When you think of puzzle games where you slide characters around grid-based stages, you probably picture a delightful and cute setup. However, Slayaway Camp has you relentlessly murder innocent people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That's right; Slayaway Camp has you control a vicious murderer of your choosing. All you basically do is tap the four directional buttons to slide your character around the stages. You'd think every stage was covered in ice because whenever you tap a button, you glide as far as you can in that direction. The goal is to kill everyone on the current stage although you can't harm any cats because that's animal cruelty! Once you pass a stage, you take part in a silly mini-game where you have to time a button press to murder someone. I'm sure you've played many games and mini-games like this before. It's a simple premise that provides a variety of clever situations and gradually introduces a handful of new mechanics to create an addictive campaign. For example, you'll eventually have to deal with elite law enforcement, switch the lights on and off, avoid electric fences, drop bookcases on unsuspecting folks, and you may even get stuck in gum. Man, I should kill whoever left that gum there. Maybe I will...
The violence is absolutely insane. I'm glad the characters look like they're from Minecraft because if they were realistic then I don't think I'd be able to play it. You'll see your character decapitating kids, throwing people into wood chippers, stapling faces (I'm not sure how that kills someone), making pulp out of folks in a blender, and many more twisted deeds. It's downright hilarious if you're a sick puppy like I am. Anyway, the array of characters to play as consists of interpretations of classic horror villains such as a Gremlin, an It-like clown, Freddy Krueger, Jigsaw, Krampus, and even Jaws. There are tons of in-game references as well that are great to discover.
One aspect of Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut that I thoroughly enjoyed is the audio. The creepy music that seems to be playing from an audio cassette complete with flanges and distortions is just perfect to set the mood for a B horror movie. There's some pretty cool rock music thrown in the mix, too. Also, the brutal effects and sounds of people screaming when you see them get chopped to pieces adds so much sick satisfaction to the onscreen violence. Whoever designed the audio for this definitely knows what they're doing.
My main issue with Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut is the fact that its simplicity inherently becomes repetitive very quickly. After completing about a couple dozen stages, it all starts to feel the same. Even with the added complexities that gradually get introduced, all you essentially do is tap in four directions. Because of this, you're better off playing Slayaway Camp in short bursts as opposed to lengthy gaming sessions. Also, once you complete all of the stages and deleted scenes (which admittedly will take quite a long time), there really isn't anything else to do. I wish there were some sort of leaderboards to help extend the replay value.
Finally, I experienced a few very strange bugs. First of all, you can use earned cash to view solutions if you happen to be stuck. However, some of the solutions just looked weird like the character would do really dumb things then not actually complete the level. Also, I don't get why pushing triangle to pause the game forces you to wait a few seconds with a completely black screen. The first few times this happened, I was worried the game crashed. These moments aren't game-breaking but they are pretty annoying.
If you're looking for a simple and addictive puzzler that features plenty of insane cartoon violence and horror references then Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut is a must-buy game. However, if you enjoy it too much then please do society a favour and see a psychiatrist.
- + Simple yet addictive puzzle gameplay
- + Crazy over-the-top cartoon violence with oodles of horror movie references
- + Fantastic music and sound effects
- - Basic gameplay gets rather repetitive
- - Almost no replay value after you finish all of the stages and deleted scenes
- - Some weird bugs