There may be a plethora of games inspired by the Slender Man mythos out there but perhaps the most popular (and the original) is Slender: The Eight Pages, which was developed by Parsec Productions. Released last June, The Eight Pages inspired developers and kick-started the trend of Slender Man games which has seen many clones.
We love Slender: The Eight Pages here at TheSixthAxis – it was the game we all played after dark at last year’s Eurogamer Expo, to get away from those other games and it gave us a good laugh watching each other jump out of our skin as Slender Man claimed yet another victim.[drop2]If you’re not sure what Slender is all about, you’re able to download it here.
Basically it’s a very creepy game in which you travel through a forest collecting notes – the titular eight pages – as you go, all while avoiding Slender Man: a tall, suited fellow with a rather blank expression who likes to play with your fear.
Slender: The Arrival is a true successor and – from my experience with the beta version – a worthy sequel to Parsec Production’s first horror outing. The beta is an evolution of the first game; while the finished game will have an actual storyline and many more levels, this version puts you back into a familiar yet entirely different wooded area.
Firstly, the map’s design is far better than that of the original: the locations where you’ll find pages are actually signposted, so you won’t spend ten minutes wandering circles as you may have done in The Eight Pages. Lights glow from inside a deceptively shadowy building; an empty truck sits with one headlight blinking; a warm yet menacing fire glows next to an abandoned tent; a tower can be seen across the tall trees; and a tourist map emanates light as much it does a false sense of security.
It’s not an entirely flat area, either – there are hills which make the experience even more daunting when Slender Man could be watching from the other side, if he isn’t already behind you.
Graphics, too, have been fine-tuned – Slender Man himself is turned from a spooky but rather unrealistic model into a more humanoid but even scarier foe, his shirt and body glowing white and tie red against the darkness of his suit and extra appendages.
This time around, the point of view is styled like a video recording, making for a better explanation of the static effects while giving players something of a HUD to see how long they’ve been chasing pages and avoiding the ever-present foe. There’s a dull mist across the map which, when coupled with the excellent lighting effects, makes Slender Woods an extremely haunting location.
Those static effects are brilliantly executed as the game builds tension and they’re even creepier when they do finally make an appearance, thanks to the game being a lot more visually realistic and therefore more atmospheric. Everything is a bit more blue than black this time round but that isn’t a bad thing – you need not worry about being plunged into darkness once you turn your flashlight off.
Music and sounds are much the same as the game’s predecessor, which is absolutely fine as they build an ominous atmosphere once again, while leaving fans of The Eight Pages with an air of familiarity as the sounds build with each collected page.
And when Slender Man catches up to you, you’ll be running away like a maniac rather than quitting out to the main menu – this game is immersive like few others and all the better for it. It’s a very spooky experience which isn’t at all for the faint of heart – or even the hardiest among us.
Slender: The Arrival is available to pre-order on PC for just $5 (£3.28 without tax) and I’d say that the beta that you’ll get instantly is worth that alone. If this is just a taster of what’s to come when The Arrival does arrive on March 26th, I’m very excited to see where it goes next.
Slender Man has evolved. And he’s more terrifying than ever before.