Slayaway Camp review
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Slayaway Camp review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on February 20th, 2017
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: BURIED ALIVE
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The sliding block puzzling here is solid and it's paired with some campy horror movie tropes, but it doesn't quite come together to feel special.

Developer: Blue Wizard Digital

Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Slayaway Camp is a sliding puzzle game, much like the recent (and wonderful) Red's Kingdom. Instead of playing as a little red squirrel in a lovely cartoony fantasy world though, Slayaway Camp puts you in control of killers the likes of which would be at home in a campy slasher movie, but in voxel-y Minecraft-style form. Your goal in the game is to slide these killers into people to murder them before reaching a pre-defined exit. Although the puzzles in Slayaway Camp are solid, the game's style can be grating at times and its structure is oddly uneven when it isn't being otherwise unremarkable.

Slide to slay

Much like any sliding puzzle game, your character in Slayaway Camp moves in any one of four directions that you slide them in, but they won't stop moving until they run into an obstacle, like a wall. Each level in Slayaway Camp presents a series of obstacles, items, and victims that you need to slide around and manipulate in order to activate the exit and then slide to it.

In the beginning of the game, this is simple enough, with levels involving some straightforward logic to complete. Later in Slayaway Camp though, telephones, fires, police, cats, and other things will enter levels, all of which require careful planning to be dealt with properly.

Camping out

Much like the B-movie horror movies that inspire a lot of the characters in Slayaway Camp, the entire game tries to endear itself to you by drenching the game in wacky forms of murder and horror movie tropes. I can tell that the work that went into creating this style done lovingly, but most of it doesn't land particularly well or otherwise gets in the way of me enjoying the game.

Take, for example, the way Slayaway Camp renders murder. Throughout the game, you will kill tons of people, but every time you do, victims have to explode in blood or get their own cutscene depicting their demise that you're then free to watch in slo-mo or take screenshots of. If that weren't enough, every time you complete a level you are always greeted with the same, pretty lame, timing-based mini-game where you murder yet another person to earn extra currency for unlocks in the game.

I'm not offended by any of this, nor am I particularly squeamish. I'm more annoyed by this murder because it's annoying to sit through and none of it is particularly funny, which seems to be the intended effect.

Flat gameplay

If you're like me and don't get much out of Slayaway Camp's murder fetish, what you're left with is a solid, level-based puzzler with a voxel-based graphical style. This is fine, but considering there's a deluge of level-based puzzlers and voxel-y games on the App Store, Slayaway Camp just feels like an also-ran.

It's a bit of a shame, because Slayaway Camp does have some nice things in it that I want to see in more games like it, like its nifty undo button and ability to view puzzles from the top down. The also has some legitimately funny moments in it when it isn't so focused on having you burn someone to death while an announcer screams “AWESOME” at you.

The bottom line

I don't hate Slayaway Camp. In fact, I'd argue that it has some of the stronger sliding puzzle design I've seen in the genre. That said, the entire game is buried in annoying or otherwise generic trappings that make enjoying those puzzles a pretty difficult thing to do.

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