Scare up a good time with The Spookening.

The App Store is rife with games belonging to nearly every genre out there. Chances are good no matter what you’re into, there’s a game for you – that’s the beauty of it! But have you ever stumbled across a game where scaring the wits out of your targets is the goal? We’re willing to bet you haven’t. But thanks to the bizarre gem The Spookening, you can be on your way to terrorizing villagers and grinning smugly with little more than an app purchase. The Spookening is a silly but satisfying exercise in creeping out the living, the only way a ghost knows how.

Hero Herman is an unfortunate individual who must deal with the unpleasant reality of becoming a sort of “were-ghost” every night, making him eligible to run around and spook every single person in his sleepy little village of Clifftown. In a nutshell, you’re pulling a Beetlejuice and terrorizing the living. The chills unfold across 20 different levels, plenty for some bite-sized poltergeist panic. You must spend a good amount of time each level scaring the people of Clifftown to earn “soular power,” which you must use to bring Herman back to the land of the living by daybreak. The type of scares you perform determine how many units of the currency are dropped per NPC, so you have to get creative in order to ensure you meet your goal.

Navigating the city is done via circle analog stick to the left of the screen, and this is also used to implement scares. The purple button at the right side of the screen will supercharge the scares. This is required if you want to really grab the soular power. Charging a shot is the way to go and waiting to catch a cluster of village-dwellers before unleashing is quite exciting.

Villagers aren’t stupid, though. They’ll be ready to run from you, and that’s when you can swoop in for a larger scale combo. But if you scare them too much, you’ll end up killing them. Dead villagers come back as black ghosts who have no qualms about draining your hard-earned soular power. They can be easily vanquished via light posts or special abilities, but are certainly a pain — try not to deal with them too often.

The Spookening

Abilities can be purchased via collected soular power, including invisibility and the helpful Vortex skill, great for sending those pesky black ghosts away. You can settle on 3 at a time out of 8 for use, and they’ll make the game a breeze, so make sure you’re vigilant about collecting. In the end these are what take The Spookening from a mediocre haunt game to a much more interesting endeavor.

The jaunty illustrations, Halloween-esque vault of sound effects, and level openers work together to lend a spooky lilt to this playful scare simulator, and it’s clear that Modesty put thoughtful work into creating a game that thinks pretty far outside the box. For a couple bucks, The Spookening is an entertaining romp that doesn’t masquerade as anything more than it is — a people-scarin’ good time with plenty of ways to scare the pants off the average Joe. It may be completed quickly, but it’s still worth your time.