Spooky Chase Review

I’m not sure I’ve had quite this mix of rage and laughter in a long time. Spooky Chase is a challenge for sure, but it’s also one of our own doing, and the initially simple looking loop soon turns into a maddening game of chicken as we attempt to dodge our previous runs while trying to collect flags to progress.

Each level has ten flags to collect, with a bonus golden balloon at the end that is used to unlock extra challenges. Further levels are gated behind the total amount of flags we’ve gained, so we don’t necessarily need to get all ten per level to proceed, though later on it’ll be easier to progress the more we’ve gained in the easier areas.

The thing is, actually collecting the flags in not all that easy. We have 30 seconds to collect the first one at which point we reset to a new position on the level, 30 more seconds on the clock. An indicator show us the direction of the next flag, but as soon as we set off on this second run so does a ghost version of our character from the first run. Collect the second flag and we reset again, this time with both ghosts repeating our actions from the previous runs. I’m sure you get the gist – by the time we get to flag ten, there are nine ghosts running around the level repeating exactly where we moved, jumped, and pivoted. Each time we need to collect the flag without bumping into our previous selves, doing so ends the level and we then start from flag one again.

This is where the tricky nature of Spooky Chase comes in. It’s all too easy to forget where our previous ghosts might end up, and so dodging them can be hilariously annoying as we both jump up at the same time, or a couple end up dropping in on us from above just as we’re about to get the flag. We get a little help in the fact we can jump on their heads to stun them for a short while, but that’s easier said than done, especially as our character auto runs in the direction we choose.

The only control we have is when to jump, sprint, or change directions – which thankfully is possible at any point. As soon as we press either left or right our little guy runs endlessly in that direction. It can make precise jumps tricky, especially when we need to land, pivot, and jump at the same time. But it also is part of why I got such a laugh out of Spooky Chase. Wrestling with the controls while trying to dodge ghosts, collect flags and candy and not fall off of ledges is just the right side of frustratingly fun. Falling at flag nine is rage inducing, but I kept finding myself coming back for one more go regardless, and when I managed to just about slot into gaps left by my previous attempts I must admit it was pretty cool.

Those golden balloons unlock challenge stages that mix things up; the first has us racing against an ever dwindling clock – and a clown in a car, obviously – to get to the end while collecting candies. These candies feature in the levels too and at certain amount milestones unlock new costumes. These are purely cosmetic but there are some nice designs, some even might look a little familiar to some of you…

Perhaps the main flaw here is that it can get super tough very quickly. Even on the opening set of levels it was super hard to collect all ten flags, so when it came to later levels I struggled to unlock them due to a lack of flags.

Conclusion

Overall though, I enjoyed my time with Spooky Chase quite a bit. I might have got so frustrated that I had to laugh at times, but it kept me coming back for one more go regardless.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Simple to pick up and play
  • Charming visuals
  • Will last a fair while if unlocking everything is your aim
Bad
  • Difficulty ramps up very quickly
7.3
Good
Gameplay - 7.5
Graphics - 7
Audio - 7
Longevity - 7.5
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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