$3.49 – Tested on PlayStation Vita (Game was purchased)
Haunt the House: Terrortown is a game all about scaring. In it you play a ghost who needs to scare the living daylights out of people who happen to be in different parts of a city. To do this you have to take over different objects that are scattered about in the rooms of each of the 4 buildings.
Each of the buildings has a terror meter. The more paranormal activity you cause, the creepier the meter gets. As this meter fills it allows you to do different things with objects. For example if you possess a cello at first you can only make it wiggle a bit. Then after scaring around the place for a while you will build up enough meter to play a note or two. Finally after you have freaked out the visitors enough you can smash the cello around. This will have them fleeing in no time.
The goal is to make all 20 people in each building leave. There are a few ways to do this. One is just freaking them out so much so that they run away. Another is scaring them so bad that they commit suicide. In my playthrough, the game said I had 5 suicides but I never witnessed one. Finally you can kill certain guests. The ones that you kill will turn into ghosts and you can use that ghost as your avatar if you see fit. These kills always will involve some sort of puzzle, so they are a little tricker to get than just the average person wandering about. You get extra props from me if you use the one that looks like the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man.
The game is has a really great art style, as you can see from the screens. All of the objects in each level have great animations too. From a pipe organ playing to a dinosaur skeleton chomping each is wonderfully vivid. I get a real Mutant Blobs Attack vibe from the characters, which is always a good thing.
The only thing that I was down on while playing is that it doesn’t seem to track your previous scores when playing nor does it let you use the ghosts that you unlocked from previous games. The game will rate you on the time it takes to completely scare or kill all the people in a building. In my game which lasted around 40min I got a B ranking. I would really like it if I could see how it would compare to my next game.
If you want to get a small taste for what you are in for with Haunt The House: Terrortown, you can check out the original flash version. From what I see, it is just one house and the ones in the PSM version are totally different. Well worth a download.
$1.99 – Tested on PlayStation Vita (Game was purchased)
Life of Pixel is about the journey of a pixel throughout the history of game/computer systems. You start at the very beginning with a ZX81 and work your way unlocking systems up to the NES era. Featured in Life of Pixel are the ZX81, Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Model B, Nintendo Gameboy, and Nintendo Entertainment System.
The developers at Super Icon did their best to try to keep everything as close to the original as possible. In such ways as using the same color palettes, pixel resolutions, etc. One thing I wish they did do though would be to match the game’s audio with the system you are traveling through. As it stands now, there is just one song that plays throughout each level.
The gameplay if fairly simple. You have a double jump and that is about it. One thing you will need to get used to is the fact that you always jump at a constant height. So you will have to plan you jumps and double jumps accordingly. The game will also add different platforming elements throughout, like gravity inversion, disappearing platforms and spikes.
The goal for each stage is to collect all of the coins so that you unlock the exit. You will want to also do this as fast as possible, as the game keeps track of your time for each stage. Also hidden are gems which usually are a little trickier. You don’t need to get these to unlock the exit, so you can always come back and clean these up.
One thing I should mention is that this game gets pretty hard. Some of it is getting used to the jumping and collision detection, but the rest is just cheap deaths that seem to occur rather often on multi-screen stages. You can’t really see what you are jumping into most of the time and it seems like 90% of the time it is an obstacle or an enemy. Also especially on the NES levels it seems like there is some slow down. But it might just be my mind playing tricks on me.
For $2 the game is worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of old school games (and the difficulty that goes along with them). Super Icon mentioned that they might have some plans to continue with the Life of Pixel series and I sure would like to see him make it to the 16bit era.