If you like to throw a scare at the townsfolk, then Haunted Halloween will be right up your alley. That is the general premise of this game. The game is set on a map with the town in the centre and two mansions on either side for each player. Players begin their turns with tokens used to build up your mansion or to make moves to attack or scare the town in the middle. As you scare each of the houses in the town, you’ll get bonus points for scaring an entire neighbourhood and if you are doing really well, the townsfolk will put together a mob to fight back.
You can select three kinds of units to play with – scaring units, fighting units or hybrids and you’ll be able to choose these at the beginning of each match so you’ll need to use strategy to ensure that you have enough of each to see your way through the entire game. This may seem complicated at first but as you play, you’ll begin to see patterns and be able to put together strategies more easily as you earn experience. You get a certain amount of moves and you can do whatever you want with them – build your mansion or scare the townspeople – you just need to figure your strategy from start to finish and hope that everything goes as planned.
With lots of choices, you’ll always be able to employ different ideas to make sure you don’t get bored by the game. There are vampire units or werewolves and each will work differently and better depending on what you’re up against. The hybrids can work to both fight and scare people and the werewolves are great to defend you against an angry mob. A help function is available to inform you of what the different options are capable of doing so that is rather convenient until you have some experience under your belt.
The game design is fun – some characters are more detailed than others but that makes sense in the scare world. Most of the characters are predictable as they tend to adhere to a Halloween theme. The graphics run well on the iPhone 5 which is significant as that can make or break a game. It’s less fluid on the iPhone 4.
You can unlock some items through experience but some select items are only available for purchase. Because you’re generally playing against an opponent, it can make the game unbalanced if they’re more willing to purchase items than you are. These items aren’t that powerful but they can be bought and used immediately so that can really have an impact. You can opt to play alone but that gets boring rather quickly. There are challenges available that are fun and can teach you how to use new tactics which only builds your experience. There are only nine in total and more would be nice to see.
Haunted Hollow has a “pass and play” feature that lets you pass your phone to a friend and run more than a single session which is great if you’re using the game to keep the kids occupied in the back seat on a road trip or if you’re playing with a friend. If you don’t have a friend that likes to play, you can take on a random matched opponent but the game take some time so they might quit before the game is done and you’ll not be able to reconnect. It is a fun game overall and as a free game, you should give it a shot. If you find that it only works best if you make purchases and you don’t want to, you can always move on to something new.