Monday, October 29, 2018

"Goosebumps: The Game" Review

With the "Goosebumps" sequel in theaters and Halloween in the air, it was time to revisit the overlooked "Goosebumps" game. The Switch is just the platform needed to inject some life into the delightfully creepy, family-friendly adventure, which is occasionally more frightening than it has any right to be.

WayForward Technologies' port of the 2015 point-and-click adventure meshes well with the Switch's repertoire, making excellent use of the device's screen. The game thrives most in mobile play, in which the immediacy emphasizes the frightening moments.

True to the spirit of the novels and their TV adaptations, the horror focuses on dark, sci-fi-heavy twists on everyday life as a child and teen. You play as a student whose life goes off the rails, starting with a harrowing walk home from school. Nearby lurks wilderness plagued by deadly creatures.

Cut scenes, which play out in animations set to text, provide some harrowing moments, but the most satisfying scares come when you make a wrong choice that leads to a jump scare signaling your demise. Not only is the image itself off-putting, but the thought of having to lose your progress is equally horrifying.

"Goosebumps" plays at times like a game that came long before 2015. The lack of significant voice acting could be explained away as a conscious choice in an effort to stay true to the feel of R.L. Stine's source material, but it can more easily be attributed to the publisher's intent to favor expedience over quality.

While rough around the edges, the thrills the game provides make it well worth a pickup for "Goosebumps" fanatics in the mood for a visual novel-style feel that takes them back to their youth, reading the books late at night with a flashlight under the covers.
Publisher provided review code.

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