This article was originally published November 6, 2016 but has been updated to reflect the recent launch of the mobile versions of the game.
I’ll admit it, I’ve always been a fan of puzzle games such as Bejeweled, Tetris, Dr. Mario and Zuma. They are a great way to get in a quick hit of gaming fun before getting on with other parts of the day. I also happen to be a fan of slasher movies such as Friday The 13th, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and others in the genre. That is why I was surprised to learn about the slasher/puzzle mashup Slayaway Camp now available on Steam.
Slayaway Camp from Blue Wizard Digital is a sliding block puzzle game where you move a character vertically and horizontally around the room to collect objects before disappearing out the portal to end the level. The twist with Slayaway Camp is that you are the psychotic serial killer, in this case a slasher named Skullface and instead of collecting gems or jewels you are murdering teens in the gory fashion and over the top kills of typical slasher movies.
For those a little squeamish about the slasher movie genre, the graphics inside of Slayaway Camp are blocky and pixelated in the same style of Minecraft and the blood is an over the top pixelated mess that is more humorous than gory. It’s clear from the first levels that this is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, has a lot of fun with itself and that the designers are huge fans of the types of movies they are trying to emulate in the gameplay.
The graphics behind Slayaway Camp and art style for this game are perfect. They won’t win any awards but the little square pixelated characters with their little square blocks of gore fit into the gameplay and theme perfectly. The animations and killer cutscenes are slick, polished and over the top, exactly what you’d expect from a game of this type. The 80’s slasher movie vibe that they are going for is on display everywhere, from the cut scenes to the over the top kill scenes to the VHS box art used to select the levels and even the VHS style controls within the game, the art design for Slayaway Camp is a beautiful homage to the slasher genre.
The sounds and background music are another great addition that lend themselves well to the gameplay and enhance the experience. The screams from the victims you torment are of the horror movie variety, the death sounds are over the top and squishy sounding. They sound design works extremely well for the game.
The game is extremely easy to play and intuitive to learn. With multiple ways to control the killer using either keyboard or mouse it’s very easy to learn how to control the character in order to solve the problems presented to you each level.
As with every puzzle game there is a chance you are going to hit a wall and get stuck. This is no different for Slayaway Camp but they have implemented a help system that allows you to pay gold that you’ve earned from previous levels in order to purchase hints and even full level walkthroughs. This is great for those times when you’re just too frustrated and can’t see the solution to solve the puzzle.
If you’re just looking for a tl;dr here are some pros and cons of the game as I’ve experienced them:
- Cheap to play at under 10 bucks
- Lots of puzzles to complete and hours of gameplay
- Mini-games to earn coins are fun
- Horror/Slasher genre is a new and unique take on the game style
- Easy to learn and play
- Graphics, sound and design are perfect for the 80s horror movie feel that they are looking for
- Love the nod to everything 80s including VHS movies and over the top slasher kills
- Skullface is a pretty badass character
- Earning coins to purchase new kill animations and unlock other items is a fun way to keep a player motivated to keep playing
- It’s a puzzle game so things get repetitive after a while
- The cutscenes and kills start off fun but get in the way of the gameplay after a while
It’s not mobile, this is a game that needs to be on mobile
Overall, the game is fun and offers a unique take on the puzzle genre that isn’t flashing jewels, fruit or something else with a cotton candy palette. You can tell that the team behind Slayaway Camp are passionate about the horror genre and have taken the time to include the tropes and sight gags present within those movies. They have crafted over the top kill scenes reminiscent of anything you would find in a Friday The 13th movie and it’s different from any other puzzle game I’ve ever played.
At under 10 bucks it’s going to give you a lot of puzzles to complete and will kill a lot of your time, just be aware that the death scenes and cut scenes can get a little repetitive and like any other puzzle game once you’ve played one level the rest are similar and offer very little in the way of variety. This is also a game that screams mobile, it’s not something where I’m going to sit down and play for a couple of hours at my PC but would be a great distraction on a mobile device and I really hope that Slayaway Camp finds it’s way to mobile.
If you love the genre or really love puzzle games and want something new I would highly recommend picking up Slayaway Camp. It’s a fun, over the top puzzle game that brings something new to the genre.
Update: Slayaway Camp has made its way to both iOS and Android devices and this is exactly where the game should be. I have been playing Slayaway Camp on Android for just about two weeks now and can say that the game plays flawlessly on Android.
Everything that you love about the PC version of Slayaway Camp (the cheesy 80’s slashers, the puzzles, the over the top gore, the kills, the unlockables) all have been ported to the mobile screen and is exactly what was needed for this game.
While I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game on my PC, it’s not the type of game that I want to play for extended periods of time. Which, when your sitting at down in front of a computer is what the game is asking for. Instead it is the perfect little mobile game for when you’re in line, or waiting for someone or during a commute as you can pick it up, solve a puzzle or two and then carry on with your day.
With the addition of unlockable killers through Killer Kodes given out each month (for both PC and Mobile versions) and all the other collectibles you have to work to obtain there is a lot of content here for a minimal investment of a few dollars.
Overall, Slayaway Camp is a good game for PC, made even better on mobile and if you’re a fan of the 80’s slasher genre, puzzle games and campy gore then Slayaway Camp is a great way to kill some time each day. I do recommend getting it on mobile over the PC version as I feel that mobile is where it plays the best.