Review: Halloween Forever (PS4/PSV)

Review: Halloween Forever (PS4/PSV)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro, Vita
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PlayStation TV Compatible No
  • Cross-Buy No
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Halloween Forever
Format: PSN PS4 (49.94 MB) | PSV (52.84 MB)
Release Date: October 22, 2018
Publisher: Poppy Works
Developer: Poppy Works
Original MSRP: $4.99 (US) (PS4), $4.99 (US) (PSV)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Halloween Forever is short but challenging 2D platformer about a pumpkin brought to life by occult forces.

Now a humanoid, Pumpkin Man is a double jumping survivor who attacks enemies by spitting candy corn at them. There’s also a starting skin that lets you dress up Pumpkin Man as Santa who vomits presents.

The developers at Poppy Works do their best to tiptoe along the challenging but fair line. For the most part they succeed, but they did lose their balance a couple of times along the way.

Review: Halloween Forever (PS4/PSV)

Within five minutes of starting up the game, I dropped down as the level was funneling me to land on some spikes that were directly below me. I could not see them before I dropped down and there was no way of knowing they were down there. I died and had to restart the level. Unfair. The spikes were easily avoidable in each subsequent playthrough knowing that they were down there waiting for me.

There are also instant death spike pits which just feels a little cheap in a game in which lives are so limited and you have to restart the entire level after each death. The only time they were really an issue though was during a boss stage where there was limited platform space.

Any time Pumpkin Head took damage, he was pushed off the platform over an instant death spike. There was only the tiniest of windows to double jump back onto a platform escaping death.

A fun surprise was killing the first boss after his chainsaw attack. Because he was not there to catch his chainsaw it keep going back and forth across the arena indefinitely.

After defeating a boss, a door appears which you must reach to proceed to the next area. With most bosses, it is possible to die after killing the boss but before reaching the door. I speak from experience.

Review: Halloween Forever (PS4/PSV)

Early on I was getting fairly frustrated. Three lives is not much and I felt like I had a few cheap deaths. After a couple of runs, I made it far enough to unlock a new character. His attacks were more powerful and would kill all basic enemies in one hit. Suddenly I was back in the game.

What really turned things around for me was exploring the options menu. The game never mentions this in any way, but there are gameplay settings that make it much more accessible or insanely hard. Players have the option of playing with only one hit point, ninety-nine lives – which turns off trophies, and friendly continues, which restart the player near where they died and not at the beginning of the level.

I beat the game with ninety-nine lives and friendly continues turned on because I wanted to make sure I experienced the full game before I wrote my review. Along my journey I lost thirty lives, mostly on two bosses.

After beating the game, I unlocked a witch character who throws cats. Her attacks are limited, so you can’t spam the attack button like with other characters, and they don’t kill all the basic enemies in one hit. However, the cats will land and run across the surface they landed on. With that, you won’t have to score a direct hit to take out enemies.

Review: Halloween Forever (PS4/PSV)

Halloween Forever is a bit strange in that there is no Cross-Buy or Cross-Save support. It doesn’t even work on PlayStation TV. The 8-bit art style means there is no graphical downgrade or framerate issues when playing on the Vita, which is nice. The choice comes down to whether you want to play on your TV or on the go.

Visuals:
This art style is perfect for a side scrolling platformer. Also, it makes it easier for the Vita version to run just like the PS4 version. However, it leaves a little something to be desired.

The level backgrounds would have benefited from a little more variety. With the limited colors, the backgrounds do not pop or stand out. Inside a castle, all the stone is gray and the brick red.

Audio:
The chiptune music is excellent. It calls on the tones of horror movies but doesn’t weigh you down. Underneath there is a techno-ish, electrical music beat that keeps you going.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Review: Halloween Forever (PS4/PSV)

Conclusion:
Halloween Forever walks a difficult line between challenging and unfair except for a few instances. Although fairly short, finding and unlocking new characters encourages multiple plays.

Poppy Works nails the Halloween theme and I can’t wait to jump back in to discover what other characters the game holds.

Despite no Cross support, this game is a bargain at $5. The gameplay settings allow Halloween Forever to be as approachable or super challenging as desired.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature and the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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