- Replay Value
He’s tall, he’s slender, and he is just every kind of scary that you can possibly imagine. And on top of that, he is just so cute that you could walk up to him, give him a pat on the butt and hug him whilst whispering sweet words into his ears. He is Slenderman, and he finally has a game made after him. Fittingly, the game is called Slender, and while it is a quite simple title, the concept and atmosphere will have you holding onto the arms of your chair the entire time (or maybe your computer as you are about to throw it at the wall).
As far as gameplay goes, Slender is as simple as it comes. The goal of the game is to collect all of the notes that are scattered around the forest. While you aimlessly wander around said forest, you can’t help but feel like you are being watched. However, when you turn around, there is nothing there but darkness and the strong smell of fear. The various notes let you get to know Slenderman, regardless of whether you really want to know him or not. So there you have it, everyone. Wander around a dark forest, explore bathrooms and tunnels, all the while searching for random notes that give you an insight into a very troubled man. As I said, it is really quite simple. With such a simple concept, a game like this really has to find another way to catch your attention, and Slender certainly did that when it comes to atmosphere.
One of the biggest aspects of modern horror titles is atmosphere. One of the best survival horror games to date, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, managed to create an atmosphere so terrifying that it regularly leaves its players screaming like schoolgirls. This is the way that survival horror is supposed to be done, and while Slender is by no means comparable to Amnesia, it still does a good job of immersing you in a pretty scary environment.
First off, the forest is a great setting. I have always had a very strong fear of walking around in a forest at night, and if I can recall, there are a big chunk of horror movies that take place in dark forests. Long story short, next to none of them end well. That’s why when I first started playing Slender, some chills started to run down my spine. Hell, with my volume all the way turned up with my headphones in, I couldn’t help but turn around every time I heard a twig crack or the wind whisk. I would walk through the darkly lit bathrooms, just imagining that Slenderman would be waiting for me around every corner, waiting to gut me and eat my toes. I don’t really know if Slenderman eats toes, but who cares. The biggest point still remains; Slender managed to take the one big part of survival horror, the part that most games either hit or miss, and they hit it pretty well. The arrow might have landed in the white ring around the bullseye, but that was definitely good enough for me. That’s not to say that Slender didn’t have its faults, though.
I think one of the main flaws with Slender is that there just isn’t enough to love. The gameplay is so simple that you have to completely rely on the atmosphere to keep you entertained. While the atmosphere is really entertaining, it just doesn’t get Slender over the hump that would make me consider it “good”. Through the entire thing, it’s just stuck in that stage where it is trying really hard to do something good, but it just falls short over and over again. After you get a few notes, Slenderman starts to appear far too often, and it gets to the point where you start to walk away, and there he is in front of you again. It almost gets to the point where you can’t search for the notes because Slenderman wants a little bit too much of your lovin’. And even though I would love to give it to him, I would rather not have to deal with that god awful loud music that plays when you can see him. I literally turned off my sound at one point because it got on my nerves so bad. One more thing, since I know everyone is thinking it; Why does Slenderman look so…so…not scary.
Overall, I think Slender did a decent job of doing what it set out to do. While the concept was clearly there, and the atmosphere was delivered well, there just isn’t enough there to save Slender from itself. The gameplay just isn’t there, and it really felt like it was one of those SCP games, if anything. It’s just one of those games you have to give a try.
I will see Slender in my mind as more of a concept display, rather than a full blown title. Or at least I will continue to tell myself that in order to hold back the tears at night. Let’s just hope that Slendy can’t find me.