If you are looking for some chills and thrills Goosebumps Dead of Night offers lighthearted scares. Based on the hit Goosebumps series books, TV shows and movies fans will encounter familiar ghouls, gnomes and more. Even if you are completely new to the franchise there is still some fun to be had with this childhood classic. The game picks up right where the bestselling novels leave off, bringing creepy characters from the pages of the books to the Nintendo Switch. You’ll face off against Slappy the ventriloquist dummy in a host of
creepy and supernatural situations. Let’s take a look at how the classic stories and characters translate into a video game experience with Goosebumps Dead of Night.
Goosebumps Dead of Night Review Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Cosmic Forces
Publisher: Cosmic Forces
Genre: Horror, Puzzler
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone 10+
A terrifying tale
Gamers beware, you’re in for a scare! It’s not just a play on words from the classic novel’s tagline, this is a scary game. Considering the target audience of “children 10 and up” the game offers some very unsettling situations. From zombies, werewolves and a killer clown that unrelentingly pursue you, this might be a little intense for younger gamers. If your little one is used to chilling tales, they’re still in for some serious frights here.
Slappy is on the loose
The story has Slappy escape from the pages of Goosebumps, looking to release other characters to haunt and terrify our world. It’s up to you to help author R.L. Stine stop Slappy’s dastardly plan and send him packing. In order to do this, you’ll need to outwit Slappy and his ghoulish gang by solving puzzles, hiding and even outrunning them. It all adds up to eerily calm moments that are punctuated by “run for your life” dashes around each level.
You play as a silent protagonist “Twist,” a child who enters Goosebumps author R. L. Stine’s abandoned house. Not before long, you discover the house isn’t abandoned but packed with very real terrors. Guided by R.L. Stine, who is voiced by Jack Black, it’s up to you to foil Slappy’s plan. Stine has been trapped inside a typewriter, and you need to find the missing pages from “Night of the Living Dummy” to reverse the curse. You’ll need to navigate the overgrown conservatory to confront Dr. Brewer and climb Tesla’s Tower to stop Slappy.
A short, but scary ride
Going through all the story beats, you are met with a fairly short experience. Each section of the game will only take you 40 minutes to beat. My favourite area was Stine’s house, it had fun mechanics and quite a fewGoosebumps characters. There are only three locations to playthrough R.L. Stine’s house, Dr. Brewer’s observatory garden, and the Telsa Tower.
In total, you are only looking at anywhere from 3 – 4 hours to complete the game, with very little replayability. It would have been nice to see more collectibles added or new, more difficult puzzles on additional playthroughs.
Gameplay that will give you Goosebumps
As you navigate around the horrors plucked straight from the pages of Goosebumps’ you are helpless against your foes. While exploring and solving puzzles your only defense is to hide from monsters that confront you. You will spend a lot of time hiding under beds, in closets, and even in a washing machine.
The good news is that the controls are very accessible, allowing younger players to easily grasp control mechanics quickly. One area that hurts the experience is the very cumbersome on-screen elements. The HUD often gets in the way of the action, as parts are very large and take up big areas of the screen. This is especially apparent with the momentum and stealth indicators. They aren’t positioned well on the screen and block out the action at times.
The spooky settings really could have used a more in-depth graphical facelift. Players are met with muddy looking textures, and character animations that are lacking. The character models are true to many of the novel’s descriptions, but they look very dated. Shoutout to the Gnomes, they were hilarious and added a lot of heart pounding moments.
Things that go GooseBUMP in the night
The sound design really adds to the overall horror experience and is executed well. The voice acting really stands out with spinetingling performances from Slappy and the gang. Jack Black really steals the show with hints along the way with his usual twist of humor. With such a big name attached to the game, I really wish more was done with other elements to match Black’s performance. The ambient noises and monster’s sounds (especially during “game over” animations) will definitely haunt you! Overall, the sound design and voice acting are the best parts of the Goosebumps gaming experience.
Final thoughts on Goosebumps Dead of Night
The game offers some fun thrills for fans, but there is quite a bit lacking from the experience. The gameplay combines stealth, puzzle and horror elements but doesn’t execute any of them particularly well. The greatest joy for me with the game was a walk down memory lane with the Goosebumps series. The characters were true to their representations in the books, and Jack Black was excellent as R.L. Stein. If you are a big fan of the series, you’ll enjoy many of the references littered throughout the game. Beyond that, it is a spooky thrill ride that younger horror fans will enjoy.
+ Great voice acting from Jack Black
+ Sound design is immersive
– The experience is quite short
– Dated graphics could have used an upgrade
– Lack of replayability
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF GOOSEBUMPS DEAD OF NIGHT
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5
Overall Rating 3.2/5 (65%)