Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion

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Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is a Steam game with a cute exterior, but is really a primordial soup of horror game references.

Console PC, PlayStation 4
Developer Lag Studios/Albino Moose Games/KIRA LLC
Publisher Lag Studios/Albino Moose Games, Screenwave Media/KIRA LLC
Genre Survival horror
Release Year 2014, 2017 (HD Renovation)
Free Download Download from Steam.
Purchase (HD Renovation for PC) Purchase from Steam.
Purchase (HD Renovation for PS4) Purchase from PlayStation Store.
Purchase Karamari Hospital DLC Purchase from Steam.
Purchase The Doll House DLC Purchase from Steam.
Purchase Soundtrack Purchase from Steam.

Yes, I know the developer changed it to Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion. But this one cheap hack of a developer called Spooky House Studio can go suck a dick for trying to copyright a generic phrase. What’s next? Should I go create a Brown Cow Studio and threaten to sue someone for creating a game called Brown Cow?

I’m still going to call it Spooky’s House of Jump Scares. It sounds better.

So it’s been a while since the name change and I had a minor change of heart. While fans of the original game may still call it Spooky’s House of Jump Scares, I’ll start calling this game Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion since it might be better for driving traffic to the game. It may be a matter of time before the old name drops from people’s minds anyway, so might as well just live with it.

But for the record, I still don’t agree with the circumstances behind the name change. It was a petty thing to threaten a lawsuit over.

When it first came out, Spooky’s House of Jump Scares quickly grew in popularity among the Let’s Play community. Certainly not at the level of Five Nights at Freddy’s (how most unfortunate), but it still managed to catch on with famous Youtube channels like Pewdiepie, Markiplier, the Game Grumps, and Cinemassacre. Though it’s a rather simple game, Spooky’s House of Jump Scares has a fairly dedicated fanbase.

Why?

Spooky's House of Jump Scares Spooky with bowie knife
Oh, she is so kawaii desu! <<<<<<3333###3#33#33halpmeithinkimturningweaboo3333

Well, yeah. That’s not the only reason. It’s because the game is still a horror game at its core despite its goofy title and deceitful cutesiness. For a free horror game, that is not a bad deal—but if you paid money for the HD Renovation, you might be a tad disappointed.

 

The Tale of an Eccentric Ghost Girl and the Mansion of Multiple Dimensions

The story is that you’re some random history enthusiast who had heard of tales of a haunted mansion, so you decided to check it out. Immediately, you were greeted by the little ghost girl known as Spooky.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion Spooky the ghost girl
Aw! I just want to pinch her itty-bitty ghosty cheeks… <3333

She said your goal is to explore 1,000 rooms in the haunted mansion. And that’s basically it. A walking simulator. That’s all you do for the rest of the game. Sounds boring, right?

Well, to be fair, this game has some pretty neat quirks to it. So I wouldn’t dismiss it for its simplicity.

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Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is a first-person exploration game, similar to many other free indie horror games that you could get off of Indie DB, Game Jolt or someplace. While you initially have no means to defend yourself, you will acquire an axe later on that allows you to clear obstacles and fend off enemies.

You have a health meter and a stamina meter. If you take any damage, the health meter will regenerate slowly over time. The stamina meter is for running and using your weapon. It depletes very quickly, but also regenerates just as quickly.

The graphics are strangely cartoonish, which seems to clash with the horror theme. Sort of like what happens when you attempt to turn Minecraft into a horror game. However, I feel that it does work to this game’s advantage. The look and feel of the house seems to reflect Spooky’s personality. Not only in its simplicity, but even in its grimness. Many of the rooms you enter have low lighting. If you decide to stop and smell the flowers every now and then, you will even find some rather fucked up paintings.

And as stated in the title, you get a lot of jump scares like these!

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion specimen 1 pumpkin
BOINK!

These Specimen 1 cardboard cutouts are harmless and are only around to hopefully make you shit your pants after making a sudden loud noise. Ohhh, but that’s not all. You know what’s even cuter?

Spoiler

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…Well… fffffuck.

