Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Slender: makes me RUN

Slender comic
First Impressions

  Parsec Production's recently released game, Slender, became one of the year's most talked about indie horror game, if not the most popular. After popular Youtube star Pewdiepie made a gameplay of this then-unheard of game, Slender went immensely viral and caused the official website to crash under the massive weight of incoming traffic. Since then, Slender has permeated the underbelly of the indie genre while simultaneously re-defining the elements of a successful horror game.

  The gameplay behind Slender is underwhelmingly simple. The player is given a flashlight, and is thrown into a fenced woods area to find 8 notes spread around the place. There is an invisible stamina bar for sprinting, and a mechanic of avoiding bad guy Slenderman to survive. There are no health bars, no HUD, no gimmicky gadgets, no daylight/nighttime transitions, there is only you with a flashlight, trees, and Slenderman.

Slender Gameplay
Yes, its that dark
  What Slender did so right and where so many contemporary horror games failed was its downright creepy environment. By keeping the entire stage entirely shrouded in nighttime, the player has an constricted line of view and is therefore that much more vulnerable. This essential element of vulnerability is key to any successful horror game, and yet has to be spun in such a way that empowers the player with limited escape routes. I confess that many encounters with Slenderman ended with me standing frozen in fear, and then trying to make a scramble away, only to run straight into him as I turned. Certainly, being completely vulnerable is a frightening situation, but making the game impossible just makes the game frustrating and campy. However, if the game offers an escape, gathering yourself and making tracks towards the nearest hiding spot and praying Slenderman goes away is infinitely more terrifying. Those few heart-pounding moments of hiding in the bathroom complex in Slender and not knowing what was around the corner was more terrifying than actually getting caught by Slender.

Slenderman looking fantastic
  Slender's presentation might not be the best, and its graphics slightly outdated, but upon watching and playing Slender, I realized that Slender taught me that spot-on graphics didn't entirely make up an immersive experience. What Slender did was offer the pure aspect of terror, of running away from a terrifying SOMEthing in a direction you weren't completely sure was safe. Perhaps it was being entirely left in the dark, or maybe the short sprint speed, or the flashlight that sometimes didn't work, or even deeper, the developer's choice of casting the main character as female. After a playthrough of Slender I was left in awe of a game that so effortlessly frightened me with so little, a game that made me reevaluate what made a horror game so horrifying.

Freshness Rating: Get me out. Please?

[EDIT] PS: Its also free. Grab it here!


  1. Yeah, I played this game a few hours ago and this review is correct. Like when you said that running away from slender while not knowing what he is doing around the corner is much more terrifying. I know how that feels and it was definitely more terrifying. This was the first time a game had genuinely scared me. Amnesia had scared me as well but I found that more of an excitement. Very good review.

  2. Amazing review, the detailed and inviting description gave me a very nifty impression on the game so I will try it out :p thanks alot! 10/10 for the review and will have to score the game after I play it!

  3. " ...while simultaneously re-defining the elements of a successful horror game. "

    I disagree with this. It fit nicely into a mold established by many other indie games.