Haunted House

Common Sense Media says

Spooky but not too scary mystery is set in the dark.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This is a game about shocks and scares; it doesn't really carry a message of any kind. But playing in co-op mode requires two people to work very closely in unison and constantly help one another out. That kind of cooperation sends a positive message.

Positive role models

The brother and sister duo who are the heroes of the game work together well. They're scared, but they stay strong in the face of fear because they have to.

Ease of play

There are three levels of difficulty which are truly very different from one another. The easiest level should allow novice gamers to get by without much difficulty, while the highest level should pose a decent challenge to gaming veterans.

Violence

More spooky than violent, the game features ghosts, feral rats, and other monsters that will chase and attack you in the dark. If they hit you, the borders of the screen briefly flash red. Monsters are destroyed by light, vanishing in a puff of smoke. One of the creepiest elements in the game is your health meter, which shows your character's face. The more health you lose, the sicklier the face looks, until it's finally a skull and your game is over. No blood can be seen in the action, but two of the "trophy" items you can find -- a candlestick and a chainsaw -- have drips of blood on them.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

One of the "achievements" you can earn in the game contains the text: "We came, we saw, we kicked ass."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Haunted House is an action/strategy game set mostly in the dark. When your character doesn't have a light on, all you see of him is his eyes. Ghosts and monsters constantly appear out of the shadows to startle you -- and then chase you. These supernatural creatures are not designed to look truly menacing, but they do get scarier-looking as the game progresses. In the world of horror video games, though, this is about as tame as you get. Still, kids who are afraid of the dark should probably stay away, lest nightmares result. Playing co-op requires two people to work very closely together and can be a good experience for kids.

Parents say

Not yet rated
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Kids say

What's it about?

The plot to HAUNTED HOUSE follows a brother and sister who go looking for their grandfather after he mysteriously disappears. A letter leads them to a spooky old house, but as soon as the duo enters, they find themselves locked inside. Ghosts and monsters appear everywhere from the darkness, and the heroes must constantly find and use temporary light sources (matches, candles, cell phones, torches, etc.) to both find their way and to zap the ghouls. All the while, they need to search every shelf and drawer they can find in order to locate keys that will let them progress further into the mansion, and hopefully to an exit.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This Haunted House is an update of a way-old Atari 2600 cartridge game from the '80s. The graphics are improved a thousand-fold, but the central gameplay concept is basically the same: You run through dark rooms, avoiding ghosts and looking for light sources. This is definitely a fun game, but it does lack a bit in the variety department. Thankfully, there are some very neat boss battles that come along to break up the monotony. There's a genuine storyline here, too, which you can slowly reveal as you find and read diary pages hidden throughout the house. It's a spooky tale, but like the rest of the game, not too terrifying. In a market flooded with ultra-gory M-rated horror games, it's very nice to have one that younger players can turn to for a fun scare.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between entertainment that is spooky fun and that which is truly frightening. It can be fun to be scared, but when does a game cross the line from fun into disturbing?

  • Co-op play in this game takes a lot of teamwork. How do you handle it when your partner is better or worse than you at the game? What lessons can you learn from this?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Windows
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Atari
Release date:September 28, 2010
Genre:Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Language, Mild Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo Wii, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Haunted House was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old October 31, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
well i wish i could play the games
What other families should know
Great role models

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