Connection Haunted is a mixture of throwback first-person shooters and horror games. It is developed by MrCiastku (also behind games like the dubious Wanking Simulator) and published by No Gravity Games, and it seems like a game that is meant to mess with you as it tries to scare you.
But is Connection Haunted a game worth your hard-earned time and money? Or is this an experience better left on a dead server? Let’s find out!
In theory, the combination of an old-school multiplayer arena shooter and horror games is a great idea. And in practice it works great too… but I’m talking about No Players Online when I say it works in practice, because unfortunately /Connection Haunted <SERVER ERROR> is a somewhat pale imitation of the idea.
I was looking forward to playing this game, especially so close to the Halloween period. But unfortunately, it missed on every mark for me. As an FPS it’s atrocious. Aiming using a Switch controller feels terrible, and you can barely see where you’re shooting and get no feedback whatsoever. And as a horror game, it’s almost as bad.
The concept of the game is that you load up a seemingly abandoned classic FPS that somehow still has servers running. You begin to play capture the flag against no-one until you collect and return a flag and a mysterious extra player joins, exactly like No Players Online. Except /Connection Haunted decided to shake things up by making the levels unbearably dark. The punishment for failure is unnecessarily harsh, and the atmosphere virtually non-existent to boot.
The art-style does a pretty good job of emulating a game from the early to mid-’90s, but without a reference point for it the graphics are hugely underwhelming. It would be like if an adult copied a picture made by a child. Without context, you’d likely think the picture was terrible, but if you were familiar with the child’s art and saw how close the adult was, it would be mildly impressive. Unfortunately, the mildly impressive aspect to the art in this game is literally overshadowed by just how dark it is.
Sound-wise, you have no music and barely any sounds until the monsters spawn in, and then you can hear them groaning. Again a very mild achievement. With no tutorial or explanation of what to do beyond ‘capture the flag’, it may take a few minutes to work out how to play. But once you do, you’re basically done. In fact, the whole game can be completed in under half an hour, and yes it is as unsatisfying as you might guess.
There are a few different levels in the game. However, they are all virtually the same. Not in looks, but in feel and in content. You do the same sort of repetitive tasks, just in a different place.
So with a game that has basically no content, how do you stretch it out? Well, this is the other aspect that borrows from the game of yesteryear, unnecessary difficulty. The levels are labyrinthine in nature and most of the assets look the same. So even when you can see a room, it may look identical to another. The game gives you a map thankfully, however, all it displays is your current location and objective which is somewhat misleading when the game wants you to walk in the opposite direction and wind your way around to the goal.
And when one of the spooky spectres has appeared you can shoot them (generally once) to avoid them, but aiming is quite hard and they can get to you from a crazy distance and when they do you get booted from the server…AND HAVE TO START EVERYTHING AGAIN. So even with a short run time, you could get 15 or 20 minutes in and then a ghost will touch you from the other side of the hall and you’re back to the start.
Is /Connection Haunted <SERVER DOWN> the worst game I’ve ever played? No, it loads and is playable. Is it the worst Switch game I’ve ever played? Quite possibly. Beyond frustration, I got nothing out of the experience. The ghosts announce themselves and have no animation for killing the player, so it doesn’t even have jump scares for those looking for that kind of thing. It’s just bland, empty, and devoid of any unique identity or ideas. It’s not on Switch, but if you have a PC and want to see what a good version of this idea looks like just play No Players Online. It’s even a name your own price game.
Short enough to not waste much time on
Worse version of an existing idea
Lack of content/variety