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The monsters are the most fascinating part of Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion. We’re not just playing through any ol’ horror game for cheap thrills. Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is basically a primordial soup of homages to horror video games and other media. Even the transition to opening doors into new areas is a reference to Resident Evil. You have one Specimen based on monsters from the Silent Hill franchise. Another Specimen based on Resident Evil. Another based on the Kaernk from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Even some references to non-horror games like The Legend of Zelda: Major’s Mask and Earthbound. Most of the Specimens have their own lore, theme songs, methods of attack, and even unique death screens.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion specimen 6 death screen
I’m seeing no evil… I’m seeing no evil…

The key to beating Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is to know when to use the running ability or the axe, as well as coming up with strategies on how to avoid the monsters. While most are fairly easy to avoid—as all they do is briskly move towards you—, some have special abilities that will hinder you. Quite a few Specimens can phase through walls. Specimen 5 can make the walls look like rivers of blood to throw off your vision. Specimen 10 will distort your vision and enter a secondary form if you’re too far or too close to it. For a large chunk of his domain, Specimen 12 can only be avoided by entering specific hiding spots and will kill you in one blow if he gets too close to you.

Though you can use similar strategies for most of these monsters, there’s enough variety here to make this game better than a typical free horror game. It actually makes the act of going through 1,000 repetitive rooms a lot more tolerable. There are two different endings depending on how much you used the axe for your playthrough. There are even damn mini-games!

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion Mall of the Spook

Despite the horror overtones, the game is strangely optimistic in its presentation. Though it could be Spooky herself playing tricks on you, the house seems to encourage you to keep moving forward despite all the trials and tribulations you’re up against.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion hang in there cat poster

Hell, you even got some supportive, intellectual conversations about Jungian philosophy from this pink cat.

Spooky's House of Jump Scares the cat
TICK! TOCK! TICK! TOCK!

The sound design is also pretty damn good. Though you have some fairly typical ambiance for a horror game—with plenty of background noises to catch you off guard—the actual theme songs for the Specimens are memorable and catchy. My particular favorites are “Your Consenting Mind” and “Getting There.”

Tracks

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However, there is one design choice I don’t agree with. Supposedly, the theme music for the monsters don’t play half of the time in order to make their encounters more difficult. However, these chases are not really that hard if you can still hear the monster noises through the ambiance. I guess it makes the chases less exciting for me?

It feels like much of the good music was wasted to only play once in a single playthrough. Sometimes, the lack of music just makes the actual encounters feel uneventful, which goes against the game’s appeal. I think the music is part of the reward for a monster encounter. This may be wishful thinking, but I’m hoping this needless feature gets removed in the future.

And now, we’re moving on to the Karamari Hospital DLC. Unlike the main game, this DLC actually costs some moolah.

 

Karamari Hospital DLC

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion Karamari Hospital gameplay

Karamari Hospital is a little different from the main game, as it changes up the rules a bit and tries to shoot for something original.

The premise is more or less an alternative ending, from what I understand. Instead of entering room 1,000, you stop dead at 995 in order to take the elevator. But suddenly, the elevator malfunctions and drops into the deepest possible bowels of the house. And this takes you to the aforementioned Karamari Hospital.

For me to say that so casually, I’ve already accepted the insanity presented by this game.

Your only objective in Karamari Hospital… is to escape Karamari Hospital. Yeah, that’s basically it. Instead of trying to explore as many rooms in the house as possible, Karamari Hospital puts a larger emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving. You may also get a little backstory on Spooky herself. This DLC is kind of like the area where you first encounter Specimen 12, where you have to go through a house in order to progress. While Karamari Hospital lasts longer than that particular section, it’s hard to say if it is really a $5 experience. It’s really short. But seeing as how we got a much longer game for free, I can’t complain. Got to give the developer some profit for the extra hard work.

And also, this DLC is scarier than the original game. And I know this is a horror gaming cliché to point out, but it has a bit of a Silent Hill vibe to it. Maybe a bit of the beginning of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne as well. So, at least it has that going for it.

And kudos to the new monster designs.

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Hell, let’s not forget this priceless gem.

Spooky's House of Jump Scares Karamari Hospital Monster 6 Bekka
Get it? That’s Rebecca Black!

And that about sums up Karamari Hospital.  Everything else, I would just find out by giving it a play.

Honestly, I find it difficult to find a right way to criticize free games. Mainly because it’s unfair to uphold them to the same standards as mainstream video games and even indie developers that put a price tag on their games. But despite its minimalist approach, I came to like Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion more than I expected. It’s one of those horror games with some atmosphere that you can quickly jump into and you can invest a few hours of your time into.

Take that as you will, but I feel like the game is worth a shot.

