Haunt [Review]

  • Platform: Xbox 360 Arcade (Kinect only)
  • Published by:Microsoft
  • Developed by: NanaOn-Sha
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB Rating: E For Everyone
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Release Date: January 18th, 2012
  • Price: 800 Microsoft Points

There has been an interesting trend lately in using the Xbox Live Arcade format to release pretty good Kinect based arcade games. We’ve seen Fruit Ninja Kinect as well as digital versions of The Gunstringer, both have done extremely well and are probably the best Kinect only titles to have seen release. Later this year we are even supposed to see the spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon in the highly anticipated Project Draco, which will be a Xbox Live Arcade title as well. Earlier this month the Xbox Live Arcade saw the release of a new Kinect only title called Haunt. The game itself was unveiled last year and then we didn’t really hear much about it for a while, then we were blindsided with a release date for Haunt a mere week before it’s release. This is a bit disappointing that Microsoft wouldn’t make a bigger push to advertise a game that was going to work with their highly advertised Kinect device. Does Haunt deserve a purchase?

The first thing I’ll say about this game is that I originally thought it was going to be a horror based game, sort of like Rise Of Nightmares, I was surprised that the game was more family friendly and aside from taking place in a haunted mansion and being a first person perspective, that is where the comparison ends with Rise Of Nightmares. The controls for Haunt seem to fix any issues that Rise Of Nightmares suffered from, to further my surprise, Haunt wasn’t on rails at all. You have a flashlight that works as a pointer and you actually walk in place to walk in the game. Kinect picks up your movements very accurately and using a flashlight to point which way to turn is a great control scheme. You also use your hands to open doors, pull open chests and furniture as well as fend off ghosts and ghouls along the way.

The game’s story is pretty interesting, it takes place in Benjy’s mansion, you wake up to find yourself in this strange mansion and Benjy communicates with you as well as helps you learn the controls in a tutorial sort of way. You are tasked with finding these flasks that can turn his machine on that can rid his mansion of these ghosts and ghouls. Benjy helps you out throughout the game, he takes the form of paintings in the house and helps you figure out your goals as well as puzzles.

Ghosts can pop out of anywhere at anytime, you’ll be warned to dodge or duck and then you have to follow what the screen indicates you to do. When you dodge certain ghosts you are then instructed to punch the ghost and then shine it with your flashlight. Then the ghosts attack again and you repeat the process. Later on in the game you can use voice commands to get through parts of the mansion. During the game you actually inherit some of the ghosts abilities. Using the voice commands actually puts you in a more realistic state and immerses you rather well.

The graphics of the game are pretty cartoonish, nothing spectacular but they aren’t bad either. The game itself is rather short, I completed it in around 4 hours, but you can’t argue with the price tag. $10 or 800 Microsoft points will get you this pretty inventive game. All in all the game itself does a lot right and very little wrong. If you were looking for a Kinect experience that isn’t on rails and that is a genre that isn’t stale and beaten to death, then this is a game you definitely should pick up.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

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