Release Date: March 22nd, 2018
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version.
Horror, puzzle games, and block characters. Not a combination of things you typically would see put together. Yet Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut mixes them all together on the Switch for a game that will certainly have you scratching your head, for more reasons than one.
In Slayaway Camp, you control a blocky serial killer searching for his latest victims in a completely puzzled based world. You are placed in a gridded scene where you’ll have obstacles and victims. Your killer slides up, down, left, and right along the grid world until he runs into an obstacle or a helpless victim to butcher. After killing your targets, a warp will activate and take you on to the next scene. While it sounds simple enough, the setups become more and more complex as you will need to figure out exactly which route you have to take and what order to kill your victims in so you can complete the scene and move on.
Cops, traps, and other dangers will be there to impede your progress, so you need to carefully examine the layout to see what to do next. If your powers of observation fails, you’ll probably have to turn towards lots of trial and error, which the game mercifully leans on. You can rewind your moves through the scene, all the way back to the beginning to start fresh, or even fast forward for a price for hints or to just see what you need to do completely. There are plenty of scenes to complete, each grouped together under as their own “Movies”. As you play through them, you earn coins which can be used for unlockable new kills to further your blood lust.
There is plenty of blood and mayhem for the block characters, but behind all the murdering (which is all done for humorous effect) is an actual entertaining and thought-provoking puzzling game. The trial and error portion can be a bit frustrating as some of the puzzles can get pretty tough, but as long as you remember there is a solution (and technically you can see it for your coins) it never feels to overwhelming. If the blood ever feels like to much, you can even turn off the gore for a slightly more family friendly time (that still has you killing people, just bloodless).
Slayaway Camp is certainly unlike most other puzzles games and horror fans should definitely get a laugh out of it. It’s an odd concoction, as the killing may turn off typical puzzle fans and the horror doesn’t take itself seriously to be part of that genre. If you can find yourself in the happy middle, Slayaway is a competent puzzler with more than enough content and laughs for those of us with a dark sense of humor.