Halloween Forever | Review | Switch - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, February 12, 2021

Halloween Forever | Review | Switch

by Danny Bivens

Pixelated Halloween goodness.
Although Halloween Forever has been available on other platforms (PC, PS4 and Vita) for quite awhile now, there is just something inherently wrong NOT seeing an 8-bit style game on a Nintendo console. Thanks to publisher Chuhai Labs, that has been remedied as the game is available now (from February 12, 2021) on the Nintendo Switch. But, is it worth your time and money? It absolutely is and we’re here to tell you why. 

Halloween Forever is a 2D action platformer that puts players in control of Pumpkin Man. Armed with the ability to jump and spit candy corn at enemies, it’s your job to take our hero through a handful of spooky areas and to see why in the world an undead sorcerer is looking to cause some mischief. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the game is a love letter to classic, spooky pixel based side scrollers - just with a fresh coat of HD paint on those pixels. 
Gameplay is pretty simple, but extremely tight. Pumpkin Man has two basic functions that he can perform - jumping and spitting projectiles (candy corn, in this case). Aside from being able to double jump right off the bat, there really isn’t much more to the controls here, and I personally found that very inviting. Pretty much anyone that’s ever played a 2D action game will feel at home here. 

In a very old school manner, you have three lives to clear the entire story. There is also a heart gauge on the upper left hand side of the screen, and (as you can see) you start out with five hearts. Obviously, if you take too much damage you will lose a life. If you fall into a spike laced pit, you will die no matter now many hearts you have. A game over will take you back to the title screen. Even if you aren’t super skilled or run into some trouble, health pickups in the shape of hearts are scattered throughout the stages and are also sometimes dropped by defeated enemies. 
Speaking of enemies, there are quite a few enemy types that you will encounter. You’ll run into  snakes, chainsaw wielding maniacs, sorcerers, skeleton knights, flying medusa heads, bats and more. The basic enemies themselves aren’t necessarily difficult, but there are definitely times when you’ll need to keep your distance or watch your step. The bosses and mini bosses on offer here are big, chunky pixel art that are well designed and have their own attack patterns that you’ll need to learn in order to take them down. Again, it’s not super difficult or anything, but, trying to find a balance between what’s happening on screen and how fast your reflexes are are key to success. I’m no expert on this or anything, but hit boxes here are super tight (for the most part) so you can make some extremely close jumps and avoid hits, which can come in handy against the bosses. 

If you are finding yourself having trouble with the game, Halloween Forever does offer some very helpful options. Before you start your run, you can turn one or both of these options to help: Friendly Continues or 99 Lives. 99 lives is pretty self explanatory, but “Friendly Continues” basically lets you start closer to where you left off after dying.  Some of the more hardcore out will scoff at the use of this, but hey, there’s even an option for them as well - A 1HP mode. Accessibility in games, especially games that appeal to older gamers looking for something new with a classic feel, is super important. While some of you guys out there might not be as “spry” as you used to be when it comes to gaming acumen, so I think trying to appeal to a wider audience with options like this is just smart. 
Halloween Forever is a great looking game. The simple colors and simple pixel graphics really pop, and the game runs smoothly throughout the experience. The environments are also varied and provide plenty of detail. It really does feel like playing a game that has been unearthed from the Famicom/NES days. The music here is also fantastic and will likely stick with you well after you put down the controller. 

When it comes to the game’s length, Halloween Forever can be rushed through in an hour or two. I can see people taking that as a knock against the game, which is fair. However, there are multiple characters to unlock and play (all of which have their own different quirks and projectiles) as and runes and secret areas to track down in the levels. Overall, I think it’s a game that doesn’t overstay its welcome. 
Halloween Forever is a stellar game with tight controls, sharp visuals and some awesome chip tune music. While the game may be a little on the short side, unlockables can keep you coming back to dip in for some fun from time to time. If you’re itching for a retro inspired platformer, this game is something you need to have on your Switch.

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