The Spookening‘s main character is a ghost. No spoilers, but that should have been evident from the name alone. At the beginning of each stage, the character dies from a horrible accident—like tying his bow tie too tight and suffocating, or tripping on his scarf and breaking his neck—and must scare enough townspeople in each level to be resurrected. It goes without saying that the unfortunate nature of these ‘accidents’ should make even the clumsiest of people feel good about themselves.
Each scare sends the villagers running, and as they scream, releases a part of their soul—or, as the game calls it, Soular Power”. Collect enough Soular Power to be resurrected within the time limit, and you’ll advance to the next stage. Even though the idea seems simple, it works quite well because each stage makes good use of the surrounding environment. Soular Power can also be used to cause bigger scares which, in turn, release more power from villagers. These bigger scares involve making carts move, seemingly by themselves, or causing scary hands to pop out at them. Be careful—scare a villager too much and they’ll die. It’s best to avoid that, as each dead villager turns into a ghost who can then steal away your already collected power.
The Spookening contains 20 levels in all, with some nice graphics and sounds on offer in each one. It also has a few fun features, in the form of leaderboards to compete on and power-ups. Not only do power-ups make scaring villagers more fun, but they make it easier, allowing your ghostly form to turn invisible or teleport behind villagers to sneak up on them. Each scare will reward you with a phrase—like “Boo Ya!”, “That’s the Spirit!”, or “Bloody Gorgeous!”—and causing large groups of villagers to run away becomes seriously satisfying. After the single player game is completed, there are online leaderboards to try where you can compete with others for the highest score.
The Spookening is a fun, original idea that is simple but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Whether scaring villagers with your screams or startling them with the range of scary objects on offer, there’s a lot of fun to be had chasing them around each level. It’s also a relatively easy title to pick up and play, due to some fairly intuitive touchscreen controls. There are a few minor flaws in the menus, where some of the options being misspelled and with odd characters, but that’s easily overlooked. Overall, The Spookening is intuitive and very fun.
This review is based on a review copy of the Android version of the Spookening by Modesty