Slenderman is one of those franchises that re-invented the horror genre of gaming. Its early forms provided endless hours of amusement and fright to, especially, teenagers and those looking for quick thrills. The concept was simple: Collect a specified number of pages before the Slenderman gets you. Slenderman is a masterclass of suspense and anxiety inducing gameplay, as you never know where the Slenderman will appear. Just eerie noises and the static flickering of your flashlight serve as any type of warning. There was nothing like navigating through a dark forest, making a turn, only to stare into the face of Slender.
Building on that concept, Slender: The Arrival puts a narrative behind the intense gameplay. You play as Lauren, whose friend Kate is selling her house in the middle of an expansive forest. After a series of concerning letters, Lauren decides to visit Kate’s house. Unfortunately, Kate is missing, and the more Lauren explores the house, the more frightening the situation becomes.
The game soon descends into an intense fright fest as you search for Kate. The game is split into six chapters, each with mechanics that those familiar to Slenderman should know. You’ll collect a specified number of various objectives, all the while dodging horrifying creatures. But it is much more than simply collecting pages; no, fully exploring the relatively large ‘world’ of Slender: The Arrival will see you stumbling across some pretty cool jump scares and more anxiety inducing moments.
Visually, Slender: The Arrival isn’t a great looking game. It’s a step up from its predecessor, but on the Nintendo Switch, it feels like it suffers from console limitations. Still, the visuals are effective, and the settings, atmosphere, and creatures you’ll face are sure to leave a lasting impression. To do this, however, the game requires and nails a much needed sound effort. As the Eight Pages before, Slender: The Arrival produces a limited soundtrack, so to speak, in lieu of menacing atmospheric noises, the sound of dread.
Gameplay, again, sees you collecting objectives while dodging increasingly difficult enemies in a variety of abandoned locations – for the most part. There are places and times to explore, and those opportunities keep the game feeling fresh for longer periods of time. Of course, there are plenty who find this type of game frustrating, and I get that. This game won’t be for everyone. But for those who know what Slender is about, there’s enough content and fresh ideas here to keep most fans pleasantly surprised and invested.
Overall, Slender: The Arrival is a solid and intense experience. It suffers a bit, in my opinion, from the Nintendo Switch’s limited hardware, but the experience remains in tact. Sound, atmosphere, and the creepy creatures kept me on the edge of my seat – and definitely murdered me on more than one occasion. For fans of the Eight Pages and those who played the crap out of that game, Slender: The Arrival will sate your hunger for more. Fans of the horror genre itself should have a good time here, too, experiencing the terse nature of the run mixed with the anxiety of what lurks around each corner. It’s not the prettiest game out there, but it has plenty of content to be worth its price tag – and plenty of scares to keep you coming back for more. Hell, on the Switch, you’re even given the added bonus of portability. What’s not to love?