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When I saw that there was a Goosebumps mobile phone virtual reality demo at GamesBeat 2015, I didn’t go in with high expectations. I am a bit too old to have grown up off of the books, and given that the Goosebumps movie coming out later this week looks like yet another awkward Hollywood license grab, my prejudices were tilted against this game.

The funny thing about prejudices is that they always get proven wrong.

Goosebumps: Night of Scares (coming out this week for $5 on iOS and Android devices), as a small virtual reality experience, is an amusing stealth horror game.

The VR Goosebumps draws from the upcoming movie. I must search for pages from several novels scattered throughout an old, creepy house. These magical pages will help me capture and teleport one of R.L. Stine’s many creatures, which have escaped into the “real” world, back into the Goosebumps universe.

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You move by staring at waypoints on the floor, which look like green shoe prints. Moving items, turning off lights, closing doors, and hiding are also performed by simply looking at an object for about a second. When hiding, I can also make my in-game avatar tuck themselves tight by pressing the screen. Why would I want to turn off lights, close doors, and hide? Well, a zombie roams the hallways of the house, slowly hunting me down.

Goosebumps Night of Scares zombie

Above: I’m just going to sit here and hope you don’t notice me

Image Credit: Cosmic Forces/Free Range Games

This mix of having me do everything in this psuedo-turn-based style, while the zombie shambles around freely without any time restrictions, adds a ton of suspense. I would often hear the zombie coming up behind me, which would make me scramble around trying to locate a set of foot prints or a hiding spot to stare at.

To play the virtual reality mode of Goosebumps: Night of Scares, we used a Merge VR headset, which has a button setup on the top of the unit. This provides for interaction with the screen. This allowed me to perform the tuck and hide action without taking the goggles off and fingering the screen. The developer, Free Range Games, is supposedly also working on support for cardboard virtual reality units as well.

For those that don’t have access to virtual reality-friendly equipment, or simply don’t like virtual reality, Free Range Games also developed a version that works without it. All I had to do is swing the phone around to investigate my surroundings and use my fingers to interact with objects.

For a $5 movie tie-in product, Goosebumps: Night of Scares definitely has some cool potential. Look for it later this week.

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