SLENDER: THE ARRIVAL
Publisher: Midnight City
Developed by Blue Isle Studios and Parsec Productions
Available on Steam
SLENDER: THE ARRIVAL is a first-person supernatural survival horror game based around the urban legend of the Slender Man. The game is jointly developed by Blue Isle Studios and Parsec Productions, the latter of who were responsible for the original game Slender: Eight Pages that took the horror gaming community by storm. Slender: The Arrival is an expansion of the world which was created in that game, giving birth to new levels and also a storyline, whilst retaining the 8 pages level for fans and newbies to enjoy.
The game starts out at the edge of a woodland with our character viewing the spooky environment through a camcorder. We are there to find friend Kate’s house, which isn’t too hard a task to start off with on the first level. When you get there, the house appears to be empty so you must search the house and discover why and where Kate has gone to. This is where the tension kicks in as you are left to your own devices in a somewhat empty-looking house, with the eerie feeling that your being watched. The fact that the telephone has been cut off only adds to the worry, especially if you’re a fan of horror movies.
Finding doodles on the walls and hearing bloodcurdling screams means you must investigate, armed with nothing but a torch you find in one of the drawers.
After the first tutorial style level, we have to find 8 pages in the woods, and this is where the tense atmosphere is turned up to 11.
Creeping around in the woodland, trying to find 8 pages that are pinned to a tree or object is easier than it first sounds, though is made 10x more difficult when the titular boogie man decides to make his presence known the more pages you collect. As soon as you cast eyes on the tall suited man, you must subsequently avoid eye contact and run in the opposite direction. There’s no guns or weapons here. You can’t just beat him with a stick you found on the ground or kosh him with your flashlight. You just run for dear life.
I’ve died on three occasions, the first of which I achieved Insta-kill status looking into the faceless creature that is the Slender Man, but you must try and work out the best method to obtain the pages quickly and easily if you are to proceed on to the next level. With this game that loves to shake, stutter and flash light at you as part of its gameplay and effects of a looming Slender man, complete with static, moans and groans, this can sometimes be easier said than done. I can watch a horror movie no problem, but as soon as I get to grips with a horror game such as this, with it’s noises and scary environments, I’m positively wetting myself with fear. Let’s put it this way… I NEVER play these games in the dark!
What I love about Slender: The Arrival is that it has taken the cinematic phenomena that is found footage horror and blended it with an urban myth created on the internet to create a terrifying survival horror that acts like a gaming version of The Blair Witch Project, only with the Slender Man as the antagonist.
Having the game split into 5 levels, with no save or check points during a level, only increases the fear in the gameplay, forcing the player to overcome fear and achieve the goals in order to reach the end of the level, ‘save’ and progress.
Slender: The Arrival works well with a Xbox Controller for Windows and mouse with keyboard, though I experienced severe motion sickness on my first play. The game has an option to alter the mouse sensitivity, and even if you’re using a controller, set this to low and you should hopefully have no further motion sickness inducing problems. I found after changing this setting, the game was fine to play.
Game achievements can be unlocked via Steam for this title, along with Steam trading cards, with three of a possible 5 dropped within the game. When all 5 unique cards are collected, these can be crafted into a badge to display on your Steam profile, along with a Slender: The Arrival profile background and emoticon (and discount voucher for another game).
If you enjoy slow moving, claustrophobic horror films, then this game will be right up your street. A tense, terrifying experience I won’t forget in a hurry!