Eric Kelly On December 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Haunted House Cryptic Graves LogoSteam has become something of a dumping ground for products that are frequently released in an incomplete state, usually by the virtue of billing themselves as ‘Early Access’. Most of these games are indies; However, some games can apparently skip this process just by nearly making use of an old IP. Such is the case with Haunted House: Cryptic Graves, a remake of an old Atari 2600 classic, which has been remade once before. But it seems that these attempts to resurrect a dead property are best left alone, because this game is haunted by a complete failure of what it’s trying to imitate.

Right out of the gate issues crop up with the game’s trouble of rendering the textures that show up on the title screen. Also attempts to lower the graphics quality or resolution result (at least on my rig) in the rendering getting all messed up and going dark. Upon starting the game I also discovered that I needed to click on the screen in order to get the game to ‘refocus the active window’ to be able to look around. The game being a remake of the original Atari classic, deals with your character being the heir to an estate, who will earn the manor provided she manages to sleep there for a night without fleeing the premises. Because of course the house is haunted. Only that’s about as much story you get, as the rest is told through the ‘Logbooks and Notes of Doom’. There is some voice acting, only it is terrible, and not to mention the audio quality is completely mixed.

Gameplay is done through a first person perspective, but the controls are only revealed to you through tool-tips, but only when it finds them necessary. This is because the menu screen does not have a help index, thus making it difficult to learn how to do things in case you forget or are stuck. Not to mention the controls are almost strictly keyboard and mouse, with broken game pad support. But the protagonist can use her abilities to peer into the supernatural world and reveal and highlight interactive objects or monsters to avoid. And this is where the game completely falls apart. Not only can she not sustain this state for more than 10 seconds, but doing so also makes it incredibly hard to see. Although even being out of this state, it’s hard to get a good fix on what interactive or not, since everything has a fuzzy appearance. Even more, Enemy AI is seemingly broken, as once you manage to escape them, they will continue pursuing you even though you are well out of sight. I was being chased by a Stalker, and the staircase I had used to flee from had it camp there, preventing me from going back down, lest I wanted to die. And that’s another thing. The spiral staircase wouldn’t let me go back up it normally, forcing me to hop on each individual step. Also much like ‘Supernatural Vision’ your avatar can’t run for very long. Oh and death means getting thrown back to the title screen, as there is no retry option or checkpoints aside from your last save point.

So what we have here is a game that tries to ape Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but it fails on every conceivable level. There is however an alchemy spell system, but like I said earlier, there’s no help box as to how it actually works. Add to the fact that items can refuse to spawn, or flags refuse to activate forcing a restart of the entire game. Only I refuse to play another second of a game that has to be in alpha or something, since it’s clearly unfinished. It just goes to show that just because a game runs, it doesn’t means it works. And even if it did, it still wouldn’t be much fun. Atari has fallen very far if it thinks it’s acceptable to release a game like this out into the Steam Wilds. It truly is a Haunted House… of complete crap. Avoid this game like the plague.


Not only does the game not provide a help tab on the system menu, but the controls are also sluggish, and some items actually fail to spawn.


Despite using the Unreal 4 Engine, the game looks like a very bad ps2 game, and the game is unoptimized leaving older rigs some framerate issues.


Bad quality voice acting including sampling rates. Music is mostly ambient, but is very generic and not even competent at creating tension.


This game has a whole litany of technical issues that is quite large, but even outside of that, it’s a slapdash product that is unfinished, let alone remotely fun.

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