Connection Haunted

4 Overall Score

Captures that retro FPS aesthetic | Quickly sets atmospheric tone | Not broken or bugged | Multiple endings

Generic & extremely dark level design | Tedious, dull tasks & gameplay | Uncreative maps | Main game extremely brief | No indication when you’ve completed the main story

When the game announcement landed in our inbox for Connection Haunted, we were rather intrigued… the tagline was “a thrilling psychological horror game stylized to look like an empty server of a classic online first-person shooter.” It sounded pretty neat, and unlike anything we’d experienced before.

Before we dive too much further into the review, we do want to give some credit where due here—it was created by a single developer, MrCiastku. It’s not an easy feat to make a game on your own, so that’s a cool accomplishment.

Unfortunately, that’s where our praise of this title has to end. Maybe that’s not fair—it looks exactly the way it sold itself. It’s got that retro-shooter aesthetic down pat. It’s dark and creepy, and feels just as empty as you’ve been told it’ll be. You’re dropped right into the game without a tutorial, however, so that could be considered an effective strategy for setting the tone, or entirely frustrating, depending on who you are.

And if you aren’t frustrated by that, well, don’t worry. You might think you’re about to have fun on a psychological-horror FPS thrill ride, but you’re wrong. Does that sound harsh? That’s because it is.

This is not a fun game.

You’ve got one objective when the game starts: Capture the flag. You’ll wander around some empty halls that are neat from the retro aspect at first, but which quickly become repetitive and uninspired. Once you’ve scored a point, however, the real fun begins! Here comes the spooky! Glowing phantoms will appear and chase you through the aforementioned hallways! If you hear a ghostly moan, they’re after you! Which, uh, makes it not too difficult to avoid them—which is good, because if they touch you, you’ll be “booted” from the server and have to start all over again. Yes, all over again.

That said, you can shoot the phantoms to take them out. This is an FPS, after all. And apparently your gun has some kind of ghost-killing paranormal bullets. Don’t ask questions. You have a job to do.

Shortly into the game, a mysterious Player 2 will also start to chat with you, which is eXtRa SpOoKy because the server is supposed to be empty. You can follow Player 2’s suggestions, continue capturing flags, destroy hidden dolls on you map, and so forth to unlock multiple endings. Wow! Multiple endings! That’s always cool, and we’re not being sarcastic about it. That said, multiple endings means replaying the game, and frankly… we’re not sure why you’d bother.

Connection Haunted is so basic and uninspired that it can be completed in about 30-40 minutes. Yes. That’s it. And when you’ve completed the storyline, the game doesn’t even really tell you that you’re done. You get booted from the server after you complete your objectives, but how are you to know that’s the ending? The same thing happens when you get poked by a ghost, so there’s no clear indication that this is any different. And with everything so generic and dull, and dark—very, very dark, even the glowsticks you get to brighten your path do little to illuminate much of the environment—it’s a challenge to find the motivation to keep playing even to that 30 minute mark, let alone want to replay the entire thing (assuming you’ve managed to figure out when the game is over).

Did it deliver visually on what it promised? Yes, the low-poly retro FPS is exactly what you see. And there’s definitely a sense of playing on an abandoned server. And there’s… haunting.

But it’s just not fun to play. The concept had a lot of potential, but the execution leaves much to be desired. It’s cool that Connection Haunted was created by one person, but it’s unfortunate that that’s where our praise basically ends. Well, no—the game isn’t bugged or broken, which is more than we can say about a lot of AAA titles these days, so that’s a point in its favor. We just don’t think this is going to keep anyone’s interest for more than a few minutes, which was a disappointment.

If you’ve read this far and are still intrigued, the good news is that it’ll only cost you $3.99USD on the eShop, so giving it a go won’t break the bank. And if you manage to play through the whole thing several times for the alternate endings, you’ll probably get your money’s worth.

*Nintendo Fire received a copy of this game in exchange for review.

What do our review scores mean? Read about it here


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Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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