Hauntii review: The mystery of what comes next

Hauntii is a flawed game, but brings a colorfully unique style that makes it worth experiencing.


The mystery of what happens after passing on is one of the greatest that life has to offer. The team at Moonloop Games has interpreted it as an ongoing mystery, albeit a beautiful one. Following the light is more of an involved process than some might expect. That's the main idea behind Hauntii and it's a visually pleasing journey, even if it drags at times.

Life after death

Firing essence in Hauntii

Source: Firestoke

Hauntii puts players in the role of a nameless spirit, one just making it into the afterlife. It looks like they're on the path to eternal paradise, locking hands with a heavenly angel. However, they're quickly dragged down to the depths of a purgatory-like plane, separated from the angel, and left alone with no idea of where to go next. With no memory of the life that came before, it's a feeling of emptiness and also of wanting, having only briefly glimpsed the wonderful next chapter of existence before having it snatched away. It's a powerful way to open a game and set up the ensuing adventure.

Hauntii's world is beautifully illustrated and abstractly sketched to resemble a children's story. It illluminates a small portion to paint the path ahead, while also conveying the surrounding darkness as mysterious and menacing. Staying in the darkness for too long can lead to your essence fading and the surrounding demons growing in power, so players will find themselves utilizing their dash move frequently to stay in the light as often as possible.

The path forward isn't always clear, but interacting with the environments and the strange characters of this world is part of Hauntii's appeal. The game can sometimes be too obtuse about where to go next, even if players have a map at the ready. After coming to terms with that downside, there are smiles to be had from discovering some of the world's spontaneous objectives and mini-games that come from various interactions.

Shining bright

Possession in Hauntii

Source: Firestoke

It doesn't look like one on the surface, but Hauntii can go heavy on twin-stick shooter combat. With that said, the game offers a simple upgrade system, driven by a Mario-like star system. Upgrades help when encountering enemies, hazards, and larger areas that are covered in darkness. What's clever about this system is that it's often covered in backstory. As players progress, their upgrades will be preceded by glimpses into their past life. On top of growing stronger as a ghost, players will dive deeper into the mystery of who they were. Their life will literally flash before their eyes.

The other big component of Hauntii is a possession mechanic. Players will frequently encounter objects, as well as some enemies, that can be possessed. Each thing that players can possess has some unique abilities in addition to the player's standard projectiles. Players' shooting prowess will be put to the test in boss encounters and arena battles that can be surprisingly tough. Some areas will throw out enemies in large numbers and while the idea can sometimes be to use the possession mechanic to make these battles easier, the numbers can still prove overwhelming and sometimes frustrating.

The path to the light

There were some moments when I wasn't sure if Hauntii knew what it wanted to be. There were times when it looked like it wanted to be a cozy narrative-driven game, there were times when it looked like it wanted to be a Mario-inspired adventure, and there were times when I thought I suddenly got thrown in a bullet hell shooter. However, even if it has something of an identity crisis, I ultimately can't knock Hauntii's unique visual style and its hauntingly (pardon the pun) melodic and sometimes-melancholy soundtrack.

Hauntii has some flaws, but it's short enough with enough unique ideas that I'd say it's worth experiencing. The opening alone is a brilliant example of the type of artistic expression that games are capable of producing. Even if the majority of the rest of the game doesn't quite hit its lofty heights, it's still an enjoyable way to pass a weekend.

This review is based on a Steam code provided by the publisher. Hauntii available now on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch for $19.99 USD. The game is rated E.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

Review for
  • Touching and thought-provoking story
  • Beautiful art style
  • Lovely soundtrack
  • Fun characters and vast world
  • Frustrating challenges
  • The way forward isn't always clear
  • Some sections drag
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