So now… let’s judge its merits as a paid game!

 

HD Renovation

So there’s another version of Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion known as HD Renovation, which is remade with Unity instead of GameMaker. And it’s exactly what you expected. It’s an HD remake of the original game, which you have to pay $9.99 for. And I just so happened to get this one on sale.

Unfortunately, not much has changed though that’s to be expected. The basic story is exactly the same, with no additional backstories or dialogue. By the time I’m writing this, HD Renovation has the main game and the Karamari Hospital campaign. Endless Mode and a Build-your-own mansion mode are not active yet, which is disappointing. I guess you could say this version of the game is Early Access? Eh, I don’t know. And now, there is an Endless Mode, which is exactly what you expected.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion HD Renovation gameplay

Now, let’s begin with the first noticeable changes. The textures are cleaner for sure and some of the rooms look different (though sadly, they’re still mostly small rooms and hallways with nothing interesting in them). There’s also some more background music/ambiance.

Whenever you play arcade cabinets and use the CAT-DOS computers, you have a third-person view of them. I personally don’t like this change as the controls feel more clunky overall.

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Some of the monster designs and behaviors have also been altered. Here are some changes I noticed:

  • Specimen 2 rises out of slime puddles.
  • Specimen 3 visibly crawls out of holes in the ceiling, has a cleaner texture and moves even faster than before.
  • Specimen 4 has a shadowy aura around her. She also has a much creepier version of herself, complete with a more horrifying theme song that reminds me of Giygas from Earthbound.
  • Specimen 5 is a 3D model, moves faster and can create more illusions.
  • Specimen 6 is much more aggressive than before, teleporting more frequently; if you stare him down, he will teleport to your location in about 15 seconds.
  • Specimen 8’s voice clips play more often.
  • Specimen 9 can show up when you idle for too long in the original game. In HD Renovation, it can pop up much earlier.
  • Specimen 10 is a 3D model with smoother animations. It’s also more likely to enter its second form if you move too far away from it.
  • Specimen 11 has a burning flame between its horns.
  • Specimen 12 looks a little different and has different voice clips.
  • Instead of a wearing a towel over her legs, Specimen 13 is now a carnivorous mermaid.
  • Monsters 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 can show up as random encounters in Endless Mode.
  • Five new Specimens available only in Endless Mode.

Oh, and some can bust down doors. That’s pretty cool.

Apparently, you can play this game through a VR headset like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and OSVR. But since I don’t have any of them (and don’t plan on getting one), I can’t personally comment on it. But I read that the VR support was terrible, so keep your expectations low.

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Honestly, it’s nice to see this game continuously getting updates. At this rate, it might end up like SCP Containment Breach where it constantly adds in new monsters.

Speaking of which, the new additions for Endless Mode were… interesting, to say the least. Unknown Specimen 1 is actually White Face from the indie game IMSCARED ,which is really cool. Unknown Specimen 2 is an utterly crappy joke character (and deservedly so…) based on Five Nights at Freddy’s. Unknown Specimen 3 is surprisingly a creepy addition with a unique (and frustrating) mechanic. Unknown Specimen 4 is a… deceptively cute anime-esque wolf girl with antlers. Yeah, figure that one out. And Unknown Specimen 5 is Lisa from P.T.

With the exception of the joke character, these characters will make your venture through Endless Mode a living hell. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the original game or HD Renovation. They have a strange tendency to constantly harass you.

In Endless Mode of the original game, it’s hard from the beginning because any of the tougher monsters can spawn at any point. In HD Renovation, you get some leeway. But as soon as you meet one of the Unknown Specimens, that particular specimen is going to keep appearing.

In one playthrough, Tirsiak kept spawning—who knows, ya nerds. Maybe she had a crush on me and wanted first dibs, if you know what I’m saying. Her shadow animals certainly didn’t like me though.

In another playthrough, Lisa kept spawning. Yeah, what a lovely lady she was. She slowed everything down by freezing the room counter for a while, basically fucking up my progress. I probably went through over 50 extra rooms that didn’t count towards my progress.

Want to make things worse? Well, in HD Renovation’s Endless Mode, you can encounter two or more monsters simultaneously. That’s what did me in during my last playthrough.

