It seems as though every game I play these days is a sequel or a reboot or a reinterpretation or a reimagining, etc., of an older game. That is again true in the case of Atari's Haunted House. Although the game it is based on is older than most and something that has been off of people's radars for decades, it is not a newly created franchise.
The original Atari title of that name was released for the Atari 2600 in February of 1982. As with many games back then, the idea was pretty simple – go through a location looking for something. In this case the something was three pieces of an urn; the place was a haunted house (in fact it was the mansion of Zachary Graves); and your character, represented by two eyes, was named Samuel Silverspring.
In this sequel to the original – and despite it having the same name, it is a sequel – you can play as one of Samuel's grandchildren, Jacob and Silvia. We are told in the preface that the two grandchildren (adults now as this takes place 30 years after the original) have been searching to clues about their grandfather's disappearance for years. Now, they have received a letter directing them to Spirit Bay and the Graves Mansion, with the letter indicating that their search will end there. The game proper starts when you, as either Jacob or Silvia, arrive at the mansion for a look-see.
Everything in Haunted House plays like an updated version of the original. Your job is to go through the 20 levels of the game piecing together what happened to Samuel and finding bits of the urn he was looking for as well. This basic task is accomplished by searching (via the "A" button) almost every object you encounter – sofas, chairs, shelves, bureaus, armoires, treasure chests, etc. Some of these objects yield nothing, but others yield a light source, a treasure, a coin, or one page of several different journals.
While the journal pages, coins, and treasures are nice (especially if you're into 100% completion), the various light sources are crucial. You are allowed to carry any two types of light sources at a time (you can have multiple number of each type, i.e., 20 matches would count as one type), and with these light sources you can hurt enemies (depending on the type of light) and better explore your surroundings. Light sources also allow you to light fireplaces. In turn, these fireplaces hurt enemies, replenish your life, and provide save checkpoints. How exactly turning on a cell phone manages to light a fireplace I couldn't tell you, I only know that within Haunted House it does.