Our review of Slayaway Camp (iOS)

We’re always impressed when we find a game that takes incredibly simplistic game mechanics to make an otherwise compelling and novel game. We recently covered Reigns which creates a monarchy simulator with civil uprisings and potential deals with the devil distilled down into basic Tinder-inspired left and right swipes. Ridiculous Fishing provides a stupid amount of fun as you just tilt your device to drop your lure in the water and punch the screen as fast as possible to claim your bounty. Slayaway Camp is another title that follows this pattern creating a novel and engaging game out of a bare minimum design.

Slayaway Camp leans hard into horror nostalgia. Modeled after the iconic but flawed movies of the 80s and early 90s like the Friday the 13th franchise, Slayaway Camp casts you as the crazed killer out to brutally murder the camp counselors and other residents of the titular camp. The game is decidedly retro like Far Cry: Blood Dragon incorporating VHS screen tears, a retro UI, and other staples of the past throughout.

And just like in the movies, the cops here are really, really bad at their job

Gameplay is distilled down to 4 way directional movement. You can only slide your character up, down, left or right. That’s it. You cannot stop your movement so you effectively slide as far as possible and then decide your next move. Your goal is to slide into all of the NPCs which kicks off a quick fatality cutscene and then navigate to the exit of the level. As you can imagine, early levels allow you quite a bit of leeway to complete them but later levels require precise planning and a certain sequence of events in order to make sure you’ve somehow killed everyone and made it to the end before getting stuck somewhere.

This is a game meant to played in short stints and not marathoned through in one 10 hour sitting. It’s fun and funny, but could be exhausting as a puzzler if you tried to race through it quickly. It’s a great time waster when caught in the DMV or in the back of a long car ride somewhere but don’t necessarily think you need to seek it out. If you’re still on the fence, there’s a free version you can play on the web.

Calls us sadists but for some reason we never got tired of the murder cutscenes as cute as they are

What works

The sense of humor and basic gameplay make this immediately fun to play.

What doesn’t work

There aren’t many surprises or much of a story to keep you invested. This is an easy puzzle game you pick and play whenever you have 30 minutes to kill.

Overall: 3/5 – Good but skippable

It’s a fun diversion with a Cabin in the Woods type sense of humor that we’d easily recommend to anyone but don’t feel like you need to go out of your way to find this.