Not since Haunting starring Polterguy has there been a game this indirect about its approach. In Haunting, you play a ghost who was recently rendered spectral by a careless family of fucktards that killed you while skateboarding, so you make it the purpose of your afterlife to rectify a vendetta against them. Terrortown’s ghost is more of a motiveless malignancy that likes to kill people and scare the ever-loving piss out of them. At least Polterguy had a purpose, granted his manifestations were exceedingly more graphic. But he never killed anybody! This adorable little ghost has a bloody, murderous core. No wonder it can’t move on.
Everything in Terrortown starts in the clocktower in the middle of town, where the ghost lives. After a brief tutorial on possessing and manipulating objects in the environment, you are set loose on the town like an apple-cheeked Mongol set on destroying families and lives. A couple things of note in the clocktower, though. During the tutorial, what they teach you possession with is a bell, of which there are nine, plus the one you possess. There is also a large, out-of-focus painting that looks like it was painted in a JRPG with the bloom turned down. More on these later.
Calling this game a puzzler is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion, since the only puzzle you are solving is how you will drive terror into the hearts of the town’s citizens. I would call this more of a strategy game, considering you are tasked with manipulating circumstances and individuals to reach a specific outcome indirectly. The ghost in this uses possession to its advantage. By possessing the various elements of the environment, you are able to manifest the fears of people in the things around them. Now the things you can make people see depend on the level of fear in the atmosphere. At the base level – relaxed – everyone is milling about in “thumbs-up-asses” mode. Starting from relaxed, you will only be able to move furniture or swing chandeliers, rattle bars, etc., but once you start to creep people out, the fear level rises. Increase it to perform higher profile scares and soon you will have people leaping out of windows to escape the house.
Once you have the fear levels up to fever-pitch, people are twitchy if not outright terrified. You are performing bizarre and ostentatious scares, people are running around terrified and the general populous is jumping out of window to escape. Revisiting the bells in the clocktower, each level has a few haunts that get bloody. Several people in the game are asking for it, seemingly pretending nothing is going on, and the scares you perform near these guys get them fucking killed. This is where the ghost gets murderous: it’s already sucked the happiness and fun out of a room faster than Carl Sagan at a confirmation party, now you’re going in for the kill. Each person you assassinate gets the esteemed position of haunting the fucking belltower with you, circling a bell themed after their purpose in life to haunt them forever. How wonderfully sadistic.
The goal of this game is to get everyone out of the public places. Once this goal is accomplished, you win! Seriously, though that is it. There are 4 locations to haunt and you are done. This is a little frustrating, but I get the feeling there is more to come. At least there better be. Even though the game is 4.99$ on Steam, I have played other, cheaper games that are, in fact, full and finished. Don’t get me wrong, this game is great, especially since I was such a big fan of haunting on Sega Genesis, but it literally feels like you finish the first level and it’s over. I have had farts that lasted longer than this fucking game, regardless of how awesome and adorable it is. The only thing that takes a long time to finish with this title is figuring out who the last fucking person in the goddamn museum. I had to look up a walkthrough to figure that shit out. Overall, it is a fun game and worth some money, but until they add ore content to the title, it will always feel short and incomplete. And if they charge for DLC, I will pitch a bitch fit.