Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut (Xbox One Review)
As some of you might have come to realise, I’m partial to the odd puzzle and horror game, so imagine my joy when I saw Blue Wizard have brought the two together in unholy matrimony to make Slayaway Camp. Luckily, it’s not as awful as some other horror mash ups… I’m looking at you Freddy Vs Jason.
Slayaway Camp sees you take on the role of the killer in each level, or in this case film, with each film split into scenes of anything between 10-15 scenes. Each scene starts off relatively easy with the final scene putting everything together to truly test what you’ve learned.
There are numerous films for you to make your way through with the Slayaway Camp being the main series to make your way through. Each new film has a cleverly put together subtitle, much like those you’d find from 80s horror series.
The puzzle itself throughout each of the scenes is simple, as the killer you can move in one continuous direction, up, down, left or right, until you hit either the edge of the map, an object blocking your path or one of your victims. Your job is to kill each victim you see on screen while avoiding any pitfalls like a campfire, or actual pitfall, then reach the glowing pentagram to make your way to the next scene.
The beauty of the puzzles is their simplicity. You’d be hard pressed to find a puzzle as simple as these but, at the same time, require as much planning as they do. You’re free to go in guns blazing but you’ll find yourself restarting levels frequently.
If you do find yourself stuck for a solution you can use the in-game coins, I’ll talk about them in a minute, to either buy a hint for 25 coins or go for a full solution for an extra 100, but where’s the fun in that? You can also change the view from angled to a fully top down view. A different perspective usually helps to see things a little clearer. You’ve also got the chance to rewind your last move, all the way back to the start of the scene, if you find you’ve made a mistake.
A quick note about the coins: you gain these from QTE’s, or quick time events, after each scene, which is a simple stop the arrow in the kill section while it moves up and down a bar. The coins can be used for a variety of things like hints, as I’ve mentioned, or to unlock new characters or other exciting things that I won’t spoil for you here.
As I mentioned, there are other non-main series films you can make your way through that add new puzzle aspects for you to try as well as including those you’d find throughout the main series. It’s a little something extra to test your puzzle solving abilities or if you’re wanting a break from a multi-part series that might have run its course, *cough* Saw *cough*.
If you can’t get enough of the main series, then you’re in luck. Each completed series unlocks deleted scenes, each with their own amusing blurb. There’s plenty to keep you going and coming back for more.
The look of Slayaway Camp captures the feel of the 80s horror/video nasties perfectly, even down to the VHS rewind effect when you skip back a move during a scene. My favourites though were the music that plays on the main menu screen, it felt like it was lifted right from an old school horror, and the multiple nods to past films. One being the obvious masked killer from Slayaway Camp 1 being a nod to Jason Vorhees to other characters like Nailhead being a nod to Pinhead from the Hellraiser series. There are also kill shots that are reminiscent of scenes from other films, like the lava scene from Terminator 2. I’ve lost count of how many nods to other series’ there was, and chances are I haven’t found all of them. Just another reason for multiple playthroughs.
While there are many things to make this a fun and interesting puzzle game, the lack of variety when it comes to the actual puzzle itself might put some people off. There are additions to each different scene, but the basic puzzle doesn’t change. It’s a pedantic point to go into but it can feel a bit repetitive doing the same style puzzle over multiple films that have 12 scenes each. I personally have no problem with this as I feel it has enough changes to stop it getting stale, but it won’t not for everyone.
Other than that, it’s one of the most entertaining puzzle games that will appeal to fans of horror/actions films, especially those who value a classic with the VHS effect throughout it all. I feel I’m showing my age having an appreciation for VHS films, or even knowing what a VHS is. For those of you too young to know what that is go ask an older relative. They might even an old VHS relic they can show you and you can experience the pain we went through as we sat through the agonising wait of rewinding a tape after someone left it at the end of the film.
Slayaway Camp is a fantastic puzzle horror fuelled game that hits the 80s horror nostalgia like a train, so much so you’ll be in a nostalgic coma for hours. While the overarching puzzle remains the same throughout, there is enough additions to prevent it from getting old.
If you’re a fan of horror/action films you’ll have a good time playing through the various films to find your favourite character and kill scene paying homage to that magic film scene.
Slayaway Camp is a game you’ll want to play if you fancy a change of pace from constant on the go action as it pays to take your time and plan your every move.