The modern mythos of The Slender Man – a supernatural creature whose refined suite-and-tie clothing choices do nothing to lessen the creepiness of his long limbs, blank face and back full of tentacles – is the perfect horror game material. And so I approached Blue Isle Studios’ Slender: The Arrival with the intention of playing a horror game. What I was treated with, however, could be more accurately described as a horror “experience”.
In the beginning of Slender: The Arrival, the main character is tasked with arriving at the house of an individual named Kate. Kate, I’m assuming, is a friend of the main character. The main character quickly discovers that Kate is missing and has to look for clues as to her disappearance. How did I learn all of this, by the way? Well it wasn’t from an objective header at the top of the screen, and I certainly wasn’t following a minimap or waypoint marker. I discovered the objective by pausing the game after wandering around aimlessly for a while.
Searching Kate’s house for clues
The gameplay in and of itself involves little to no interaction. You will be tasked with operating a flashlight, collecting pages and turning on generators. I suppose the intention was to focus more on the element of fear and helplessness, but it translates more often than not into frustration. In one instance I had to search for a specific number of pages in order to advance. During this objective, I also had to avoid the appearance of Slenderman. Whenever the individual winds up too close to Slenderman, the screen sort of fizzles out and the main character restarts at the beginning of the level. Slenderman pops up suddenly here and there, so there is that element of surprise. Unfortunately you will find this more or less annoying, as the pages are difficult enough to find without the threat of having to search for them all over again.
Prepare to restart if you find yourself this close.
As for the graphics, Blue Isle Studios went with a pretty standard approach. this isn’t a game that is going to show up gloriously in 1080p, but the atmosphere of horror is pretty spot on. When utilizing the flashlight in a dark, close-knit area, the entire will not illuminate as it happens in some games. A very small amount of the room will be visible, which makes you wonder if someone or something will be waiting around to your immediate left or right.
Oh, hey Kate! Love what you’ve done with the place…
As a horror film/videogame addict, I wanted to like this game. It just so happened that I didn’t find myself frightened as often as I wanted to be. The game length doesn’t help either, as you can find yourself completing the entire main “story” in one sitting. I think Slender: The Arrival should be more accurately described as a horror “experience” rather than a horror game.
Frustration overtakes fright in Slender: The Arrival
Slender: The Arrival - 6.5/10
– Little to no explanation of objectives
– Actual gameplay is minimal
– Nice horror atmosphere, doesn’t overshadow gameplay issues and incredibly short story