Review: Halloween Forever




"Halloween, Halloween, Halloween forever!" - James Franco said in my unpublished Halloween-themed Springbreakers fan fiction, and boy was he ever right.

Halloween Forever (PC)
Developer: Imaginary Monsters
Publisher: Imaginary Monsters
Released: October 26, 2016
MSRP: $4.99

I've played a million indie pixel art platformers done in the style of the NES and you know what? I'm still not sick of them; if you are, you can stop reading now and save yourself some time as Halloween Forever is one of them. If you're like me and love them, then read on.

An evil necromancer "weaves a spell," unleashing a bunch of evil spirits. At the same time, a pumpkin in a nearby forgotten pumpkin patch grows a humanoid body sporting overalls and starts projectile vomiting candy corn on a murder spree meant to end the evil. Why? Who cares! The premise is silly, which to me is what Halloween is all about so it works. I didn't go into this game expecting a deep narrative with character development and neither should you. That said, there are four characters to play as, each with two different endings which are just as cheesy as the premise for the game.

The entire game can be easily 100 percent completed (achievements wise) in under two hours for those who are vigilant and used to old-school platformer controls and their basic pattern-based AI. You've got a double jump, and the ability to rapidly puke out giant candy corn at a slightly arched angle. Controls feel tight and responsive, which made both platforming and fighting baddies feel great.

Speaking of baddies, you'll be taking on tons of different spooky, Halloween-themed foes such as bats, spiders, grim reapers, and of course, skeletons. Each level consists of two sections, with each section having its own boss. Like the rest of the game, bosses are pretty easy or at least they were for this NES-addicted critic. Even without my prior experience, I'd still say the difficulty was rather light due to enemies' basic AI and easily learnable patterns. Even the bosses are easy to topple and cheese after you've played them a few times, though some people would say the same about Dark Souls' bosses. 

Levels take place in a few different locations that you'd probably expect to find in a Halloween-themed game, such as a mansion, a creepy church, and a dungeon with a few hundred spikes. As the game is heavily influenced by games from the NES era, the levels look a bit bland due to using repetitive textures, but this makes it far more retro-feeling than, say, Shovel Knight. As you'd expect for a game that can be completed in under two hours, levels are quite short, though each has two different paths you can take. These paths either lead directly to the boss, or have a detour to find extra lives, unlock a new character, or find one of the six mysterious runes required to see the alternate endings for each character.

The additional (and adorable) unlockable characters all control the same aside from their attacks, which I won't spoil here. What I will say is that the starting character is easily the weakest of the bunch, so your first playthrough will almost certainly be your hardest. Also, if you do somehow manage to lose all your lives, you have to start all the way from the beginning of the game. I never had this issue, but as I've mentioned, I'm a seasoned veteran.

While Halloween Forever is simple, I think the developer achieved what it set out to do, which is to make a fun, pick-up-and-play platformer that would feel at home on the NES. As someone who loves the console and still goes back and plays its games, I can appreciate this spooky little game. It's cute, it's easy, it's colorful, it has a decent chiptune-ish soundtrack, and it illustrates perfectly how we all feel about candy corn (barf). 


[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Halloween Forever reviewed by Jed Whitaker



Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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Jed Whitaker
Jed Whitaker   gamer profile



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