7.5
Our overall verdict "bronze"

Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror is a spooky horror puzzler. Playing as the ghost of Mr Henry B Knight who, after the death of his wife, vows to keep his large mansion free of new tenants, you finally get the chance for payback at all the horror games that have ever terrified you. Becoming the antagonist and resident scarer your aim is to frighten away everyone that enters your mansion.

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Using your special powers, you can alter and possess objects and launch them across the room in true ghostly style. If you are clever enough to do these things efficiently and in the right order, you will be rewarded with the satisfaction of seeing those pesky visitors run away screaming in abject terror. Beware the ghost hunters, priests, gypsies and wiccas who are determined to thwart your efforts. These do-gooders will block specific powers, rendering your spooky antics useless. The powers blocked differ with each level, but a quick tap on the character will reveal what they block. Outsmart the ghost hunter and clear the room, and you progress to the next level; use up all your powers before the room is cleared? Start again with a better strategy.

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There are sixty levels altogether, divided into different eras: classic, 80’s, modern and office. The first era, classic, ends with three boss levels, which aren’t quite as tough as they perhaps should be. Clear the room of all visitors and you will be granted one extra special power – use this to summon the ghost of Mr Henry B Knight himself and see that boss run away in terror.

Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror can be challenging and definitely gets the old grey matter working. If I throw this lamp into that room, will it be enough to send those damnable visitors scuttling out the front door never to return, or do I need to possess the TV to achieve the joy of scaring everyone away? It’s a real head scratcher and you must be prepared to repeat some levels multiple times to achieve the correct result. The levels start off easy enough, with only two rooms and a couple of visitors to evict, but as you continue the number of rooms and evictees increases and the more brain power you will need to harness to get shot of them.

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Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror, is played entirely via the front touchscreen of your Vita and is as easy as apple bobbing without any water. For a blonde who gets easily confused it’s a dream. I did not retain my Streetfighter champion crown by actually learning the intricate special moves. Nope, I got it by randomly pounding buttons until something good happened. An easy control scheme is exactly my sort of thing. The simpler the better. Of course the slightly OCD amongst us are going to be driven as crazy as Mr Henry B Knight with his unwelcome visitors by the grubby fingerprints on the screen. This is an addictive game so keep a soft cloth nearby at all times as you will be cleaning that screen as often as you are flinging TVs across a room.

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Graphically Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror isn’t about to win any awards, but that doesn’t matter a jot. The clue is in the name ‘Pixelated’ and the graphics are wonderfully old school and perfectly fitting. I wouldn’t change them for all the tea in China, and considering I am made up of at least 90% tea, that’s a pretty bold statement!

Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror is a great way to scare people and kill some time. Play in bite-sized portions or go for an epic haunting spree. Unusual gameplay with aspects reminiscent of the old Ghost Master game on the PC, Xbox and PS2, Poltergeist is a welcome addition to the Vita’s catalogue. It’s welcome to haunt my collection any day or night.

Conclusion

A fun puzzler that will leave you scratching your head and at times pulling your hair out in frustration trying to work out what, when and how to use each of your ghostly powers to clear each room and reclaim your home. Poltergeist: A Pixelated Horror can get a little repetitive as you play through the levels, and the bosses are disappointingly easy. However there are still hours of gameplay and strategising to keep you amused. Put on a freaky Halloween mask, make a scary woooooo noise and evict those pesky visitors. You know you want to.

K Nicol Rating 7.5/10

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K Nicol is a tea drinking, music mad cat botherer. She loves smelly cheese and is terrified of dubiously dated milk. Her favourite games are Street Fighter, Monkey Island and Cosmic Spacehead on the Mega Drive. Touch her pyjama collection and die. Follow her on twitter @Catpee