Hauntii review wallpaper
June 5, 2024

Can this beautifully animated Indie Twin-Stick Adventure-Puzzler ascend to become one of the powerhouse indies of the year? Find out in our Hauntii review.

First impressions are everything, and Moonloop Games does a fantastic job at making theirs with Hauntii – boasting some of the most memorable visuals of the year, coupled with stunning art direction and an enchanting narrative. Despite its stumbles with some core mechanics, Hauntii’s moment-to-moment gameplay is worth the minor frustrations.

Hauntii Review – Story

Hauntii opens strong with a beautiful sequence. As our titular character wakes in the Underworld, they are met by an angelic being called an Eternian. During a moving sequence, our duo ascends together towards the heavens, only for Hauntii to be cast back into the land of the dead – shackled for Eternity. What follows is a story of perseverance, self-discovery and obviously, death.

While Hauntii is silent, many ghosts in Eternity are happy to chat.

The narrative starts out grim, with Hauntii being cast into a dark and mysterious environment with no memory of their life before passing. As you progress through the game and unlock more core memories from the titular ghost’s past, the story lightens. A fitting parallel with the game’s literal quest for ascension.

Whether it was the colourful-natured NPCs littered throughout the world of Eternity or the strong emotions brought up through different heartfelt memories, Hauntii’s journey sticks with me. Discovering Hauntii’s past life as they do greatly helps connect with their character, and while there is no spoken dialogue from them, the emotive movements of Hauntii themselves do well to convey everything naturally.

Hauntii Review – Gameplay

Hauntii is a twin-stick shooter without the high-impact violence you would normally see. While there is combat, most of the game will involve solving puzzles and exploring the land – all accomplished through the possession of objects and creatures by throwing ghostly green projectiles at them.

As the game progresses, this haunting mechanic evolves from simply providing the player with extra currency, to playing a much larger role in combat and puzzles in the game’s later stages. It becomes a fun pastime to actively try and haunt everything within sight, if only to see what you can do with each possession.

Just one of the fantastical objects you can possess in Hauntii.

Scattered throughout Eternity, the land in which you reside, are Stars. These key items are used to build constellations in the sky, and in turn, providing Hauntii with another memory once completed. While there are plenty of Stars to collect, the player isn’t required to find and gather every single one to complete the game.

After completing several constellations, you are granted the opportunity to upgrade either your health, your essence (how long you can fire your possessive pellets), or the number of times you can dash in succession.

In the early parts of the game, I found myself speccing into everything equally. The further along the game progressed, however, I found that the dash was by far the most useful upgrade. Heart upgrades are made quickly redundant in the later stages of the game – a consequence of respawning with only 2 hearts regardless of how many you have available, coupled with the lack of chances to heal back to full health in certain areas.

Hauntii review gameplay

While Hauntii never gets terribly challenging, it remains engaging during moment-to-moment gameplay. Stars can be collected through exploration, puzzle solving, simply buying them from a vendor or the occasional mini-gauntlet of enemies. Environmental puzzles around the world are easily picked out of the surroundings and most solutions are intuitive with the clear context clues provided to the player.

Where the game fell short for me were the minor inconveniences in the core game’s design – the map has very little function, only showing you the world map rather than the individual making it difficult to navigate through some places (looking at you The Void). Another gripe I had with the game was that you don’t unlock fast travel until the very last chapter of the game, making it pointless unless you’re on a completionist run. It also felt like a kick in the gut after being lost in multiple instances during the campaign, a simple fast travel to a nearby town would’ve been a godsend.

Hauntii Review – Visuals

Complementing the narrative, the visuals do heavy lifting in Hauntii. The artistic vision on display is beautifully memorable, with the muted tones and the inky darkness making the world of Hauntii feel like a black canvas – with blots of white dashing across it to create paths and safe spaces for the player.Highly animated characters and environments give the world life (pun intended). Even with the monochromatic palate, returning friendly NPCs are immediately recognizable. Similarly, the mobs found outside of towns in Eternity are interesting and distinct, with clearly projected attacks allowing the player to quickly judge how best to avoid or utilize them.

Hauntii review visuals

Hauntii features some beautifully intricate environments.

Level design is constrained to what the player can clearly see meaning if Hauntii strays too far from the illuminated path, jagged and twisted faces start to peer from the void until it all fades out. During the latter stages of the game, there is a swath of verticality injected into the world as you get closer to ascending. Maneuvering around these large, expansive locations can get tricky as the lack of depth and the sometimes-janky camera prevents the player from seeing where they’re about to walk/land.

Camera issues are another frequent minor inconvenience in Hauntii as the frame tends to lock onto objectives or zooming out an egregious amount amid walking in and around dangerous situations, breaking the pace of the game in those moments and occasionally blocking view of the player character entirely – consequently taking a heart or two in and unfair bout of combat.

Hauntii Review – Audio

Hauntii boasts one of the best scores of the year so far. Soft ethereal sounds whisk you away in quieter moments in-game, evoking joy, and whimsy – only to provide shock and awe with large, epic orchestral pieces during the tense encounters. More upbeat Swing and Jazz tunes accompany a visit to Wickland – The Carnival of the Dead. Something players will find themselves familiar with is the warped sounds when venturing out of the bounds of safety into darkness.

Music slows to a crawl and mutes gradually, leaving the only sound left being your own heart thumping in your ears. While there is very little danger or punishment from staying in the dark too long, the passive horror you feel thanks to the acute detail in visuals and audio will be enough to prevent you from leaving the safety of the light anytime soon.

Second only to the score are the immersive sound effects spread all throughout Eternity. Everything from shooting pellets and collecting currency to the large variety of sounds produced by the unique cast of haunt-able NPCs. There is so much love and detail injected into the elements that inhabit the Underworld – it makes for a truly immersive experience.

Hauntii Review – Post-Game and Extras (Hats & Headpieces)

Apart from the numerous Stars to be gathered around Eternity, the only other main collectible to be found are Hats that Hauntii can wear on their head. Most of these can be bought from vendors for one currency or another, while a very select few can be discovered through haunting certain objects.

Cute hats can be purchased at various vendors.

While they are varied, the unfortunate thing is that Hats can only be swapped by visiting a checkpoint somewhere in the land – breaking any momentum the game may have had up to that point. This killed any interest I had in collecting Hats during the game.


Despite its very frustrating minor game design decisions, the rest of Hauntii is a genuine marvel. Despite the game’s shortcomings – its artistic direction, dynamic score, and strong but simple narrative create a truly immersive journey that deserves to be experienced by everyone.

So, why should you play Hauntii?

  • Truly magnificent art direction with stunning visuals to boot
  • A very heartfelt, human story
  • A score that is difficult to ever tire of

But why shouldn’t you play Hauntii?

  • Frustrating game design decisions that can break game pace and unfairly punish the player
  • Not as challenging as some players may hope for

A review code for Hauntii was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our review. If you enjoyed this, be sure to discover more of our indie game reviews and join us over on the Qualbert Discord!

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