When Slayaway Camp popped up on PC last year, it caught a lot of people by surprise (just like any decent masked serial killer would, mind you). The winning combination of intentionally blocky visuals, Sokaban-style sliding puzzles and optional (but necessary) comic use of gore made the game as fun to play as it was to show off to skeptical friends who initially didn’t see the appeal in such a simple looking game as a horror experience. Well, guess what? It’s baaaaaack and ready for its console close-up, (stab, stab, stab).
Even if you hate horror-themed games, Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut has a sneaky (but not subtle) way of luring you in because those sliding puzzles are really tempting to tackle and you’re hooked in (ouch!) before you know it. Don’t like violence against blocky, block-headed camp counselors and other serial victims? There’s a slider to turn off the pixel “gore” on the options screen. R to PG in a flash? Yep. Hell, there are sliders on that option screen for all sorts of oddball stuff, some of which you’ll see right away while others are intentionally vague. This is a game that aims to please and hits that eye with an arrow every single time (ow!).
There no actual “story” to follow other than you grinning like a loon because you’re recalling all the films this game tips its cap to. The game starts off dirt simple as you learn the ropes, but soon breaks free from those ropes and gets really challenging. You’ll be using that rewind button when you mess up, but the satisfaction of nailing a map on one go is always the best feeling. That said, some of the trickiest puzzles often have the simplest solutions or there will be those times when you’re smacking yourself in the forehead because you realized that you’ve been making the game harder by being too stubborn in trying for the easiest kills first (which what the game wants you to think works).
There’s so much content here that the game will continue to surprise and thrill you with its collection of killers and changes in scenery from the expected campgrounds to assorted house maps and even a trip into outer space for a few maps where everyone can hear you scream when you screw up a puzzle. Yeah, this one’s a winner all the way through. My sole complaint is there’s no Vita port (although you can use Remote Play if you want) because I’d love to play this game where I do me best puzzle-solving and thinking. Er, I’ll leave that to you to figure out. Anyway, this one’s going on my automatic Game of the Year list even though I kind of despise the very idea of “top” whatever lists.
In plain English, Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut is a hell of a “killer app” you’ll absolutely need to buy (or else you won’t be ready when Skullface pops in for a visit, you blockhead!). Yep, go get this one now and bug your friends to do so as well. Blue Wizard has set their sights on making a Friday the 13th puzzle game in the same blocky style and yes indeed, it’s going to be another gory gem you’ll want to to get a slice of (before it cuts you first).
Score: A (95%)
Review code provided by the publisher