Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror (PS Vita) Review

By Stuart Lawrence 22.07.2015

Review for Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror on PS Vita

Mr. Henry B. Knight isn't happy. The recently deceased loves his manor so much that he doesn't want anyone else to have it, but some people seem to be occupying it. What should Henry do? Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror is an isometric puzzle game where the task is to scare people and dogs out of a mansion. This concept is quite unique, but is it entertaining? After a look at the PC version back in May, Cubed3 now gives the PS Vita edition the review treatment.

Poltergeist starts off in the late 1800s, and as progression is made, different eras to play in will unlock, including the 80s, the modern era and the office era, totalling 60 levels in all to test the brain in how to scare people out of the home of Henry. Each level is split into different rooms with a number of people in each, and the object of the game is to scare everyone - no exceptions - out of the house with a limited number of powers.

Some basic powers are granted to begin with, such as moving items about and making noises, but soon go onto things like possession and making phantoms appear. All of these have a certain effect and can scare a certain amount of people in a number of rooms; for example, moving a table will scare the people in the same room as that table, but if the table were to be flung into another room using a more powerful move, more people can be scared at the same time. Simple, right?

There is a problem, though. Each person has a certain amount of health that needs to be taken down before they are scared out of the manor, and on top of that, there are a limited number of powers to use in each level. If all powers are used and the inhabitants are still there, the level has to be restarted. There are many obstacles in the way that make it difficult to achieve this, though. Some people are distracted by their own entertainment, so their attention has to be grabbed before it is possible to see how much health they have. Other people take the form of spiritual mediums, priests and ghostbusters (yes, that's right), and have special abilities that block certain powers from working within their room - but these can all be circumvented and scared out through planning each move before using any powers, and checking what they can and can't block. Naturally, this may take some trial and error.

Screenshot for Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror on PS Vita

Each era has three boss levels. These bosses are even more powerful than the special characters and cannot be scared out until every other inhabitant is gone. Some of these levels, however, are easier than the normal levels, and a number of normal levels aren't really puzzles at all, requiring one move with only one special power to use. Most of these are only to introduce said special power, though. Overall, the majority of levels should require a bit of brain power, with some trial and error to figure out. After all 60 levels have been completed, a time trial mode will unlock, bringing even more of a challenge.

The graphics are quite charming, especially the little sprites of the people and dogs that need scaring, and their expressions are very clear - even without their health bars it is easy to tell how frightened they are (or not) just by looking at them. There are even little emoticons in speech bubbles if their emotions weren't clear enough. The same music plays throughout, from the menu right until the boss levels. Usually, this would get tiresome, but not here. It's subtle enough that it isn't noticeable, but it will be remembered every time the game is turned on or thought about.

There is an unfortunate issue that can dampen the experience, though. Although Poltergeist can be put into sleep mode, after resuming it will occasionally crash, so it can become an annoyance for people half way to completing a level, and especially if playing in short bursts. The loading times can also be a bit long in getting from the menu to the game itself. Trophies even appear as unlocked, but they won't actually be unlocked on PSN, which can look weird when it is discovered that everything but the first era has been completed according to the Trophy list.

Screenshot for Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror is a very charming game that is great to play for long sessions or quick bursts. It has quite a few levels that can really get the mind thinking, and some of them have multiple ways of completion. Despite its problems, it's worth buying for people who fancy being the ghost rather than being frightened by them, and who enjoy getting their brains picked.

Developer

Glitchy Pixel

Publisher

Glitchy Pixel

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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