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Hauntii Icon

Developer: Moonloop Games LLC

Publisher: Firestoke

  • Price: $19.99
  • Release Date: May 23, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
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    An undeniably unique adventure that mixes together some unexpected elements and just hits differently

    One of the traits I absolutely appreciate above just about anything else in indie games, is their ability to surprise me and take me on a journey I wasn’t prepared for. With its taking place in the afterlife, its very wonderfully hand-drawn black and white visuals, and its way of simply doing things its own way, Hauntii absolutely gets a big check mark for originality. That said, depending on how well-defined you prefer your stories to be, and the degree of clarity you’d prefer in terms of what you’re doing and why, there may be some pain points.

    The main thing to know walking in, is that though there are some gameplay elements you will recognize, there’s some remixing going on that could catch you by surprise. At the top of that list is the fact that the game uses twin-stick shooting, though in a pretty laid back and gentle way somehow, which shouldn’t tax anyone too much. While you’ll need to periodically knock out some enemies on the move, more often than not you’ll use it to possess objects and even the occasional enemy, sometimes opening the door to some unexpected fun. In addition, the reliance on light being necessary for you to be safe, will force you to try to either move quickly through the dark or make use of a variety of means available to you to extend the reach of the light, so you can get to tougher-to-reach areas.

    In terms of criticisms, while I really appreciate the game’s general approach and unexpected mix of elements that aren’t normally combined, there’s a degree of vagary at times that can be irritating. First among my issues, is that it feels like the game is so laid back and loose in what you need to be doing that it can be confusing. Should I be sticking around in each area, trying to find and collect everything I can, or should I just move to the next area? Is there a purpose to collecting these various items? Will I need to, or be able to, come back to an area I’ve already cleared later? The completionist collector in me had a hard time grappling with this since you’re not given any real information about this early on, so while I didn’t necessarily mind trying to extract everything I could from every location I went to, I also felt like I was wasting my time. Not being given clear and proper direction, this is more of an issue than it should need to be.

    Still, my fixation on things that look, play, and simply feel different has generally won out in the end when it comes to my overall opinion. I appreciate its desire to stand out, and I absolutely feel that they’ve succeeded in that goal, but I do wish there was more clarity on your objectives for why you’re collecting these items and what benefits there can be for your diligence. If you also have a tendency to be attracted to the unexpected, this is a game that does a great job of bringing that in spades, just be warned that without more definition for what your goals are it can be aggravating.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.4]

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