With Halloween just around the corner, it seemed appropriate to go searching for a spooky app to cover this week. I was thinking maybe a pumpkin carving app, or how to make ghoulish treats, or homemade makeup from a mixture of flour, water and food coloring (could you imagine the blocked pores and sweating?), but I ended up finding something even better.
I’ve made no secret of my love of puzzle apps in the past, so when I plugged the word “Halloween” into the App Store and “Haunted Halloween Escape” popped up, I had no choice but to download it.
Along the same lines as “Can you escape?” and “Escape if you can,” Halloween Escape presents you with a pretty simple-looking room with all the sophisticated graphics of a Space Invaders game, yet it hides many secrets.
There is, of course a Halloween theme to it all, with ghouls, ghosts and vampires, but the name of the game remains the same: you have to collect tools and solve clues in order to be able to escape from the room.
Spooky specters AND a puzzle all-in-one? Love it! Had to have it.
How it works
Download the app, and up comes your first image of the room. Tap on “Instructions” and you’ll be taken to some quite basic notes on how to navigate the game and pick up objects. You’ll certainly have an advantage if you’ve played this kind of app before, but even if you’re a newbie, you’ll get how things work after a short while.
Once you choose to “Continue” you’ll be looking at a fireplace with a cauldron bubbling away, and carved pumpkins on either side. A ghost hovers in front of a desk, and on the shelves there are books and skulls. All in all, a lovely bit of décor.
When you begin tapping and double-tapping on certain items, you might receive hints, or open drawers where a useful tool resides, or just activate words that indicate something creepy. Double-tapping will zoom in on relevant areas, and single-tapping will grab items that you’ll save in your inventory until you need them. It’s up to you to choose when they’ll make sense.
Tapping on the arrows that point left and right will take you to different areas in the room, or if you zoom in on something, you can tap an arrow to pull you back again.
Remember to look closely at all of your surroundings, and double-tap away like crazy to make sure you’ve covered every inch of the room. You’ll come across some little panels with shapes or numbers you can change. Think about where you’ve been and what you’ve seen; you’ll soon realize how another image is a clue to solving each panel, which in turn will reveal something else.
Your goal is to keep going until you can escape from the room. Unlike other games of a similar ilk, this one does not have new rooms to enter once you leave the first one – this is like a special edition Halloween app, and therefore you won’t have to commit too much time to it.
In the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll see a count of bats. When you tap on certain items, a bat will fly out. Discover all of them for extra points.
When I played
I never tire of these kinds of apps. They are a great way to keep the grey matter ticking over. Although I had played similar versions in the past, and therefore knew how this worked from the beginning, I can still confess to being stumped at some points, and found myself almost spinning through the room, trying to keep track of pumpkins, cats, spiders and skulls.
I was tempted at one point to visit the inevitable YouTube walkthrough that exists, but resisted the urge, and decided to soldier on by myself.
It took me less than an hour to get through it, but I didn’t find all the bats, so really I hadn’t done my best. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it, and wished that there were more places for me to solve. Oo – was that a cemetery in the distance I spied?
This is not ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a nice, entertaining distraction, and you don’t have to commit days to working on it. Sure, there are some misspellings along the way (unless “Vampier” is how they roll in Transylvania), and the graphics are pretty basic, but there’s nothing wrong with the puzzles, so why moan?
The app is free, and will certainly get you in the “spirit” of Halloween. You might say it’s a real “treat.”
Free. Simple. Only one level.
Only one level.