Both Tirsiak and Lisa followed me in a deadly double team. Tirsiak’s gimmick is summoning shadow creatures to block my path forward, so I’d have to be constantly facing forward to kill them. Lisa’s gimmick is that she’s an even more persistent, annoying version of Specimen 6, in that she constantly teleports to your location. But she only does that when you have your back turned, so you’d have to face backwards to make sure she doesn’t move from her spot.

You know where this is going. I was in a situation that’s nearly impossible to win. Then Tirsiak finished me off and fed me to her invisible pack of wolves. The unfairness of that double team was enraging. And I’m sure if I try Endless Mode again in the future, I’m going to be encountering more teams I will end up hating.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion HD Renovation Karamari Hospital Sunshine Academy

Furthermore, I replayed the Karamari Hospital campaign on HD Renovation and found this bizarre mini-game called Sunshine Academy. It’s a dating sim where you attempt to win the heart of a girl named Ume Ito, and… it’s pretty fucked up and disturbing. Even more so than the arcade minigames. Imagine Doki Doki Literature Club! if everything goes to hell in just a few minutes of starting the game.

And no, this game is surprisingly NOT a reference to DDLC. This update came in 2016. DDLC was released in 2017. Sorry, Monika’s just not feeling it.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion HD Renovation looping hall bronze man Howard

I know this next complaint isn’t really a new thing, but… can we please do something about this one specific room in the mansion? You know what I’m talking about. The looping room with the static overlay and the single locked door that will randomly unlock itself after a certain amount of time passes. And sometimes, this bronze man nicknamed Howard by fans just comes out as a jump scare.

This room pops up at least once in every 100 rooms I enter, and it gets old really quick. All it does is slow everything down and keep you in the same room for over a minute. There is nothing new to see in subsequent visits after the first visit to this room. It’s tedious as fuck and adds nothing to the gameplay.

And yeah, that’s about it. The reason that HD Renovation was made with a different game engine is that the original game had some glitches and limited support for 3D models, so Unity gives more freedom to the developer to do whatever.

With all this said though, nothing had fundamentally changed thus far. It’s a little harder than the original, but still not that challenging of a game. Unless you really want to support the developer (good on you), HD Renovation doesn’t offer any huge advantage over the free original game.

Well, there’s ONE as I recently discovered. It runs in a more stable manner than the original game. And for whatever reason, launching the original game through Steam makes it run terribly.

Playing the HD Renovation also helps me notice the game’s flaws more. Whether you’re playing this version or the original, Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is a repetitive hallway simulator with not many obstacles or challenges in your way. Most of the Specimens have the same routine—slowly inching towards you and sneaking in a melee attack. Some can phase through walls and make doors disappear, but it all follows a very predictable pattern. There are very few reasons to not stop running and check behind you for the monster.

I was more forgiving towards the original game since it did feel like a full game that you could play for free. But since HD Renovation is a $9.99 game, I think the repetitive gameplay needs to have more stuff to do in it. For example, you encountered some Specimens in more maze-like areas where you had to solve puzzles and find items to progress. As a suggestion, I think HD Renovation should have this happen more often. In fact, I actually liked Karamari Hospital because it’s essentially this, only a bit longer.

Alas, I feel like I did overrate this game a tad bit, so I’m adjusting my rating accordingly. I still love the monster designs and their fascinating backgrounds, but I’m hoping for more variable gameplay in the future. Since the developer is still adding new features to the game, maybe we’ll see some neat stuff in the near future.

 

The Doll House (Spooky’s Dollhouse) DLC

Okay, so some more neat stuff came.

In early October 2020, Akuma Kira released a new DLC campaign for both versions of the game. It goes by the name of The Doll House or Spooky’s Dollhouse. Supposedly, this is the final piece of DLC to come for Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion (The Doll House) doll with broken face

This campaign picks up right from the ending of the Karamari Hospital DLC. But instead of a creepy hospital where terrible things have happened, you’re inside what appears to be a Victorian-style mansion full of dolls.

Ah yes, creepy, creepy fucking dolls…

Child's Play Chucky
Happy fellow, ain’t he?

Not gonna lie. Possessed dolls were one of my first childhood fears because of this motherfucker. Child’s Play used to scare to everlasting shit out of me because of Chucky. It certainly doesn’t help that Brad Dourif’s voiceover for the doll really sends the character over to pure uncanny valley territory.

So guess what? One of the very first things you do in The Doll House is carrying a doll of a young girl with you. And she’s always WATCHING you.

