Ah, Slender Man. What a strange horror character. I honestly don’t know much about the lore of the character, aside from the fact he was born and bred on the good old internet, and some strange kids have done some dumb things because of him. Truthfully, I’ve had my eye on this game for a while because I enjoy the genre, so when the release date was finally given for Slender: The Arrival, I was pleased. Was it worth the anticipation? Sort of.
Slender: The Arrival starts out good enough, with a nice atmosphere. You play as a girl named Lauren who goes to visit her friend Kate and finds out she is missing. You walk to her house, and quickly realize something is very wrong, as crude drawings of a shadow figure are seen and the house is in general disarray. Armed with your flash light, you go out into the night and try to figure things out.
The gameplay is simple, but effective in this situation. You have no weapons and there is no combat, so Slender: The Arrival instead focuses on atmosphere. As you play through the game investigating areas, you finally encounter Slender Man, who will scare the nonsense out of you. Slender Man himself isn’t the scariest looking enemy in a game by any means, but the way the game reacts to his arrival (and departure) is where the horror is involved. Using the popular tactic of “jump scares”, white noise will enter your speaker and the screen will become distorted whenever Slender Man stalks you, and since he can disappear and reappear at will, you will find yourself running away from him a lot. Even when you expect to see him, it can still catch you off guard, and I found myself shrieking in the dark a few times from his presence.
While avoiding Slender Man and a few of his friends is fun, the second half of the gameplay isn’t as enjoyable. Essentially, you are doing fetch quests, trying to locate a certain number of a particular item or hitting a certain number of switches to advance. Since Slender Man is chasing you while this happening, it does make for a tense situation, but it often feels convoluted. Some mission variety really would have helped the game become a more memorable experience.
The visuals in the game are serviceable. To me, it looks a lot like an upscaled HD PS2 game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but graphic purists won’t find much to get excited about. I did like the variety of environments, but while Slender Man himself looks good, his friends don’t fare as well up close. Still, the visual style is fine, and a few areas look pretty impressive at a stand still. The more open environments do suffer from some pop-up however. The audio in the game is very well done, and adds a lot to the tension and horror of the game. The white noise effect is great, and foot steps in the various locations all sound realistic.
While Slender: The Arrival doesn’t have any GamePad support aside from Off-TV play, the game does allow you to use the Wiimote as a flash light, which is a nice touch. I didn’t play with this option very much, but it felt well for the brief time I did use it. Fair warning though: I have read online that it has caused some technical issues and crashing in the game for some players, so be warned.
All in all, I had a decent time with Slender: The Arrival. It won’t go down as one of my favorite horror games, but the experience was a fun one while it lasted. It’s a bit short and there’s not a ton of replay value, but Slender: The Arrival offers enough scares and at a budget price, is a no brainer for horror fans.