It's Halloween - the scariest night of the year. Guisers will be knocking on doors, looking for candy. Michael's parents have had to go out for the evening, leaving Michael to babysit for his little sister, Alice. But Michael isn't worried. With his parents out of the way, he can keep all that delicious Halloween candy all to himself, instead of handing it out to the guisers. Oh boy, he can almost taste it now. Wait a minute... where IS the candy? It appears that Michael's parents have forgotten to leave any candy out. But that can't be right. They MUST have left it somewhere. Where could it be? It's up to you to help poor Michael find the candy, before his parents arrive home.
The game is entirely keyboard controlled, and is very simple to play. The idea of the game is to search your house, looking for Halloween candy, but since this is a Halloween game, you'll get plenty of scares along the way. You can move Michael Up, Down, Left, or Right, simply by using the Arrow keys. Interact, talk, pick things up, or search items in the game world by pressing Ctrl. Shift opens your inventory. Use Left and Right Arrow keys to scroll through your inventory items, and then press Ctrl to use an item. You can save your game at any time, by entering Michael's bedroom, and interacting with his computer. I thought that was a clever way of doing things - a bit different from just the usual 'Save Game' option you get at the Main Menu. Quitting the game is easily done, simply by pressing 'Esc'.
Arrow Keys - Move Michael
Ctrl - Search items, pick things up, use items, interact
Shift - Open inventory
Halloween House uses a top-down view style, meaning that you are looking down on the game from above (except for a few cut-scenes). Strong, vibrant colours have been used throughout, which gives the game a lot of charm. Michael, and his sister Alice (and his parents) have huge eyes, and they remind a little bit of the Southpark characters. This game is very interactive - you can search things, open, close, use, or play with practically everything you see. You can turn on the TV to see a horror film, play with Alice's rocking horse and toy bricks, kick your football around, look in mirrors, search through closets, and more. Even the Grandfather Clock in the dining room has a swinging pendulum, which is a lovely touch! And of course, being a Halloween game, you'll find some Halloween pumpkins as well.
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS
As soon as you start Halloween House, you will hear some nice, creepy music, to set the mood. There are some effective sound effects in the game. Things like Alice's rocking horse squeaking, light switches being turned on or off, the phone ringing, and playing with your race track add a lot of fun to the game. I especially like the twinkly sound as you pick up an item. Music for the game is spooky, and adds atmosphere, but after a while, it gets repetitive. A bit of variety in the music would have been nice, but it is still very effective.
Unfortunately, there is a bug in the game that can stop you from completing it. After you have picked up the candy and given it to Ghostface (after he has rung the doorbell), if you save the game and then quit, when you load the game again, Ghostface will be ringing the doorbell again. Since you have already given him the candy, you no longer have any candy, so he will 'Trick' you, and the game will end.
Halloween House is a lovely little adventure game that I enjoyed playing. It's a brilliant story about a young boy who has been left in charge on Halloween night. You'll find plenty of tense moments in it that will make you jump, but every 'scare' turns out to be something quite ordinary. The strong, bright colours are very effective, and characters themselves look very cute. The top-down view works well, and the whole game is very easy to play. The only complaint I have is the bug with Ghostface, but hopefully this can be fixed in a future release of the game.
You can download the latest version of Halloween House. The direct link is here - http://biphome.spray.se/empire/halloweenhouse.zip
Review by: Frodo