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Video gaming

Game review: Slayaway Camp is gory good fun in a style that mixes slasher movie with cartoon

This addictive little puzzle game for iOS has you chasing victims around mazes before dispatching them with lots of violence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 8:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 8:03pm

Slayaway Camp

Blue Wizard Digital

4/5 stars

Nostalgia for the 1980s is a funny thing. Hazy memories of how glorious the movies and games were back then collide with the reality of their actual lack of substance, to create contemporary movies and games that occupy an often bizarre middle ground.

Video games in particular are great at capturing that particular strangeness, through tongue-in-cheek releases like Slayaway Camp (available for iOS devices).

This is part of a long line of games based on the cheesy 1980s slasher horror subgenre, a world inhabited by psychopaths wearing hockey masks and villains who couldn’t be killed.

First released to decent reviews on the PC late last year, this mobile port comes to us mostly intact, with its block-sliding puzzle gameplay particularly suited to the small screen.

The player takes on the role of a serial killer, sneaking and slipping and sliding your way across the screen to murder your victims. Your intended targets can’t move much, but they’re not stupid, and chasing them down front-and-centre will never result in success.

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As the levels get harder, you need to get truly creative: push over bookcases, scaring victims onto mines; turn off the lights to take out entire Swat teams. There’s plenty of depth here, but it’s never overly complicated, and the developers have done a good job by building interest slowly.

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Best of all is the overall design. The contrast between blocky cartoon characters and the ferocious violence is a bit overdone, but it still works in the game’s favour. Mobile-wise, there thankfully aren’t any in-app purchases, and most rewards are based on a coin system, including an unlockable mini-game in which you destroy as many teens as possible in as short a time as you can.

We’ve also been promised downloadable content, some of it seasonal and some based on changing up your killer. That wouldn’t normally be worth pointing out, but Slayaway is surprisingly addictive, a puzzle solving pleasure that preys on our inclination for cruelty.

There’s an official Friday the 13th game set for release in the next few months, a fully realised console game that’s incredibly heavy on the violence. It looks wonderful – and I can’t wait – but until then, Slayaway Camp will do nicely.