If you’re looking for a relaxing, family-friendly journey through a quaint manor “haunted” by adorable ghosts . . .
THEN GET THE HELL OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN.
At first glance, Spooky’s House of Jump Scares looks like a cute love letter to 90’s gaming that kiddos might play online during a weekly Computer Lab “class.” Aw, look at that. A sweet lil’ ghost girl challenges you to navigate through 1000 rooms until you inevitably reach “the end.” If there is an end. “Cuz I don’t know,” she actually says before she floats cheerfully through the ceiling. A YouTube comment literally describes her as “kawaii.” Unironically.
The “rooms” are tiny. Just go from door to door. You can even use short bursts of stamina to speed things along. Eventually, charming cardboard cutouts of baby monsters will pop out of the walls. These are the “jump scares” right? Every fifty floors there’s an elevator where you can save your hard-won progress and stare at a motivational poster. How thoughtful! Everything is going so well until you stumble upon a note that appears to be written in . . . um . . . cranberry juice?
“Spouting. Splashing. Soaking.
Innards. Ingest. Invoking.
Nailing. Never, stops the Choking.”
Something’s not . . . Oh God, something’s very wrong in Spooky’s House. As you descend into the bowels of Hell, there’ll be more than cardboard cutouts jumping out to scare you. Spooky has populated her manor with a series of “Specimens” that can and will kill you in awful, graphic, and messy ways. Many of these creatures pay homage to classic monsters plucked right out of the horror genre, but don’t let nostalgia lull you into a false sense of security. They’ve been cooped up inside all day and now they’re just itching to tear you apart. I bet you’re glad you can sprint now, right? Generally, each Specimen will usher in a new floor layout, swapping one chilling aesthetic for another. When you’re running through the gory halls of the damned, you’ll find yourself longing for the double-digit dungeon rooms at the beginning of the game.
When you’re not too busy evading nightmare fuel, take a moment to stop and smell the rotting carcasses. For a game that purposefully made itself look 20 years old, Spooky’s is practically oozing with bonus features. Besides the world-building notes left behind by lab assistants and past victims, each area tells its own story with unique features and mechanics. Additionally, there are a few delightfully demented minigames tucked into the manor walls that reflect the game’s morbid juxtaposition of cute and creepy. If that’s not enough to keep you occupied, Spooky herself drops in every 250 rooms or so to give you a fun surprise.
Oh, and you’ll want to stay busy. Trust me. Spooky doesn’t like idle players. If she catches you bumming around in one spot for too long, she might just send you a playmate. Wouldn’t want you to get bored, now would she?
Spooky’s House of Jump Scares is available now on Steam for free.