Every now and then there comes a game that redefines it's genre. For horror games, that game is Slender. The game was made by a small indie developer Parsec Productions and it's gameplay focuses on the most primal feeling of human nature: fear. And it's the most frightening game I've ever played. And I've played A LOT of games.
The story (if you can call it that) is very simple; there are rumors of an entity called 'Slender Man' and your character is tasked with finding 8 pages that describe it. There are no cut-scenes, subtitles or voice-overs explaining anything. It's just you, a flashlight and a dark forest.
Playing the game is also very simple; you walk around with the keyboard, look around with the mouse, turn the flashlight on and off and sprint for short distances. And that's what makes the game so great. No need to remember 10 different key combinations, just you and your trusty mouse.
Once you're in the game, you immediately realize there's something sinister around. The flashlight lights a bit of the dark forest you're about to explore but it doesn't give you much comfort. There's always a feeling that you're being watched.
Graphically the game is unimpressive but effective. The forest looks frightening with fog and dark corners everywhere. You're constantly checking behind every tree you see, looking for signs of life or a new page.
So what makes the game so scary then? The sounds. When you start the game, you only hear your own footsteps and that's it. Once you find the first page, the music kicks in. And the fear. The music gets into your spine and builds up the feeling of not being alone. The more pages you collect, the more intense the music gets. After 5 pages (my personal record) you're literally sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for something to come and get you. Absolutely brilliant.
For a free game, Slender is a true achievement. It really gets to you with it's psychological horror and the feeling of not being alone. And since the game can be played on almost every PC on the planet (thanks to the Unity engine), I don't see any reason why everyone shouldn't give it a go. Just be warned: this game IS NOT for the faint hearted.
This review is a lot shorter than you must have gotten used to getting from me but I really can't write much about the game without spoiling it. You have to experience it. I challenge you all to beat by personal record of 5 found pages. I dare you.