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This doll is the main mechanic that The Doll House is built around. Because the air of the dollhouse itself is stagnant, your health won’t regenerate like in the base game. Instead, you need to “borrow” the doll’s own spirit energy by shaking her. Also, you can’t use the axe while carrying her.

But here’s the kicker: you need the doll to contain a healthy amount of spirit energy towards the end of the DLC. Because she’s your “child” and your friend for the rest of this journey, so you need to care for her. So sometimes, you must visit the Tea Room to help replenish her energy.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion (The Doll House) the Doll Tea Room
So… how are you liking this mansion? Your friends seem hungry for my flesh.

We had a relaxing time.

And sometimes, you need to set the doll on a pedestal to activate switches, so for a time you will be separated. For whatever horrors you encounter next, you’re on your own.

So the funny thing is that I was apprehensive of this doll and that she would eventually turn against me and become one of the enemies. This wouldn’t be the first time I was burned by an adorable doll (looking at you, Death Mark…) Like, I’ve been on the edge whenever the doll tilted towards me between loading screens. And I’m being real on this. She turns towards you sometimes, with that seemingly innocent smile frozen in place.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking! Don’t think you can fool me just because you’re cute! Any moment now, your face is going to contort and I’ll be seeing a flesh-eating demon in my arms very soon! Well, you’re not going to fool me, you little…

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Oh my god, noooo… I’m sorry…

I don’t know why, but it just breaks my heart when I see tears flowing from the doll’s eyes. And I feel even worse when she covers her eyes with her tiny hands. I think it’s the fact that there’s a soul of a deceased child contained in this doll, and the doll itself has the temperament of an innocent child who’s helpless and can’t do much on her own. It’s very… sad.

And actually, if you shake the doll enough times (which constitutes as “abuse” in this game), she’ll start to cry. And even more, she’ll cover her eyes. Damn it, I shouldn’t be feeling this bad.

And I’m not gonna lie, there was one point in the DLC where you’re separated from the doll for some time. And the first thing I thought was, “Oh god, what’s going to happen to her?”

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion (The Doll House) the Doll on the ground
Nooo! Why are you on the ground!?

And thankfully, I reunite with her… but she’s on the ground, alone. And her spirit energy was completely drained. Did someone attack her and steal her energy? Or did she move on her own trying to find you, but ended up expending too much energy?

It’s one thing if something attacked her. But if this doll has separation anxiety, man… my heart just can’t take it…

So, wow, I’m feeling bad for a possessed doll who can’t even speak. IT’S RAINING CATS AND DOGS OUTSIDE! WHAT THE FUCK!?

Well played, Akuma Kira. Well played.

Needless to say, this is the part of The Doll House that I really enjoyed. I wasn’t expecting to get attached to a doll containing a soul in it, so well done in that regard.

Now let’s talk about the other stuff.

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I don’t think I need to explain how creepy this DLC gets. Most of the dolls you encounter are either going be staring at you or trying to murder you. And I swear, there is one particular doll that even looked like Chucky from Child’s Play.

While most of the enemies aren’t particularly threatening, they are a bit tricky to deal with if that makes any sense. Woormy Charles, for example, can move incredibly fast and he’ll be patrolling some of the hallways. If he sees you, he rushes in towards you for an attempted attack. As for the Hooked Doll, looking at her will cause her to speed up towards you. It’s like a reverse Weeping Angel from Doctor Who. You CAN’T look at your target or you’ll die. And having to deal with her in darkness is an intense experience.

These cool creations would certainly be fun to deal with during Endless Mode (there was even a short petition to bring in the creepy, harmless clown into the game mode, which got enough signatures for his inclusion).

The Doll House also serves as the conclusion to the game’s story. Through the base game, you only learn little of Spooky’s past life. In fact, you’d have to look for a hidden Easter egg to find out how she died. The Karamari Hospital DLC further expanded upon the mansion’s purpose and the measures taken to bring back Spooky to life. And so, we have The Doll House to explain what other measures were taken to bring back the dead, how some of the Specimens came to be and what really happened on the night of Spooky’s death.

It’s a good conclusion that ties up most things together and I’m glad it finally happened. The base game came out in 2014 and Karamari Hospital came out in 2015. Needless to say, it’s been quite a while since we got new story content. Though the story did leave me with some questions about the events that took place. If you want to know the specifics, there’s a spoiler tag for you to click.

