from console to iOS has found a good home in the form of an endless runner and all the freemium features they tend to bring. You can disable the tutorial from the options if you want, but you could just as easily swipe through it. It is a series of on-screen instructions that you can sift through and understand fairly quickly. Touch, swipe and slide while your character runs. Given the name and origin of the game, the haunted elements are not exactly scary, though that is just nitpicking. You can buy upgrades and boosts with the currency you collect and you can use health bars to continue right where you left off, in case you die along the way and that will happen a lot when you start.
The first thing we’ve noticed is that this didn’t get the obligatory 16-bit treatment, possibly because it is already coming with sufficient retro cred as-is. The art style is typical of 2D side scrollers with familiar elements from games like Limbo and Vector. The animations and animation triggers cannot be classified as “very well done”, you can swipe all you want but things will appear on their own, felt almost random. Overall, it seems fine, except for a handful of areas that lack polish. What was most impressive was that they maintained the “eyes only” enigma from the original game, as a nod to fans of the original.
No surprises here, the ambient sounds, the music and the sound effects behave exactly as one would expect from a smartphone game. Nothing to write home about, but not bad either.
This game is one of those games that you might enjoy if you are a fan of the genre, but it is entirely plausible that if this had not been a “re-imagining” of the Atari classic, it might not have garnered the same level of attention.