ICYM 2015 - Goosebumps: The Game
Goosebumps: The Game is a point-and-click interactive novel. You play as yourself venturing through your recently haunted house and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. You encounter creepy, unfamiliar relatives, solve puzzles, help ghosts find peace, and contend with developing photos in a dark room. But, this is just two-thirds of the game.
The last third has you in the local shopping mall. It’s not enough you have to deal with the Slender-esque scenario of a robotic security guard chasing you, but there are killer mannequins, evil lawn gnomes, and Cronby the troll. This all builds up to a climatic showdown with the infamous Slappy the Dummy.
The game plays like an old-school point-and-click adventure. You move the cursor to an object/door and you interact with it. You have infinite item inventory space, but the trick with these games is to know when to use items you’ve picked up.
I have to warn you, this game can be difficult at times. You will die a lot if you’re not careful or don’t know what to do during enemy encounters. It'll be too soon if I never see a dark room puzzle in a video game again. ...Or the mannequin scenario -- those were just awful.
Base of the Bumps
When one hears “point-and-click” adventure, they’re likely to think of Telltale Games or the recent Life is Strange. That particular style goes back to the days of LucasArts in the 1990s with Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. Before that, there was ICOM Simulations with their brand of point-and-click. Déjà Vu: A Nightmare Comes True, Uninvited, and Shadowgate were revered titles for both the Macintosh Computer and the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
These games were notorious for their difficulty. You could easily die at anytime, anywhere. And these were some of the most violent games of their period. Don’t worry about Goosebumps being similarly violent. Goosebumps leaves much of that to your imagination.
With Goosebumps, Wayforward continues their nostalgia magic. With Contra 4, A Boy and his Blob, and DuckTales Re-Mastered in their catalog, they just add more and more titles that tap into that love for genres of yesteryear. Goosebumps: the Game adds to that momentum.
The game is not for those looking for a deep gaming experience. The player only uses the left analog stick or directional pad to move the cursor, and the X button is used to interact with the environment. This is how you go from room to room. This is how you pick up items and use items. It is a very simple process that any person can pick up a controller and play.
Visually, the game is a treasure trove of hand drawn characters rich in detail. Seeing character design that resembles an illustration as opposed to a polygon character is a welcomed change of pace. This aspect reinforces the literary roots of the game.
All the classic creatures that came from the covers of R.L. Stine's beloved series are faithfully re-created. If you a fan of the series, you appreciate the references throughout the game.
The music is minimalistic, which is fitting of the genre this game is inspired by. The droning incidental music is drawn from ICOM Simulations as well as game music composer Gerald Woodroffe. Woodroffe was a session musician for Robert Plant and Phil Collins, in addition to composing music for Horrorsoft's Elvira games and the infamous Waxworks.
Worth the Price Tag?
The game is priced at $14.99. For the time I put into the game, it’s not worthy of that amount. Wait for a reduced price. It’s a fun title, but it has limited replay value. Once you beat it, there is little reason to go back other than to collect trophies/achievements. If you’re award compulsive, then this game is worth the $14.99 because of the time you’ll spend. If you’re someone who wants to play it just for the sake of having played it, then wait for a sale.
Overall, if you expect a point-and-click experience akin to Telltale, this game is not for you. If you're looking for a chance to experience ICOM Simulation caliber point-and-click, this is worth a look.
The game is also available on Steam, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and 3DS.
Did you have a chance to play Goosebumps? Did you ever play any of the ICOM Simulation titles? Share in the comments!