That iOS version of XCOM may be yet to touch down, but Haunted Hollow has nonetheless crept out of Firaxis’ laboratory in the dead of night, bringing the studio’s undeniable affinity for turn-based strategising to the mobile platform.
Haunted Hollow sees two players competing to frighten the inhabitants of a town nestled between rival haunted houses. Your houses function as bases – you build rooms that spawn monsters. ‘Fighty’ monsters are designed to tackle the opposing player’s creatures, but scary monsters win you the game: you capture houses by scaring them, and holding every house ensures victory. Moving, scaring, attacking, and building more than one room per turn costs fear points – though the amount of available actions builds up as you play, meaning that turns tend to get longer and more involved as each match continues. There’s a complex set of variables involved here – matches can be won by aggressive battle tactics, relentless scaring strategies, or by efficiently building up fear points and overwhelming your opponent. The game provides its own wild card in the form of the mob – a torch-wielding pack of villagers who will indiscriminately burn both side’s houses and attack their forces.
Haunted Hollow’s charismatically ghoulish visuals can, at times, make for a cluttered board, and its decision to hide certain units and items behind micro-transactions grants those who pay more tactical breadth. Accept this last point in particular and there’s fun to be had with Haunted Hollow, but Firaxis’ creepy monsters can’t quite compete with its extra-terrestrial threats.
Haunted Hollow is free on iOS now.