This is one of those games that I basically got on a whim as I needed a low priced game for the Gamestop deal and it ended up being a bit of a gem in the rough here. Goosebumps is a short game but one that handles the first person horror genre well. It’s a fairly niche genre if you’re looking for a game like Bendy without going all the way extreme. This one’s definitely aimed a bit younger but they really put effort into each of the scares and level designs. So the game ends really quick but you’ll only need to spend a few bucks in order to get it so it balances out.
The game starts with you heading inside a house and finding out that R.L. Stine has been locked in a book. Slappy managed to turn the tables on him and cast the writer away while also ripping the pages out of the sealing book used to stop the dummy. You must now find all of the pages and take him down but you must dodge a whole array of monsters in the meantime such as the clown, the werewolf, and a zombie lady. You better run fast!
This game definitely reminds me of what a Five Nights at Freddy’s game would be like. There is danger around every corner and you’re always looking around. You can only run for a few seconds before you lose all of your stamina so you really want to be careful about when and where you run. You can outrun any of the monsters but walking is another matter entirely. There are plenty of places to hide so you can go under the table or in the shower for example but sometimes there will be a monster there as well. That’s how the clown got me once. Granted, there is an incentive to dying which is that just about every death to a different monster will get you a trophy the first time it happens. So sometimes you can just let them finish you off so that you can see what happens.
The gameplay is really simple though since it’s playing out as if you were really there. So you can only walk, run, and interact with objects. Only in the very last level do you get a laser gun although of course that is fun. The game wants to remain spooky though so it does come with a whole lot of restrictions. You can only fire for a few seconds and if you miss one of the enemies for even 1 second then it won’t be enough to defeat that fighter. You have to then wait for the cooldown and try to survive in the meantime. That cooldown also means that if you are up against more than 1 opponent at once then you are definitely going to be losing that encounter.
Each world also starts getting you involved in some new mechanics real quick. There are only 3 chapters in the game though so it does go by in the blink of an eye though. I’d say it’s probably a little longer than the 2 hours you see listed online but it’s probably around that time, maybe 2.5 hours at best or something like that. So if you see this game for $50 or something then it’s probably not worth getting until you find a discount. It’s not the kind of game you have to play day 1 after all, just play it once you see that it’s a convenient time to pick it up.
The graphics aren’t trying for anything special here but they look good enough. The characters are all recognizable right away. I’d maybe say this is more on the PS2 level than PS4 but as long as it’s clear that is the important part. The soundtrack is for the most part not very memorable but that does change in the final level where we get a final techno type theme once you get the gun. I thought that was a lot of fun and the game manages to give you a solid tune for the two boss fights against Slappy. I also give the game props for actually coming up with two real boss fights that have actual villain attacks and mechanics outside of the rest of the game where you’re just walking and interacting.
It’s the little things like that which showed that the game put in a bit of a real effort here. Ultimately it probably didn’t work since I hadn’t really heard anything about this game online before now but at least they tried. If they made a sequel to this I’d certainly be interested even if I think that is probably a long whiles away if it even happens at all.
So in the end whether you like this game or not will likely depend entirely on if you enjoy the first person style. You have to be in the mood for a fun horror game like this but if you enjoy that style then you will have a great time here. There are also a lot of important quality of life features here like constant save points so when you die you don’t have to redo a whole lot. That makes sense since the game is built around you dying a whole lot so it wouldn’t make sense if you had to go back every time. That would just end up being a drag right? One big issue that they somehow missed though was how you can’t skip dialogue. So if you die at the beginning of the boss fight then the villain will get his whole speech again.
It’s possible that the devs didn’t think about this because there aren’t many boss fights but wouldn’t it stand to reason that this is where you would be most likely to die? That’s definitely one thing I would change. The game is actually reasonably challenging which I appreciate. You will die a few times but in that case you don’t want to be stuck in cutscenes. Nothing will top the first Avatar game for Gamecube in that category but it’s always rough to feel stuck like that.
Overall, Goosebumps is a pretty fun game. You’ll definitely appreciate all the attentions to detail here. The first level is probably the best in terms of being a horror game though. Levels 2 and 3 start to become a bit more of an adventure. Particularly the third level since you get a gun in there while the second is more of a psychological horror as someone is giving you instructions and you have to decide if you will listen to him or not. The first is a classic horror though as you’re in an abandoned house with no way out and monsters around every corner. That’s definitely the level that you would be buying the game for without a doubt.