Spoilers

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To trigger one of the two main endings, you’d have to go into the depths of GL Labs and find a machine. This machine functions as a “seal” that keeps all the ghosts trapped in the mansion. In order to do this, a “nightmare” must be used as the power source. It’s revealed that Spooky’s father used his own “nightmare” to turn this seal on, thus ending his life. And supposedly, this “nightmare” was part of what ended Spooky’s life.

But to shut off the machine, you’d have erase the “nightmare” and sacrifice the soul trapped within the Doll. As in, you’d have to let it go, like with the rest of the spirits trapped in the mansion. Not gonna lie, this is a tough decision solely on the fact that I formed a sentimental attachment to the Doll. But I know at some point, I’d have to do this to trigger the game’s good ending. So the best I could do is make the Doll “happy” before I let her soul rest in peace.

So we know that the Doll that we’ve been carrying around has a soul inside it. But the question is whose soul?

The Doll produces tears whenever she’s near Spooky and when she’s close to the grave of a deceased woman named Monica. Monica is most likely Spooky’s mother, who died sometime after Spooky did. So this raises questions. Does the spirit contained within the Doll know these people?

Furthermore, the Doll is absolutely frightened by the Clown and the Hooked Doll, covering her eyes whenever she’s near them. This suggests a child-like disposition. Or just fear in general.

 

1. Spooky

One possible theory is that a part of Spooky herself is tethered to the Doll. It would make some lick of sense since it would suggest that Spooky had been lamenting her death and that she was horrified that her mother passed away. The part of Spooky that resides in the Doll contained the positive traits that made her human, such as her childlike innocence, fear and depression. This might explain why the ghost of Spooky displayed psychopathic tendencies and thoughts of enslaving the human race in the name of fear. There might’ve been a point where Spooky didn’t mind being referred to as “cute.” But after her death, she absolutely despises it and wants to be feared instead. Because that’s her one earthly desire that kept her around as a ghost.

The one contradiction to this theory is that a note in The Doll House claims that Spooky is tethered to the mansion itself (as her “vessel”) rather than a doll. Because of a seal set in the mansion, Spooky can never leave the mansion as long as the seal is in place.

However, there’s a chance that Spooky’s father did attempt to bring his daughter back and seal her spirit into a doll, but it failed. Similarly to other dolls you come across, they were all spirits trapped inside their new vessels. But because the souls were taken out of their eternal rest and forced into uncomfortable vessels, they became contemptuous of the living and sought to kill them (hence the Husks, Woormy Charles and the Hooked Doll). Alongside these violent souls, there were few “gentle” ones that would just watch you rather than harming you. Hence the existence of the Doll, “Clicky” and the Clown.

 

2. Spooky’s Father

Another possible theory is the soul of Spooky’s father residing in the Doll. Upon seeing his dead daughter and the grave of his wife from the eyes of the Doll, he becomes depressed. So in a way, it would make sense since then the Doll would have a personal reaction to both Spooky and Monica’s grave.

However, this would mean that someone else summoned the soul of Spooky’s father into the Doll, possibly at the father’s request. This may partially explain why the DLC brings up a GL Labs assistant named Doug, who was supposedly the one responsible for digging underground and establishing a base beneath the doll house. But somewhere along the way, Doug died and there’s no living person left to attend the doll house’s depths.

Another piece of evidence that could support the soul being Spooky’s father is the Nightmare Sequence that occurs after shutting off the mansion’s seal. When you’re releasing the Doll’s spirit, you’re actually releasing the “nightmare” too.

The “nightmare” has you take the role of an unknown person, shooting at monstrous-looking World War II German soldiers in a creepy labyrinth. At the end of the labyrinth, you shot Spooky (in the flesh, while in her Red Masque costume). This heavily implies that Spooky’s father is the one who murdered his daughter, not some random man that overreacted to a Halloween prank.

After this part of the Nightmare, you plant the same gun used to kill Spooky next to a homeless man sleeping on a bench. This means that Spooky’s father pinned the blame of his daughter’s murder on someone else, so that he wouldn’t go to prison.

Considering the mansion’s nature, the post-war PTSD and how Spooky’s father tried to cover up the truth behind his daughter’s murder, he’s lost his sanity. Feeling horribly guilty for the death of his daughter, Spooky’s father is willing to conduct unethical science experiments and summon people back from the dead (by opening a portal to Hell itself), just to beg forgiveness from his daughter. In the end, he felt guilty about trying to bring his daughter back too, so his final wish was for Spooky to rest again.

