Slender: The Arrival – Blue Isle Studios – Out Now on Wii U and also available on PC/Xbox 360/Xbox One/Ps3/PS4
Slender: The Arrival, finally er, arrives on Nintendo’s criminally underrated console, having already hit the other home systems. We’ve already reviewed the PC version, and with it hitting the Wii U, it was time for another look at this terrifying indie treat. You’re in a dark wood, looking for your friend. This is made much more difficult by the fact a tall, thin, faceless monster is stalking you. Ever so slowly he catches up to you, or toys with you. If you turn and high tail it in the opposite direction, chances are he’ll appear there too, playing with your head and your fears. Slender is game that makes you extremely paranoid. You jump at the sound of your own footsteps, and there’s some random, blood curdling shrieks thrown in for good measure. The atmosphere is the real menace in the game. Other than the dim beam of your torch light or the occasional lamp or campfire, it’s pitch black.
The further you progress, the harder things become as the Slender Man catches up to you. Not only does he stalk you but there’s also other nasties out to thwart your progress. At what first looked like a hooded hooligan hurtling towards you, soon turned out to be a demonic ne’er do well, trying to batter you to death. This is where things take a turn for the Alan Wake. Concentrating the light beam of your torch on these sods hurts them and they soon disappear, not before leaving you with your heart in your mouth. There’s a real sense that you’re this monsters plaything, and you’re just being tormented until he decides it’s time to end it. There’s a constant feeling of dread and doom, which is what you want from a survival horror.
In a neat little twist, it’s presented through the style of a video camera, so looks like you’re watching a found footage film. Although an over saturated genre when it comes to horror movies, seeing it portrayed in a game is somewhat unique. However what’s not great is that whenever Slender Man is near, the picture starts to distort and the tape starts to chew, which doesn’t help things when you’re already on edge as it is. There’s some excellent sound design in these moments, really ramping up the fear. Like all the best survival horrors, there’s little snippets of information to collect throughout the game, filling in bits of the story, adding the already lingering sense of doom.
Like most of the best horrors out there, it plays on the fear of the unknown. The sensory deprivation of the deep dark forests and mines shrouded in a blanket of uncertainty and before you know it he’s hot on your heels. It does feel like a test of bravery at times. You can timidly traverse the terrain, hoping you don’t bump into anything, or you can hold down that run button and see how far you get, but chances are, he’ll find you. If you like your survival horrors, this is a must have for any fan. It’s creepy, atmospheric, and if you don’t jump out of your skin at least once, you’re a braver one than I.