You are currently viewing Connection Haunted: horror in an abandoned fps

Remember those old school FPS games like Quake and Unreal? Back in the day when dial-up modems were still a thing and you had to basically schedule with your friends to go online and play a game since iMessage or Whatsapp hadn’t been invented yet. Well those games can technically still be played today, but their server will probably be pretty empty. Nothing scary about an empty server off course. Unless you’re playing Connection Haunted!

Connection Haunted is a first-person psychological horror game by Polish developer MrCiastku. The premise of the game is that you are a player in a seemingly abandoned first-person multiplayer shooter game. At first everything seems normal; just a game of capture the flag, with no other players who’ve joined. But that all changes until other players start to join in. Especially with Player 2, who seems to know more than meets the eye…

The start of Connection Haunted might be a strange one for a game. You immediately enter a game lobby and start the game. There’s no explanation, no tutorial, no cut-scenes. Nothing that you’d usually see in a game to set up the tone and story for you. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it and if I liked it or not, but after having played the game I now feels it totally works for this one. It sets an immediate uneasy tone and sets the mood for the rest of the game.

Because it’s that feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness that makes this game into what it is. You think you’re in an abandoned multiplayer game and you’re the only one there. No enemies, no nothing. That in itself isn’t scary at all. But just the fact that you know something is wrong and something is going to happen, makes that you don’t play this game without that constant feeling of fear and anxiety. Especially when you get deeper into it and other players start communicating with you via the in-game text chat option, is it when weird things start to happen. Let me tell you, I’ve had several jump scare moments in those first few rounds of “capture the flag” that totally got to me.

The fact that there’s no real explanation or tutorial also is a bit of a weakness to the game. It took me several rounds of trial and error to progress the story, just because I wasn’t sure what it was that I had to do. Again here it wasn’t clear if the game was set out like this, or if it’s indeed just trial and error, but it caused a little bit of frustration at the start.

The game looks very outdated which initially I thought was a design choice to add to the idea of this being an old school FPS game.

The controls of the game are very simple. You can walk, run and jump, you have a single gun with unlimited bullets (you do need to reload after 6 shots) and you have 15 glowsticks that will illuminate the environment. And you need those, because the game is dark. Very dark! It doesn’t help that the graphics on the Switch are not of the same quality as those of PC or other platforms. At first I thought the outdated graphics were a style choice to add to the idea of this being an old game, but turns out, it’s only on the Switch version. Subway tunnels all look similar, so it’s easy to get lost. Also, the game looked like it had a few weird graphical glitches. The train indicator lights cast a nice evenly lit glow through the tunnel, but as soon as the lights are out of frame, the glow also was lost. Nothing gamebreaking obviously, but I wonder if this game shows some limitations of the Switch.

The idea that this game pushes the limits of the Switch is further fueled by the frame rate. At the start of a round, the frame rate is smooth and solid. However after capturing a few flags, both the player model as the audio start to stutter. Initially I thought this was done on purpose, adding to the idea that the servers and the connection was haunted and therefore not as stable. But after having seen the graphical glitches mentioned earlier, I feel that it may just be a shortcoming on the Switch’s capabilities. 

If you want to see Connection Haunted in action, be sure to check out my video review of it as well!

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