Goosebumps: The Game Review

Player beware, you're in for a scare...

Goosebumps The Game Review
17th February, 2016 By Sarah Morris
Game Info // Goosebumps: The Game
Goosebumps: The Game Boxart
Publisher: GSP
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Players: 1
Subtitles: Full
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Point & Click

Ever since the first Goosebumps book in 1992, R.L Stine's horror series has been a staple of many a tween/teen's bookshelves - except mine. One fateful night on a family holiday in the Welsh countryside got me banned from watching the TV adaptation pretty much indefinitely, after a rather troubled night's sleep. It's not our fault that it was that episode about kids disappearing from a summer camp, while a mysterious beast roams the surrounding woods, picking everyone off one by one each night. To add to the scariness, this was over Halloween too, because we can distinctly remember that not even the Simpson's Halloween Special we'd bought earlier that day could quell the nervousness, with each bump in the night convincing us more and more that that Sabre beast was just outside our bedroom window, desperate to get its claws into us. And it's not like we've got much braver as we've got older either, as our other half will likely agree, as they recall the ill-fated ghost walk, after which the whole night was spent nudging them awake whenever we heard a noise from outside our hotel room. Which was often.

Goosebumps The Game Screenshot

Yes. Yes we do.

Which may make you wonder why exactly we've been given the task of reviewing a Goosebumps game. Well, within a few years of The Goosebumps Incident, we'd read the local library's entire stock of Goosebumps books from cover to cover, with nary a nightmare in sight, taking in pretty much every entry in the sixty-two-book-strong original series, plus numerous spin offs and sequels too - even if we never dared to go back to the TV show. And it's these books that Goosebumps: The Game draws from, making us a somewhat unlikely expert. Acting as a prequel to the recently released Goosebumps film, which stars Jack Black as R.L Stine, the ghosts, ghoulies and nightmarish creatures from his stories have been released into your previously quiet, suburban neighbourhood, causing chaos. And, as is always the case, it falls to you to put things right.

It starts with a day like any other - you finish school, and start the long walk home. Cutting through the nearby forest on your way back, you start to notice things seem a little… off, what with the murderous tree man, a rather vicious poodle and it's odd owner, and what appears to be a crashed removal van blocking your street. The real surprise comes when you get home though, and your house has been replaced by a spooky mansion, inhabited by an Aunt Dahlia, whom you've never seen before in your life, and three ghostly kids living in the hallway. A point and click much like that of years gone by, in order to get your old life back, you'll need to explore every nook and cranny, tapping to pick up anything and everything that's not nailed down, before using them to navigate the game's many, many puzzles.

Goosebumps The Game Screenshot

In order to progress, you'll have to solve each of the ghosts' problems, so they can rest in peace.

Just like the Monkey Islands, Grim Fandangos and Simon the Sorcerers of the old point and click world, Goosebumps requires a certain warped logic to get through many of it's puzzles. For example, the best way to stop the blood-thirsty Annihilator 3000 robot isn't to reflect its lasers back at it with a hand mirror you found in a bathroom draw, but to spray some dish soap around its feet and make it fall flat on it's face. Likewise, you'll find yourself using a coat hanger to gingerly remove a key that's fallen into the garbage disposal's sink; or employing the solidifying effects of gargoyle saliva and monster blood to prevent a shrinking room from squashing you alive, before trying to work out the best way to get out of drinking Aunt Dahlia's suspicious glass of prune juice.

Death and game overs are fairly frequent too - and often, only by messing up, can you work out what to do next. For example, in the first hour or so of the game, the protagonist is making their way home from school through the woods, and comes across a kind of zombified tree man. Try and pass by, and his vines will strangle you to death - but use the weed killer picked up from the school janitor's shed on him, and he'll cower in the corner, leaving you to carry on your journey unimpeded. Only by being a roughneck of a child and starting on all these suspicious persons before they have a chance to get you, will you make it out of Goosebumps alive - that and saving frequently, anyway.

Goosebumps The Game Screenshot

Weed killer - it's super effective!

For fans of Goosebumps, or those who miss the old-school point and click games of years gone by, Goosebumps: The Game is a surprisingly solid example, and refreshingly different for a kids film tie-in. It may be short, it may have a slightly annoying tendency to unexpectedly kill you, and some of it's puzzles are characteristically illogical, but it's jam-packed with references to Goosebumps stories of years gone by and various 90s must-haves, making it a bit of a nostalgia trip for those who grew up alongside the series too. For fans of the books, the film, or just those looking for something a little bit different from their 3DS, this is well worth a look.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS

StarStarStarHalf starEmpty star
Pretty good
  • +
    Classic point and click fun
  • +
    Loads of Goosebumps references
  • +
    Some nice puzzles
  • -
    Too many accidental deaths and no auto save
  • -
    Story is a bit lacklustre
  • -
    Some puzzles can seem a bit illogical
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