2 Spooky 4 Me
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror, Cute
Developer: Albino Moose Games
Publisher: Albino Moose Games, Screenwave Media
Release Date: 1 Mar, 2017
While you are supposed to be the character in Spooky’s, it does get a little development on why it came to the little house on the hill that is the jump scare mansion. It seems curiosity got the better of you, that and being a history enthusiast, to see what it has in store.
The rest is about the mansion, told by various notes, Spooky herself, or by other means. Other than knowing others have ventured in before, you get information on the monsters called Specimens with their respected number. If you are going to encounter it, there will be a note from someone who came into contact with it. Every once in a while a computer will show up, CAT_DOS, that has files on the specimens. Whether they are active, the method they use to kill, fatalities they caused, and a brief history on them.
Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion no doubt has a slow build-up. Going through around 100 rooms picking up the occasional note or Specimen 1, the cutout, popping out. Essentially bringing in the sense of the mansion not being as dangerous as it seems…until the dangerous specimens come out and play. Specimen 2 is used as a way to show how the Specimens will generally work. You do have an option to turn off jumpscares and Specimens if you are too scares or just want to go through the story without Specimens getting in the way.
To put it simply, running through rooms is most of the gameplay, it is simplistic but charming the way it was worked in. The main rooms you will see is jumbled up and randomly selected with some being exceptions. These exceptions being Specimen specific rooms, save rooms, or a variety based on whether or not you are being chased. Of course, deep in you will be speeding through these rooms but it is nice to see a lot of variety they put into the rooms, especially with the new designed ones in this HD version.
Every Specimen will be encountered at least once in their respective room than a chance to show up later. Each having their own queue of music, having a 50% chance of activating, and static with some Specimens. Once they become aware of you, Specimens will show what they are made of with the gimmicks they have. Most somewhat having some way of inhibiting your movement while others wastes no time to show you their own death screen. Such as Specimen 2 (Ink Boy) leaving Ink that slows you down and Specimen 6 (Happy Puppet Salesman) only attacking when you are not looking at him but he can certainly leave and appear behind you. Only two is area specific, so rest easy as only 10 will follow. Along with Specimens are minor enemies. While these are far and few between, these do play a part in the lore.
Each Specimen is inspired by something, whether it is something broad or narrowed down to one game or source. The most recognizable being Specimen 4 (Ringu), inspired by Japanese horror and RPGs like Corpse Party or Ju-on: The Grudge, and Specimen 6, inspired by The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask sharing expressions of the Mask Salesman and referencing Ben Drowned in its backstory.
Lastly, the minigames have appeared in the mansion! These minigames appear as three arcade machines featuring Spooky. One similar to Pac-Man (Mrs. Spook), one similar to Mario Kart (Spooky Kart), and is just killing as many people you want to before a meter runs out (Mall of Spook). The last one? That’s a secret you have to figure out.
The soundtrack is great. There is about three distinguishable tracks when not being chased and they fit ambiance of the mansion very well. Cycling them in a way that makes you suspicious of your surroundings as you go deeper. The Specimen soundtracks can be forgettable, especially when you do not encounter them for the remainder of the game or till way later. There are some that stick in your head such as Specimen 8’s (Deer God) and Specimen 4’s but you will generally know a Specimen is after you based on the music change or getting hit.
The sound effects do seem to go on the realistic side. From doors opening to being attacked sounds, or close to, what it would probably sound like. Especially the clicks of Specimen 3 creeping on you.
With switching from Gamemaker 8 to Unity more creativity can flow into the game. We have some new rooms and new lighting to work. I do find weird the bones are the same 2d graphics, but the Specimens are the main attraction. While some still have a 2d feel, they have been improved by the colors. The already 3d Specimens do have more of that feel in this version. More body to work with. One of the most noticeable is Specimen 11 (Burger Demon) that seems to have a crown of fire since we last saw it.
Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion: HD Renovation performs quite well despite the change of game engines. There is only one thing, the sensitivity for controllers does not change despite changing the settings for it.
Right now, replayability is dependent on how much the player wants to see. If you want to see all the endings, see all the death screens, or find all the secrets you can easy get close or to there with passwords. These passwords certainly encourages you to replay which is greatly appreciated with how many floors there are to go through.
Karamari Hospital, Endless Mode, and Build Your Own Mansion is planned to be implemented sometime in the near future to add more replayability. I’m sure I am not the only one waiting anxiously to see it in the renovation.
+ Specimen creativity
+ Charming gameplay
+/- Has that feel of being in Early Access (partly due to features available in the original not being available at first such as the minigames)
Whether it be the HD Renovation or the original, Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is a great game. When I heard it was going to be remade, I was enthusiastic as I loved the original but never got around playing the dlc or added content. If you are on the rope for the renovation, you can always play the original and can wait for the additional content to be added, one being dlc. The dev team is wonderful as they work to fix bugs as soon as they can, most being solved by the time I started playing, and interact with their fanbase. I highly recommend Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion: HD Renovation and go through all 1,000 floors yourself.
Let’s just hope Specimen 6 shows up only once in a playthrough…
(click on the image to see the rating explanation)