Review by Maurith

"Don't look, or it takes you..."

Slender Review: Don't look, or it takes you!
Note: This review was written during version 0.9.4

Introduction
Hello, and welcome to my quick-reference review for Slender. For those unfamiliar with Slender, it is a free-to-download horror game inspired by the internet-based legend of the horrific "Slender Man".Becoming viral after a "Let's Play" youtube video from user PewDiePew, the game's standard download link quickly became inaccessible due to traffic. The game is short and simple, but manages to capture the paranoia associated with the Slender perfectly. It is somewhat similar to last year's hit horror "Amnesia: The Dark Descent".

Gameplay
Simple in execution, the objective of the game as you are told at the beginning is simply "find 8 pages", nothing more. You find yourself in a fenced-off wooded area at night. As the player-character, you only have a flash-light to hand which provides a narrow beam in front of you, and can be toggled on and off - its brightness will fade gradually over time while in use. You can walk in any direction, look around, and also use the left shift key to run - however doing so will lower the duration of subsequent runs. You are also able to zoom in the camera. Torch in hand, you set off in to the woods in search of these pages...

Which leaves with to the man himself: Slender, he is the game's name-sake after all. Without giving anything away, the way in which he is implemented into this game is perfect - and is the reason why this game has received a surge of popularity. To explain him in this game would spoil the magic that made this an internet hit; try it for yourself and see!

Audio and Graphics
The sound is arguably the games greatest asset. The loud crunch of your footsteps on the ground is realistic, and at first all you'll hear is the soft humming of crickets. Upon finding your first page however, a slow, rhythmic, droning drum begins to play. The more progress you make, the more this ambience intensifies, and it will likely have an effect on you eventually. No horror game would be complete without appropriate audio, which this game has perfected.

The graphics are passable, considering that this game free. The trees are well-made and they can trick your eyes into thinking they're a certain paranormal entity from the distance. The various landmarks in the woods are all very simple, but designed well enough for their purpose. However, despite the game's success, the model for Slender himself could be better. He looks a bit too clunky, especially close up. A more polished model would make this game even more effective than it already is, and hopefully they'll make him look better in future releases considering he's the star of the show. This is easily the game's biggest let-down.

Playability and Longevity
The game is very short, and will only take approximately 15 - 30 minutes to complete once, assuming you don't chicken out and hit the escape button! You can jump into the game almost instantly from start up, however - and can be great fun to share with a friend. The controls are very simple and easy to handle. I can imagine some people finding the player-character's movement speed annoying after a while however. In addition to the standard game, as of version 0.9.4, there are 2 bonus unlockable modes available extending its lifespan. Despite its shortness, completing the game is no easy feat, and will likely take several attempts. For a free game though, it's pretty decent - and is always worth revisiting for scares.

Verdict
If you're a fan of the Slender Man myth then you simply have to check this game out. Even if you're unfamiliar with him, this is a good way to get acquainted, and gets straight to the heart of paranoia-based horror gaming. It's only approximately 50 MB (as of version 0.9.4) and completely free! There's no reason not to give it a try, unless you're very faint of heart. I gave this game a score of 8/10. Despite it's simplicity, it captures the nature of the Slender myth and paranoia-gaming so well.

Pros:
+ Free, and is a very small download
+ Perfect scares, as well as incredible tension and unsettling ambience.
+ Easy to jump straight into, and great to play with friends

Cons:
- Very short
- Difficulty might be too much for some
- Slender Man could look a lot better

8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/20/12

Game Release: Slender (US, 06/26/12)


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