Slayaway Camp (PC) Review

By Olivia Falk 12.05.2017

Review for Slayaway Camp on PC

Video games have explored countless horror film tropes over the years: abandoned hospitals, possessed toys, and ghoulish monsters, just to name a few. Such games have, for the most part, taken themselves completely seriously, sometimes to their detriment. There's been a drought of games that capture the spirit of schlocky, B-movie slasher films like The Evil Dead and Grindhouse. Slayaway Camp aims to fill this void with an interesting combination: the typically fast-paced thrills of the genre mixed with the methodical pacing of a puzzle game.

Slayaway Camp absolutely oozes style, doing an excellent job of committing to the slasher film aesthetic. Blood splatters litter the menus, cheesy screams punctuate each character death, and a deep-voiced narrator introduces each new set of levels in typical, "They thought this was a normal place, but they were wrong!" fashion. The macabre tone is lightened by blocky, colourful visuals that do an excellent job of communicating the details of each environment without making anything too grisly. However, if the tides of crimson get to be too much, there's a "PG mode" available that disables the more graphic elements. Regardless, the game manages to be hilarious simply from how cheesy and over the top it is. It knows exactly what it's parodying, and it doesn't miss a beat.

Levels are divided up into "movies," each of which takes place in a different locale with a different killer to control. Each plays the same, whether it's Skullface (the main character), his mom, or one of the many unlockable characters, but special executions are added to give each their own personal flair. This variety is complemented by the various "Gorepacks" that are available for purchase, each of which unlocks a new execution move that will be randomly used on victims. Some of these are fairly standard, like flinging a cleaver at someone's head. Others are silly, one of which involves decapitating an unfortunate soul with a lampstand and using their head as the new lampshade. Still others are hilariously bizarre, e.g. "Death by Chocolate," which crushes the target with a massive chocolate egg that hatches to reveal some adorable baby chicks. This all manages to ensure that the art of massacring hordes of innocents never gets old.

Screenshot for Slayaway Camp on PC

Gameplay consists of sliding the murderer around an isometric map, colliding with each target to execute them before carrying on to a pentagram that marks the exit. While it seems simple at first, the game gradually opens up to reveal just how clever the puzzles can be. The killer is only able to move in a straight line, and once they start, they can't stop until they collide with something. This means that each level turns into a challenge of which walls to collide with to get the target in a straight line of sight. New wrinkles to this are introduced at a steady rate: ending up next to a victim will cause them to scream and run away, while police officers will shoot the killer if attacked head-on. Plus, various parts of the levels act as "buffers," enabling the murderer to stop earlier than they otherwise would. Several particularly tricky levels involved repeatedly scaring victims to better position them for a well-optimized killing spree.

Of course, screw-ups are inevitable, but there's thankfully very little punishment for them. Rewinding the level is possible at any time, allowing each move to be undone in turn, complete with a VHS-style distortion effect. This encourages experimentation and makes it easier to nail down one part of a level before focusing on a tricky piece. However, it's worth it to die at least once, just to watch the great "end credits" that get played, complete with the classy backing track, "Love is Like a Machete [to the Heart]." When getting truly stuck, levels can be skipped, and hints can be purchased with an in-game currency, though it's best to save the money for unlocking new characters and Gorepacks. Honestly, this never became an issue, as each level is quite contained, ensuring that most bouts of confusion can be solved by simply taking a break and returning with a fresh mind.

Screenshot for Slayaway Camp on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

There's something truly special about Slayaway Camp. What could have been a one-note gag instead manages to be a hilarious, charming, and ingenious puzzle game. Actually stopping to write this review was incredibly difficult; the game is just that addicting. There's something new around each corner, with numerous unlockables and dozens of levels. Plus, new content is still being added, with the developers demonstrating some true passion for the project. It may be one-way only, but a trip to Slayaway Camp should not be missed.

Developer

Blue Wizard Digital

Publisher

Blue Wizard Digital

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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