The shadows gather around us once again. Take our hands and wander with us into the darkness where the monsters gather. We’re bringing you 31 horror reviews in October. Whatever you do, don’t let go of our hands lest you find out what truly goes bump in the night.
Games for mobile devices largely have a reputation for being flooded with microtransactions, mandatory online requirements and a strong focus on multiplayer. It’s understandable that many people would think that since a casual glance at mobile app stores tends to be flooded with these types of games. However, there really are single player games on mobile devices that offer single player campaigns and don’t ask for any additional money from you after you purchase it. Tonight we are going to take a look at a particularly bloody little mobile game: Slayaway Camp.
A loving homage to slasher flicks – particularly those from the 80’s – Slayaway Camp is a puzzle game that puts you in the role of a serial killer. Every chapter in the game is presented as a horror movie. The most blatant movie reference is Friday the 13th as the main character, Skullface, wears a familiar hockey mask and his face beneath it is severely distorted. Even Jason’s mother is spoofed as a playable character. Keep playing and you’ll see references to My Bloody Valentine, zombie flicks, Swamp Thing and The Blob (among others).
Slayaway Camp is a sort of sliding puzzle game. Each level puts your character into an area with a number of potential victims as well as possible areas you can interact with. Slide the killer in the direction you want to move and he/she will proceed until hitting a wall or obstacle. The idea is to move about the level, dispatch all of the victims and then make your way to the exit point which is marked by a pentagram. However, if you don’t take out all of the victims the right way you will find it impossible to ever reach the pentagram escape point.
The game will often tweak the gameplay to add a bit of variety. You might use a phone to “call” the victim and get them to move to a more convenient location. There might be a bookcase which you can push over to kill a victim on the other side but then that fallen bookcase becomes an obstacle which may help or hinder your escape. Police officers may be present in some levels and if you stop directly in front of them they will shoot your poor killer.
After you solve each level you are treated to a quick timing challenge. This is simply a bar with a pointer that moves back and forth over it. You merely have to stop the pointer while it is over the red section and you will gain considerably more coins than you would have otherwise. Spend these coins on stylish new kills to use in the game.
Slayaway Camp offers collectibles in the form of character skins you can use with your character. Would you rather play as a zombie or a terrifying little child? Those and more are in the game for you to unlock.
The game is a huge love letter to the horror genre. One of my favorites is the text found on the back of one of the “movie” boxes:
They thought he was dead, but SKULLFACE was only sleeping and has returned to his old killing grounds… more pissed off than ever before! Now instead of learning how to CANOE these adults definitely over the age of 18 will learn how to DIE
SLayaway Camp is such a well crafted game I do not have much to complain about. If I had to nitpick I would say the difficulty is a bit uneven. More than once I was completely stumped by a level but after finally solving it the next several levels would be very easy. That is true of many puzzle games though.
I wholeheartedly suggest you give Slayaway Camp a try, especially if you’re a fan of 80’s horror films. You can find it on iTunes, Google Play and PC players can try it on Steam. There’s even a free online version on Kongregate.