 

3. A Random Child

This is another possibility that I don’t want to rule out, but it’s by far the least likely theory to me. The spirit sealed in the Doll could be one of the many souls of deceased children trapped in the doll house. The spirit just so happens to belong to that of a gentle child, so it may be why the Doll would rather help you than kill you.

It’s possible that the spirit of the Doll is saddened by seeing other deceased people (Spooky’s ghost and Monica’s grave), hence why she cried. This wouldn’t be a personal matter for the Doll, but she still becomes sad from seeing the dead and frightened from seeing horrifying creatures.

 

Which one do you think it is? Or perhaps the soul belonged to someone else?

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As for the HD Renovation version of The Doll House, it’s mostly identical as one might expect. But there are some key differences I noticed, the most obvious one being the 3D models. If you remember, the original release of Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion used 2D images to represent the monsters (sort of like how the enemies of the original Doom face you). Meanwhile, HD Renovation uses mostly 3D models.

The Husk enemy unfortunately doesn’t look nearly as frightening as its 2D counterpart, missing the uncanny walking animation and dark bloody colors.  But because the colors of some of the 3D models are seemingly more washed out, the Husk looks far less horrifying.

The Doll model is also super pale in comparison to her original 2D appearance, which had a lot of dark shadows. I guess the purpose of this is to make the Doll less frightening, which is probably the intent since she’s not meant to be frightening.

Unfortunately, the 3D model is missing the crying frame, which is very strange. She still has the animation for covering her eyes, but she didn’t seem to react to her environment as often. So ironically, this Doll has more “character” in the original release of the game. I’m not sure if this is just an oversight to rush the HD Renovation version of the DLC out.

To further support this, I noticed parts of the DLC are glitchier. When I triggered the bad ending, it didn’t play the bad ending credits music. Instead, dead silence.

If I get killed by Specimen 9, his death animation didn’t appear. I just get an immediate game over.

Whenever I’m near the Hooked Doll, she doesn’t make any sounds like she did in the original game. She’s completely silent.

The final difference I notice is the final Specimen encounter when you’re working towards the good ending. In the original Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion, you can choose either Specimen 4, Specimen 6 or Specimen 8. But in HD Renovation, Specimen 4 got swapped out with Specimen 11.

Oddly enough, I found Specimen 8 to be the hardest encounter in this part of the game, due to him being a spectral being (can pass through walls) and him summoning monstrous deer to attack you.

Overall, I recommend The Doll House from the original game over HD Renovation. But only if you’re willing to purchase the DLC separately, since HD Renovation got this DLC for free. If you’re not willing, it’s fine. You’ll get mostly the same experience, save for some minor differences.

So I guess that’s about it for now. If you’re a big fan of this game, definitely play The Doll House. Personally, I think it’s more engaging than Karamari Hospital. This may not be the last time I’ll talk about Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion since the “Build Your Own Mansion” feature still hasn’t been released yet. But until then, have a happy Halloween and stay safe out there. Especially considering that the year is 2020, which had already been horrific thus far.

Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion

$9.99
7.8

GAMEPLAY

7.5/10

STORY

7.5/10

GRAPHICS

7.0/10

SOUNDTRACK

9.0/10

Pros

  • Despite the game's obvious jump scare gimmick, it actually does have quite a bit of atmosphere in its simplicity and its surreal environments.
  • The game has an interesting mix of horror, dark humor, and mystery to make its own unique flavor.
  • The monsters are generally interesting and memorable, seeing as how they're basically spoofs of other monsters from other horror games.
  • The game has a pretty well done soundtrack and helps make each monster distinctive from one another.
  • The Karamari Hospital DLC is worth the money if you want a scarier experience and some new insight into Spooky's background.
  • The Doll House DLC, even more so.

Cons

  • The game has minimal gameplay as you're simply moving forward to cover 1,000 rooms. While there is a combat mechanic, it's very basic.
  • The hallways tend to be similar in design and have predictable locations of where the exits are.
  • Most of the monsters are very easy to avoid and don't pose a threat as their only tactic is slowly chasing you. However, some like Specimen 5, Specimen 6, Specimen 10, and Specimen 12 will throw new twists at you.
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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion
Author Rating
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