February 2, 2012

A Haunting Experience

Lasting First Impressions of Haunt from NanaOn-Sha

Haunt Boxart Who doesn’t like taking a journey through a haunted house? Walking through dark, unknown passageways with only a flashlight to guide you sounds like the perfect idea for a Kinect title.  NanaOn-Sha studios took on this challenge and brought us a unique Kinect experience with their game, Haunt.  Best known for their work on Parappa the Rapper and various Tamagotchi games, NanaOn-Sha brings us their first XBLA and Kinect game.

The concept of the game is wonderful and I thought I was going to have a lot of fun with it.  As described above, you are a lone wanderer, trapped in a haunted house with flashlight as your only weapon to break the impeding darkness.  Your only companion is the former owner of the house, now trapped in the various paintings in the house, much like the paintings found in Hogwart’s Castle.  This living painting, voiced by the talented Tim Schafer (of Double Fine Studios fame), adds an aire of humour to this title and definitely kept a smile on my face as I was playing.  The controls are simple enough and utilize Kinect very well.  Walking in place will make your on-screen persona walk through the house while moving your hand around controls where the flashlight shines.  Additionally, Haunt includes many different Kinect driven actions throughout journey such as opening and closing drawers and chests, dodging ghosts as they fly by, covering your eyes, and a host of other unique actions.  It’s pretty simple and started out as a wonderful little downloadable XBLA title.

Haunt Screen

Unfortunately, my joy with playing this game came to a halt when the walking motion was incorrectly sensed and my character just kept walking when I was not.  This made the game completely unplayable as I could no longer focus on objects that I needed to pick up.  I tried exiting the game and starting again but this was persistent.  I tried recalibrating my Kinect to no avail.  Something was inherently wrong with the game’s interpretation of my surroundings taking Haunt from putting a smile on my face to making it a frustrating endeavour.  Haunt is a unique title with definite potential but the seemingly broken Kinect controls made it impossible to play.  If these issues are addressed with a title update, my thoughts on this title could very well change but, as it is now, I won’t be heading back into this house for a while.

NanaOn-Sha, I gave you an hour and I am NOT IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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