One of the things I love best about reviewing games is picking up titles without knowing what I’m getting into. Without looking at anything aside from a header image, I imagined that Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror was going to be some kind of mystery or adventure game. When I found out it was a puzzle game, I was pleasantly surprised. While it took me a few go-rounds and a quick run of the in-game tutorial, what I found turned out to be a fun game that tested my brain more than once.
Poltergesit: A Pixelated Horror puts players in the shoes of Henry B. Knight, a once-wealthy man who vowed to keep his family mansion free from intruders following the tragic death of his wife. It’s a standard, simple ghost story without much flair to it, which fits the game pretty well. Simple, somewhat uninteresting design features throughout make it feel like something I’d expect from a mobile game. I don’t know that that’s a condemnation, really – I’ve played some great mobile games – but I couldn’t shake the thought as I played.
Gameplay in Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror takes place in any of a number of areas of the mansion, divided into various rooms. In these rooms, you’ll find people or dogs who need scaring; how you go about it is up to you, but often there’s only one real way to achieve victory. From simple object-shaking to startle a room of folks to tossing items from one room to another, or even creating full-body apparitions or possessing the poor souls, your slew of powers is pretty broad. The right mix of these in the right places becomes like putting together an intricate machine filled with living, terrified parts.
As you progress through Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror, the challenges increase. New chapters take you into more modern eras, offering more distractions from the supernatural. Supernatural investigators or skeptics that can block out powers that make decisions more difficult will join in along the way, as well.. There are boss levels to unlock that feature powerful humans that can block out anything you do, and can’t be frightened until they’re alone in the level. All of this stacks up to seriously brain-bending puzzle action as you try and spook anyone and everyone with your limited, but versatile, repertoire.
Ultimately, Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror leaves some to be desired from a design perspective, but the puzzles and variety to solutions is fun, engaging, and difficult without being frustrating. Challenges present themselves in a nice, sequential order that builds upon itself level after level. It’s got a nice, unique charm that keeps things entertaining, and there’s something satisfying about watching the most hated, powerful foe give up and scramble out of your beloved home once and for all. I might expect a somewhat lower price than the $7.99 asking rate on Steam, but it’s not so high as to be off-putting. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a fun, different puzzler to tease your brain with.
[+Fun, unique gameplay]
[+Variety of levels and powers to play with]
[+Challenging but not insurmountable obstacles]
[-Somewhat uninspired design]
This game was reviewed for PC