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Hauntii Review

Nintendo Switch by Moonloop Games 0 text

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Possess everything, discover nothing

"Hauntii" is a game that wears its unique aesthetic and gameplay mechanics proudly, offering players a hauntingly beautiful experience set in a monochrome afterlife. Developed by Moonloop Games, this twin-stick exploration shooter challenges you to navigate the mysterious world of Eternity as a ghost named Hauntii. Your mission is to regain lost memories and ultimately find peace.

The core gameplay revolves around a distinctive possession mechanic, allowing you to haunt objects and enemies to solve puzzles and overcome challenges. This mechanic adds a playful and experimental edge to the game, as you constantly explore what can be possessed and what effects this will have on your surroundings. The world of Hauntii is filled with hidden stars needed to progress, each unlocking new memories and abilities as you advance through the game.

Gameplay 7

Hauntii's gameplay is a blend of twin-stick shooting, puzzle-solving, and exploration. The primary hook of possessing objects and enemies introduces a layer of strategic depth as you manipulate the environment to progress. Initially, the mechanics are straightforward, such as haunting trees to shake loose currency. However, as you advance, the possibilities expand dramatically, from possessing roller coasters to giant whales.

Collecting stars to build constellations is central to progression, each star revealing more about Hauntii's past. These stars are scattered throughout the game world, often requiring creative use of the possession mechanic to uncover. However, the lack of clear guidance on how to locate these stars can lead to frustration. Players must often backtrack and experiment randomly to find the necessary stars, which can disrupt the game's pacing.

Upgrading Hauntii's abilities, such as health and essence, adds a light RPG element to the game. Yet, the decision to always respawn with only two hearts regardless of your maximum health can make some encounters unnecessarily challenging. This, combined with some difficult boss fights and a few poorly designed puzzles, can create moments of irritation.

Graphics 8

Visually, Hauntii is stunning, featuring a distinctive lino printing style and a limited color palette that sets it apart from other games. The game's art direction captures a haunting, otherworldly beauty, with detailed environments and expressive character designs. Despite its monochrome aesthetic, the game manages to convey a wide range of emotions and atmospheres, from eerie and somber to whimsical and playful.

The minimalist design does come with some drawbacks, particularly in terms of gameplay clarity. The fixed camera angles and lack of depth perception can lead to occasional cheap deaths and frustrating moments, particularly during combat sequences. However, these issues are relatively minor compared to the overall visual impact of the game.

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Storyline 7.5

Hauntii's narrative is emotionally engaging, centered around themes of memory, loss, and redemption. As you collect stars and build constellations, you unlock fragments of Hauntii's past, piecing together their life and the circumstances leading to their current state. These narrative moments are often abstract and touching, adding depth to the gameplay experience.

However, the story's delivery can be uneven. The lack of a clear central narrative structure and the need to hunt for story fragments can make the pacing feel disjointed. Some players may find the storytelling method too indirect, leading to a less satisfying narrative arc overall.

Multiplayer N/A

Hauntii is a single-player experience with no multiplayer component. The game focuses on delivering a personal, introspective journey that wouldn't lend itself well to a multiplayer format.

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Issues and Community Feedback

Community feedback on Hauntii has been generally positive, with many players praising its unique art style, hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, and innovative gameplay mechanics. However, some common criticisms include the lack of guidance in finding stars, the fixed camera angles causing gameplay frustrations, and the somewhat uneven pacing due to the need for backtracking and random exploration.

Conclusion 7.5

Hauntii is a visually and emotionally captivating game that offers a unique blend of exploration, puzzle-solving, and twin-stick shooting. Its standout art style, engaging soundtrack, and inventive mechanics make it a memorable experience. However, issues with pacing, lack of guidance, and some frustrating gameplay elements prevent it from reaching its full potential.

For fans of indie games that value artistic expression and emotional storytelling, Hauntii is definitely worth a playthrough. It may not be perfect, but its strengths far outweigh its flaws, making it a highlight of 2024's gaming landscape.

Pros and Cons

  • Unique art style
  • Emotional storytelling
  • Engaging soundtrack
  • Frustrating camera angles
  • Uneven pacing
  • Lack of clear guidance

Player Quotes

"Hauntii's possession mechanic is unlike anything I've played before. It kept me experimenting and discovering new ways to interact with the game world."

"The soundtrack is simply phenomenal. Each track perfectly matches the game's tone and enhances the overall experience."

"While I loved the game's aesthetics, the lack of clear guidance on star locations made some sections feel like a chore."

Explore More

Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.