Friday, 28 October 2016

Slayaway Camp - A Review: Member 80's horror movies? Ooh, I member.

One day not too long ago, today in fact, I was watching a video by the wonderful Jim Sterling on that YouTube website you may of heard about. It was a 'Jimpressions' video where the man himself voices his opinions on various video games that have been unleashed upon the world. Now, the video game Jim was discussing at this particular time was a newly released game on Steam that I haven't heard anything about before today - It's name? Slayaway Camp.

Slayaway Camp is a game that immediately drew me in thanks to its use of morbid humour, strangely adorable art style, and of course, the many fantastic references to the greatest horror movies of the past few decades. The most obvious homage that you will no doubt instantly recognise (thanks to the banner image for this review) is to Friday the 13th. You control Jason Voorhees Skullface, a violent mass murdering kind of guy, as he navigates a range of locations, mostly based upon a summer camp, on a mission to disembowel, maim, and completely fuck up the days of many unfortunate teenagers.

While the gameplay itself is rather standard, it still manages to be an incredibly fun experience. Having only played two hours of Slayaway Camp at the time of writing, I find myself eager to continue instilling terror into the lives of these teens, but hey, articles don't just write themselves now, do they? The aim of the game is simple - you merely have to choose the correct path to navigate through in order to destroy these people and then escape the area before the fuzz arrive (in some cases). Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is. ...up to a point. Jeez, some levels have had me racking my brain over just what the fuck I'm doing wrong, and then I realise just how much of an idiot I am, get onto the right path, and move onto the next killing ground.

To me, one of the most entertaining parts of Slayaway Camp is the imaginative, gruesome death-scenes. I mean, c'mon, you can literally crush somebody's head with a book using a kill-moved called, what else? Yep, "Face Booked". There is a healthy number of ways to dispatch the victims, though one of the downsides, which I should mention, is the fact that you will see many of the death-scenes multiple times; This quickly starts to feel incredibly repetitive and thus make them lose quite a bit of their entertainment value. It's easy enough to look past, I guess. It is but one flaw in an otherwise terrific game.

My favourite aspect of this game is not found within the gameplay, nor is it the creative ways to send people into the eternal darkness that is Death's realm. No, it is the main menu. What better menu is there for a love letter to retro horror than a video store?

The videos that you see in the image above actually form the various levels of the game, and each one, so far, has unlocked a brand new killer. I genuinely love this feature, it really fits with the overall theme of the game and manages to invoke an odd feeling of nostalgia. I can recall being a child visiting the various video stores, it was like being in Heaven. I loved just wandering around looking at all the movies and games on offer, and if I could, I'd try to convince my parents to get me something. Horror was my jam. I've always been a big horror buff, even from a young age. There's something so uniquely wonderful about being scared shitless (whilst remaining entirely physically safe of course).

During the credits, played whenever you fuck up, there is a huge list of famous horror characters (that I won't spoil here), and I'm currently unaware if they're there purely to reference their status as horror icons, or if they are unlockable characters for the player. I know that I am definitely holding out hope for the latter. 

I would be entirely remiss if I failed to mention the exemplary work done in terms of the music for the game. A band called Gnü Truntion has provided the soundtrack for Slayaway Camp, and let me tell you, they have done a terrific job. In general, the instrumental music featured absolutely manages to perfectly emulate the style used in those old horror movies that we all know and love. While those songs are all well and good, I should mention the theme song and the track that plays over the credits: "Only the Strong Survive", and "Love is Like a Machete". These two tracks are standout. I think you guys will enjoy them, I certainly did.

But anyway, here we are at the end of the review. So, to wrap up, I suppose I best offer my overall thoughts on the game. Well, it won't come as a surprise to you at this point that I loved it. Slayaway Camp has great replayability value, truly enjoyable cut-scenes, a good sense of humour, I adore the art style used, and can easily see myself spending many more hours playing through this game without getting bored. For £4.43 (usually £5.99), what do you have to lose? Yeah, okay, £5.99, sure, but in my opinion, this game is worth the cost. Kudos to Blue Wizard Digital for their highly enjoyable game.

Slayaway Camp is now available on Steam.
Image Credits: Blue Wizard Digital.