Halloween is upon us and what better way to celebrate than slicing up a few students on a murderous rampage.
Puzzle games might not sound like the scariest way to spend an evening, but Slayaway Camp is proving otherwise with a bone-cracking smash.
Slayaway camp is a sliding object, puzzle title, where you’re tasked with moving your object either horizontally or vertically to the goal in order to complete the level, on each level you’ll find immovable scenery which will break your movement allowing you to traverse from start to finish.
Scary stuff eh, well did I mention it’s a murderous killer you’re moving about, and on the way to the exit you’ll need to hack, slash and maim a few innocent victims in order to activate the exit.
Initially you’ll relive the moments of the tongue-in-cheek, 80’s inspired horror movie ‘Slayaway Camp’ controlling Skullface, you’ll manoeuvre across a selection of levels performing various gruesome murders as you edge ever closer to the finale. Succeed and you’ll unlock the sequel, or even Slayaway Camp 3D, as well as a whole host of other cult-movie inspired classics which serves as a who’s who of awesome horror movies.
It might be hard to believe that a puzzle game can successfully merge into the horror genre, and the Minecraft style graphics will reassure you that you’re probably not going to need any fresh underwear just yet.
But the overall pace, setting and style of Slayaway Camp is absolutely second to none, imagine Minecraft characters re-enacting murder scenes from just about any blockbuster horror flick and chance are you’ll soon be bludgeoning, stabbing or drowning an unlucky victim in exactly the same way, there’s plenty of pixelated blood and guts, which are about as friendly as blood and guts every really get, but what’s really frightening is how well each movie is portrayed, the variety of murders and highlights you’ll come across and the addictive character collecting progression as you set your sights on murdering with packs which open up new characters, murders and more.
While the gameplay might start off pretty simple, things soon start to pick up, when you’re tasked with escaping after slaying your victims before the riot squad turn up (a set number of moves), simply adding the name Riot squad to glorify a turn-timer is just another level of detail which sets Skullface and co away from the competition.
It’s fair to say there’s not a massive selection of competition on the Xbox One, but Slayaway has been incredibly popular on both PC and Mobile devices which are flooded with similar games, which further highlights the quality of Slayaway Camp.
Sure the core gameplay of sliding around a level until you work out the correct route is a little repetitive, however in practice, I was far too busy murdering everything in sight to pay too much attention to repetition.
As mentioned, and as you’ll no doubt see from the screenshots, there’s certainly a very lose stance on realism, but anyone who’s watched a Scary movie and asked why didn’t they just kill him, will know that the genre isn’t always the most believable, and while pixelated graphics aren’t going to depict somebodies intestines accurately, they do perfectly capture that gruesome and often humorous flashbacks to films gone past.
With both graphics and audio, there’s a high level of quality, there’s no attempt to beak new ground, but with voices from Mark Meer (Shepard of Mass Effect) and Derek Mears (Jason from Firday the 13th) It’s obvious there’s some fantastic quality and in accomplishing it’s targeted style to near perfection, it’s hard to complain too much about the very rare graphical glitch or out of place sound-bite.
With over 300 levels, plenty of movies and 90+ kill-filled gore packs and 60+ characters to unlock, Slayaway Camp is packed with hours of entertainment, at times it almost loses itself as you progress vying to unlock more and witness every scene possible, you’ll almost forget that it’s still a puzzle game at heart, very few games manage to take a player out of the puzzle and immerse them into it’s own universe, and while Peggle might be one of those, it comes as no surprise that Jason Kapalka (Peggle) joined forces with Nate Scmold, Jessi Ross & Ido Yehieli to bring us Slayaway camp,
It might not explain the new found love for every murder scene you can imagine, but it goes a long way to explain the outstanding quality.
Gameplay : 8
Graphics : 8
Sound : 8.5
Story : 9
Overall : 8.5 / 10