Game Review: Haunt The House Terrortown (PlayStation Mobile)

Haunt The House: Terrortown is a PlayStation Mobile title developed by SFB Games, and is available to buy for PlayStation certified android handsets and of course the PS Vita. A lot of you may not know that this game is actually a sequel that spawned from a browser-based game called Haunt The House which was released back in 2010. Do not worry though, as you do not need to have played the original in order to enjoy this game to its fullest.

The game has you take on the role of a ghost that can possess objects within the environment in order to scare residents out of their buildings. Of course with this title being made available for PlayStation certified devices, the PS Vita’s extra functions are not needed – the control scheme is basic, but very smooth and easy to use. The tutorial is short and allows you to just go on out and experiment very quickly without giving you rigid objectives that stop you from genuine creative thought. This type of freedom initially had me stumped as to what to do first, as I am not used to games allowing you to just get on with it. However the ability to go where you want, skip between buildings as and when you please and the sheer amount of objects to possess, really opens up the game to your imagination and how you want to play.

You can possess objects within these buildings and use them in a variety of ways to scare the inhabitants out, some items even have multiple methods of scaring people, for example a bed can be moved across the floor or you can make the sheets rise up from the bed into a ghostly figure. To start with you only have access to one action per object but the more you scare people with that action the more your powers grow and then unlock more, varied actions to use.

Sound is also important, and the ambience of each building is captured slightly differently, sound effects and voice work give this a more humourous feel rather than serious shock horror, this humourous touch also influences the overall look and feel of the game and makes the game feel fun to play and less serious than it could have been.

The only thing that disappointed me was the overall length of the game, however as I am used to playing big budget blockbusters that can eat your life away, it was rather refreshing to play something that didn’t take hours of learning and walking around looking for obscure items or collectables. Also without realising it, the game did gobble up a larger chunk of my time than I gave it credit for. A quick 20 or so minutes turned into an hour and then more… for a game that is meant for “on the go bitesize gaming” that is a good commute and back for some people. There is also a ranking system that scores you on how quickly you emptied each building of its residents and how many were scared away rather than demised through your methods. This in itself gives replay value as you strive to plan your attack and experiment to get yourself a better score, as well as the secret secondary goal which I will not spoil for you here.

Haunt The House: Terrortown is so simple and easy to play yet is something I feel that is unique among the games available through PlayStation Mobile, let alone the PS Vita store, the freedom you have to do what you want, when you want and how you want is realised here. I always worry that Minis or Mobile games are not for me, and as such I am too easy to dismiss them. Haunt The House: Terrortown is an eye opener to what Mobile games can offer and has left me wanting more, but isn’t that how you are supposed to leave your audience?

Ben Gove

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