Haunted House from Atari brings us a completely overhauled take on the classic Atari 2600 release. Learn more in our Haunted House review!
Haunted House from Atari brings us a completely overhauled take on the classic Atari 2600 release. Haunted House launched way back in 1982, and it had you controlling a pair of eyes that represented your character as it walked around the titular location, trying to collect items while avoiding enemies such as bats and spiders. Oh, and, you know, ghosts. Can’t have a haunted mansion without some ghosts!
It’s now 2023, and we’re getting an homage you’ll play from an isometric perspective as you explore a procedurally generated location, which means this one has a roguelite twist. As for its story, Zachary Graves has been missing for a week. The famous collector of supernatural objects was last seen at his mansion. His niece Lyn enlists the help of her friends to visit the allegedly haunted house. After entering the house, Lyn is surprised by a group of… something. All she could see right before being knocked out were a bunch of pairs of glowing eyes.
Upon waking up, she’ll get to meet Spooky, a friendly ghost who used to work for Zachary Graves. Unfortunately, there was an accident during one of their many adventures, and Spooky ended up as a ghost on the other side. Spooky lets Lyn know that her uncle is currently trapped in the mansion. The good news is that one of the items your uncle had in his collection is a magical urn that can be used to imprison ghosts. The urn was mysteriously broken, thus unleashing all of the ghosts it had previously been used to trap.
It also placed a curse on the house, which is why when someone enters, they won’t be able to leave… unless they manage to put back together the urn, trap all the ghosts that have escaped, and make it back to the entrance without turning into a ghost themselves! The urn broke into three pieces, and it’s now up to you to find the three pieces, put the urn back together, rescue your uncle, AND rescue your friends. Spooky mentions that due to the urn’s magic, the house’s walls shift and turn, so every time he wakes up, it’s like he’s in a new house.
You’ll move around each area by using the left analog stick. To run, press and hold down the R2 button. If, on the other hand, you need to slow down, you can sneak around by using the L2 button. Monsters can see you and the light of your lantern, and they can also hear you, which is why sneaking around is important. The X button will be for interacting. You can use your lantern with the Square button to light up your path. The Circle button will allow you to dodge. You can use the right analog stick to swing the camera a bit so that you can look at what lies ahead… or at what might be chasing after you!
If you need to check your map, all you must do is press up on the D-Pad. Items you collect can be used with the Triangle button. You can switch around between items by using the L1 and R1 buttons. What types of items will you be able to collect? You might find a stun trap that you can deploy to, well, stun an enemy. You could also find a ghost costume that will allow you to sneak past enemies without them noticing your… for a short period of time. There’s also the possibility of finding food that you can eat to recover some of your lost health.
Oh, and you should definitely check your notebook by pressing the Touchpad on the DualSense! By opening your notebook, you’ll be able to check some information on Lyn’s status so that you can review her current health, stamina – which is needed for running or dodging – speed, lantern power, stealth, how many urn shards she’s collected, coins and gems in her possession, any items currently in her inventory, as well as how many cats she’s rescued, cartridges she’s collected, and kitchen utensils she’s recovered. You can also review information on individual items and collectibles learn more about the characters you’ll meet on your journey, the enemies you’ll have to best, and the places you’ll visit.
Enemies that are stunned can be attacked with your lantern so that you can suck up their energy in order to defeat them. If you’re good enough, you can also try to sneak up on an enemy and then use your lantern for a super powerful attack that will instantly defeat them. Another way of defeating all enemies is by locating the magic idol in the room and placing it on the altar to unleash its mighty power. This will also remove curses on doors so that you can continue exploring the mansion. On top of that, the idol will create a magical chest with a rare item as a reward for your efforts.
The power of magic lamps can also be used to break the curse on doors while also helping you vaporize enemies. You will first need to light the magic lamps by removing the phantom chains that bind them. By using your lantern, you’ll be able to take care of the chains… as long as you’re sneaky enough and none of the enemies notice what you’re doing! By lighting all magic lamps, a magical treasure chest will also be created.
When your health runs out and you’re defeated, you’ll be sent back to the mansion’s entrance. From there, you’ll be able to meet Oswald. He’s your uncle’s butler. By spending gems, you can help take care of the many, many renovations that the house needs. There’s the main staircase to consider, as well as the fountain, the plants, the floor, the wallpaper, the columns, and the chandeliers.
Be sure to visit the shop that is run by Sam. You can spend gems there to boost your starting health and stamina, boost the damage dealt by the lantern, add more item slots to your inventory, increase the speed at which stamina recovers, decrease how much noise you make, and even have Lyn start each new run with some extra coins. Coins are also important since they can be spent during one of your runs to add some useful items to your inventory.
You can also visit Tobias, who runs the museum of relics. He collects the most valuable treasures that humanity has ever created: video games! Whenever you find a new relic – a.k.a. an old-school cartridge, be sure to pay Tobias a visit! There’s also the mysterious basement, which has four locked doors for which you’ll need to locate the special keys. Another character you’ll meet is Jacques, who happens to be the master chef. Since the ghosts stole his gear, he’ll task you with retrieving it. You will also find Matha, the housekeeper. She wants you to help her find her poor kitten who are lost somewhere in the mansion.
The game has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy, and there are 8 Bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, and 7 Gold trophies for you to work on. The first trophy you’ll get will be for completing the game’s tutorial. After that, trophies will pop for sneaking up on an enemy to defeat it, purchasing an upgrade for Lyn, finding and placing the idol on the pedestal, breaking the chains from the lamps, entering and escaping from the spirit world, using the ghost costume item, finding all Atari cartridges, kitchen utensils, and cats, finding all enemies in the game, defeating all bosses, and freeing each of your friends, to name some examples.
Haunted House brings us a completely overhauled take on the classic Atari 2600 release. As Lyn, you’ll have to find a way to rescue not only your missing uncle but also your friends who had joined you on this adventure. You’ll be working your way through a procedurally generated mansion that changes for each new run as you slowly but surely make some progress by upgrading your character’s stats and abilities. Haunted House is out on PlayStation 5 with a $19.99 price tag. There’s also a PlayStation 4 version of the game available for the same price.
This Haunted House review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Atari.