As the name implies, Spooky Bonus is themed around Halloween. Unlike a lot of games out there, it's also aimed at younger children. This means that nothing will get too scary or dark, and things are kept relatively simple. For example, the game's story has you investigating some strange events that are happening in "Old Town".
The game itself is pretty much what you'd expect from a Match 3
title. Every level consists of a grid with many different tiles scattered on it, and you clear these tiles by lining them up in groups of three or more. Each level, you're also given several specific goals. These usually include clearing a given number of a certain tile or clearing the golden background from the grid. Later on, you'll also need to drop special skull tiles off the grid and deal with obstacles like stones or cobwebs.
As you progress, you'll earn gold and occasionally find Halloween decorations. These can be placed around your in-game home, and in addition to making it look more festive, having these decorations in place also unlocks
new features and powerups
. As for the gold you collect, it's mainly used to purchase more decorations from the local curiosity shop.
If you're a fan of Match 3
s or enjoy all things Spooky, this game will be right up your alley.
Free Desktop Wallpaper
Two game modes
In an unexpected twist, the level backgrounds are available as desktop wallpaper
. They can be exported from within the game itself; the only catch is that you need to first reach a level where the background appears before you can use it outside of the game.
You can play Spooky Bonus with or without a timer. This allows you to control how much of a challenge the various levels are, as there's no real way to lose when there's no time limit. That said, even if you do fail to complete a level in time, there isn't much of a penalty for it -- you simply need to try the level again.
Relaxing Match 3
Although each level does contain some obstacles for you to overcome, they generally don't stand in your way for long. Most of them can be easily removed by making matches, but since you also have powerups
readily available, they don't stand much of a chance. Powerups
are typically made through making matches of four or more tiles, though you also have a set of six upgradeable powerups
at the bottom of the screen. Once they've been unlocked
, they can be used at any time, but they have a limited amount of power. After using them, you'll need to recharge them by clearing tiles that have a unique shine or glow to them.
There are a grand total of 19 achievements
to earn while playing through this puzzle game. Most of them are simply earned by completing levels and entering new areas, but about a third of them require you to do something exceptional during your journey. Examples include purchasing every decoration, scoring a large number of points, or stringing together a large chain reaction with your various powerups
You also get an achievement
for completing the game in each mode, so you'll need to play through the game at least twice if you want to earn them all.
Lastly, if you like Steam trading cards
, there's a spooky set to collect while you work your way through Old Town.
Probably the biggest drawback to this game is that it lacks the sort of challenge and nuanced story that older gamers might be looking for. The main challenge is the level timer, and it's only active in timed mode. On top of this, it's likely that you'll always be able to clear a level with a generous amount of time remaining, rendering the time limit moot.
Since this game is built around Halloween, just about everything you'd expect to see during the holiday can be found as you play. This includes skulls, black cats, ghosts, Jack o' Lanterns, and even vampires and witches. But, while these things are present in large amounts, nothing is graphic or overly scary. This is a children's game, after all.
Some powerups are problematic
Perhaps the most questionable thing in this game is that the final unlockable powerup
is a tarot card. You're not told which card it is and it's only purpose is to shuffle the game board, but the tarot is a very touchy subject for Christians due to its affiliation with the occult.
Other potentially problematic items include crosses, silver bullets, and the crystal ball powerup
. The first two are created by making larger matches and help you clear columns and rows of tiles, while the latter is an unlockable powerup
that generates random powerups
in the grid when used.