GAME REVIEW: Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle
– By Steven Hickey
Do you like Slasher Movies?
How about simple yet fiendish puzzle games?
If you answered yes to either of these (but especially if you said yes to both), Blue Wizard’s Slayaway Camp was made for you.
For those unfamiliar with the title, Slayaway Camp was a cute, sliding block puzzle game that burst onto the scene back in 2016, first on Steam before migrating to Android and iOS. But unlike most other games of its ilk, Slayaway Camp had a superb USP – in it, you played a hulking masked Slasher villain (the wonderful Skullface) and each puzzle involved slaughtering helpless teens while avoiding police officers, SWAT team members, pits, pools and roaring fires and, er, cats (just roll with it, trust me).
Packed full of horror references – and including a growing roster of playable killers who were clearly very much inspired by familiar faces – yet still cute and campy enough to keep its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek, Slayaway Camp was (and still is) a fantastic indie title.
Now Blue Wizard have returned with their follow-up title – and if Slayaway Camp was designed to get horror fans smiling, this latest effort will get them frothing at the mouth.
The reason? This is an officially licensed Friday the 13th title.
That’s right – this is a puzzler in which you play the role of the greatest Slasher icon of all time – Jason Voorhees.
Blue Wizard’s Jason Kapalka was kind enough to offer me an early look at Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle – and (excuse the pun) it SLAYED me.
Taking the familiar mechanics of Slayaway Camp but cranking the experience up a whole new level, Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is jaw dropping. It maintains the cutesy graphical element of Slayaway Camp, but builds and advances on that look massively.
Skullface looked pretty cool, but Jason is a whole new ball game. Somehow, he’s even scary!
The game itself offers up some nice twists and surprises, especially for fans of the the classic Eighties horror franchise. One of my personal favourites is that Mrs Voorhees decapitated head sits in the corner of the screen, ready to dole out helpful hints should the game throw up a puzzle that stumps the player.
Yes, this is THAT type of game.
Speaking of the gameplay, the controls and basic mechanics are simple and very intuitive, ensuring that it is the puzzles, not the play, that will cause the challenges.
I think there’s a gentler learning curve for Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle than there was to Slayaway Camp. Perhaps it’s because the hours (and I do mean hours) I spent puzzling away at Blue Wizard’s previous title prepared me for this one, but I definitely encountered fewer hair-pulling ‘how the hell do I do this?’ levels (Slayaway Camp’s singing Chief Camp Counsellor and that bloody Woodchipper level spring to mind!). That’s not to say there’s no challenges to be had in Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle – it’s just that Blue Wizard ease you into them a little more gently this time.
Most of these challenges come in later levels – and boy do the guys at Blue Wizard go out there with the setting for these later levels.
Sure, in the films Jason may be best known for stalking the woods around Camp Crystal Lake, but let’s not forget he isn’t above taking the odd sojourn to other locations. He infamously ‘took Manhattan’ and even traveled to a space station in Jason X.
Blue Wizard trump those.
With scenarios that include a Mad Max-Essie Apocalypse Jason and a Jack the Ripper Jason stalking the streets of Victorian London, this game is batshit crazy – and it’s all the better for it.
As well as improved looks, even more imagination in the scenarios and a smoother gameplay experience, another key difference between this and its spiritual predecessor is that this game offers users a number of collectibles that can be unlocked along the way – most notably a fun selection of alternative weapons, from classic selections such as crowbars and pool cues, to more outlandish items such as ice skates and even a shish-ke-bob! These all play a role in the fun and decidedly splattery kill scenes that accompany the dispatch of each of Jason’s victims.
It would be remiss to talk about this game and NOT mention the fantastic and gory kills. There are two versions of the game – PG for younger players, and the version I imagine most of you bloodthirsty lot will opt for – R. The R-rated game certainly delivers the goods with severed body parts, shrieks of dismay and gallons of bloodshed – all delivered in a still undeniably fun and cute package of course!
In short, Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is an absolute riot to play, packed with in-jokes for genre fans (I’ve not even mentioned the host of cameos by familiar faces lining up to become victims to the hockeymask wearing boogeyman…), offering a pretty decent challenge in a nice episodic format that allows the player to dip in and out of it as they wish, making it perfect for any long train, plane or bus journeys.
You absolutely NEED to check it out.
Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is available on Steam TODAY, Friday April 13th (when else?).
Stay tuned for an EXCLUSIVE competition in the coming days!