About The Game
Sanatory Hallways for Nintendo eShop on Wii U is a two-player game where one player takes the role of Charla, a young student haunted by nightmares, while another player controls Mr. Spook, a ghastly apparition who loves to frighten Charla by using one of his many Spook Powers.
Armed with just a flashlight to keep Mr. Spook at bay, Charla must seek out a blue key and escape through a blue door before her sanity meter drops to zero. Mr. Spook must stop Charla from escaping by frightening her directly or using one of his many tricks, such as creating traps, playing with doors, causing power outages, and more.
In bonus single-player levels, players can discover the truth behind Charla’s recurring nightmares and help break the cycle of these nightly terrors.
I always give my honest opinion of these reviews and I’m sure just as often as someone agrees with the majority of what I write someone else will disagree just as strongly.
It’s the nature of reviews and in particular scores tacked on at the end of them.
These are all just personal opinions and what one writer enjoys another won’t.
I haven’t seen a single review of this game prior to writing it as it’s something I always try to avoid until after I’ve gathered my own thoughts published them.
I find it interesting comparing my thoughts to those of others across the world once a review is completed.
Sometimes I’m on the popular consensus sometimes I’m not.
I often have a fair idea of what a game will score in most other places regardless how much I personally did or didn’t enjoy my experience.
But then comes along Sanatory Hallways depending on the site and the reviewer in question this game could probably score anywhere between 1 and 8. (And I’m fairly sure it likely will too)
The game’s main focus a local 2 player game that tries to put the game pad to more use than most other developers even consider doing.
For single players there are a couple of Bonus missions but if you are a predominantly single player gamer having no online options this game I’d advise you early on this is not aimed at you and in it’s present state you’ll get little for your money.
A screen from the 2 player experience (With map turned on)
I've got Mr Spook in the torch light and it's time to take him out!
Starting with the core 2 player experience the game has taken a lot of inspiration from Luigi’s Mansion.
In particular the mini game version on Nintendo land but this is only a 2 player experience 3, 4 or 5 players could have seen this game grow with even greater potential.
The potential is still there of course with future updates having been promised and a number of people already enjoying the multi player aspect of the game.
So what exactly do you do?
One player takes on the role of the spook (Ghost) on the game pad like Luigi’s mansion they must basically scare the other player into defeat by removing all their health.
Rather than just wandering around and trying to sneak up on them though the Spook has a number of traps and tricks ready to be set at it’s players command.
Littered throughout the maze like levels are plenty of icons that can be tapped and set up as traps for the unsuspecting player to walk into.
The ghost can’t set as many traps as they desire as this would make the game far too one sided.
All traps cost points, the better the trap the more points it will cost, the points will gradually come back meaning the spook will still be able to lay more and more traps as the game progresses but not so fast that the whole level is packed with traps and the game all but over within a few seconds.
If the spook is in range of the girl her life will deteriorate her vision become blurred and victory could well be within reach.
But of course the other player will want to have some say in proceedings too.
Armed with just a flash light the second player who plays exclusively on the TV with a Wii Mote and Nunchuk must hunt down the ghastly spook and shine the light on him long enough to get him to zero first. (You can also use the light in rooms to drain his health)
On paper (or even screen) the spook sounds a bit over powered and in all fairness he probably is.
I’ve played multiple games with 5 different opponents (2 of them young kids so they probably don’t count) While the spook almost certainly won more than half the battles the longer we played the more even it became and the more creative we had to become as the spook.
Just last night I spent my final practice session before writing this review with my wife to be Legacy contributor Gema.
She came up with a new way to beat me and one that I must admit never entered my head.
She took Mr spook and hid in a cupboard.
Now I knew this was an option it shows you so in the controlling Mr spook tutorial but up to this point none of us had ever made much use of the ability.
I searched the level high and low while she laughed at how hot or cold I was getting.
Then the disaster happened, my torch ran out of battery power.
This could have course led to a stalemate I could have taken up refuge under a room light where the spook couldn’t hurt me.
But of course not I was in an extremely dark part of the map, I dragged my character around in desperate search of a door or a light switch while Gema and her Mr Spook popped out of the cupboard came strolling up and beat me without a fight!
Needless to say I opened every cupboard I found after that!
A view from Mr Pooks game pad view point.
All the icons are traps that can be placed.
Perhaps a brick wall will help guide someone into a trap.
The vs mode features multiple maps with more possibly going to be added and a number of options such as brightness of light or displaying a map on the tv to make the maze easier to navigate.
The single player (Bonus mode) is by contrast a reasonably dull affair.
With little to do in terms of levels, and game play / quest that did little to inspire me to continue.
In particular when you reach level 2 encounter Mr. Spook and die because your flash light has no effect on him in this level (but you’re not told this is the case)
Again with more content potentially on the way for this mode it has some relevance and some good ideas already present in particular the cameras.
And while I don’t doubt they’ll be more than a few reviews out in the wild very soon that completely hammer this mode it’s hard to criticise a game and a developer for adding extra content to a game as bonus material and then possibly adding more to that still in future.
This game is largely sold in its vs mode game not a bonus single player option.
The other thing that’s going to get this game hammered by select group of reviewers and gamers alike is the graphical style.
The second I started the game for the first time I immediately thought it resembled a N64 game.
This isn’t a particular negative for me I love the N64 era and it produced a wealth of fantastic games.
But it’s not a look a lot of modern day gamers will agree with.
Nor I fear will a reasonable amount of reviewers who’ll toss aside an positive aspects of the game because they didn’t like the look of it the second it started and therefore made very little effort to play or enjoy the game.
(This happens far too often)
If your graphic conscious that’s fine, if the style doesn’t appeal to you or even repels you that’s fine it’s not a game for you if you have a friend and want some cat and mouse fun if the real genuine possibility of more free future updates maybe it’s worth a look at even if not now once some of those updates arrive.
Level 2 proved to be quite a frustration for a long time.
A genuinely enjoyable 2 player vs experience
Bonus single player mode to add a little bit of extra game time while alone.
Some amusing little quotes innocuously thrown into the game here and there.
Genuine potential and desire to provide free game updates in future
Didn't we all?
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The graphical style will instantly put some players off
If you’re more often than not a lone player it’s not worth considering.
Pricing structure could have been better implemented.
Get too close to Mr Spooks and the torch won't do you a great deal of good!
I started the game with the bonus single player option and almost instantly feared for the game given it’s graphical style.
Regardless of my opinion on the game it will cost it sales and points from a range of reviewers.
The price is also something of an issue as much as we’ve enjoyed our time with the game it is in my opinion priced too highly to be bought by the masses (Though I’ve been wrong before)
I personally would have recommended a sub £5.00 start price then free update for buyers and slightly increased price with each new addition for new buyers (as Spin the bottle did quite successfully)
It’s an option more indie developers planning game updates might want to look at in future and it’s a very viable alternative to dlc content that irk many gamers
From a gaming point of view the vs mode can be a lot of fun if you have 2 players who enjoy the experience I don’t doubt hours of fun will be had.
I’m not sure how viable or possible a third player in the game is 2 players vs 1 ghost would add a little extra to the game play and with both players still having plenty of tv screen with a straight split.
As it stands if you aren’t put off by the price and would like to get back to some old fashioned local game play fun this could very well be a great fit for you.
The score is based on the enjoyment we’ve experienced with the game and the hours we expect to put in over the coming few months.
We’ll look forward to those updates with interest but more importantly I’ll keep a keen eye on those cupboards!
A review copy of the game was provided by Wegenbartho and reviewed in accordance with the review policy.