Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut Game Poster Image
This puzzler's killer theme makes for a bloody good time.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While players are challenged to solve puzzles, end goal involves wholesale slaughter of unsuspecting victims.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players take on role of a slasher straight out of an '80s horror flick, which isn't exactly a stellar role model. Other characters aren't fleshed out at all, generally represent stereotypical victims of those films.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, difficulty comes in figuring out best solutions to each puzzle. Players also can rewind moves, restart stages without penalty. Also an option to use coins earned in game for a clue or even to see a stage's complete solution.

Violence

Technically, lots of potential for blood, violence. But settings allow for blood, gore to be adjusted from near nonexistent to completely over the top. Still, even at its most extreme settings, overly pixelated style and humor take a lot of visual impact away.

Sex

Parodying classic slasher films, so includes occasional goofy sexual references and innuendo to reference those movie moments.

Language

Outside of narrator who does movie "trailer" voice-overs, there's no spoken dialogue; text is generally just instructions, hints.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few not-so-subtle references to characters being drunk and/or stoned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut is a downloadable puzzle/horror game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The "Butcher's Cut" release is exclusive to consoles and features all of the downloadable content previously available in the mobile and PC versions of Slayaway Camp. The game parodies the slasher horror films of the '80s, with players taking control of a killer trying to murder unsuspecting campers. It's easy to pick up and play, with plenty of options to help players get through any difficult spots. While the material means the game is extremely violent by default, there are optional settings that can adjust the amount of blood and gore seen. Also, the pixelated art style of Slayaway Camp and the almost slapstick humor substantially reduce the visual impact of the blood and gore, even on extreme settings. Parents should also be aware that, due to the game's parodying of schlocky slasher films, some of the cheesy sexual innuendo and drug/drinking references stereotypical of those films make their way into the game as well.

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What's it about?

SLAYAWAY CAMP takes a classic sliding puzzle formula and wraps it in the bloody nostalgia of cheesy '80s slasher horror films. Think about summer camp, and what comes to mind? Horseplay in the lake? Fun with friends around the campfire? Running from supernatural serial killers under the glow of a full moon? Players step behind the mask of Skullface (or any of his equally homicidal cohorts) and navigate through the hazards and obstacles of multiple horror settings in order to take out unsuspecting campers in various creative ways.

Is it any good?

Puzzle games seem a dime a dozen these days, but every once in a while something finds a fresh take on a familiar formula to become a new killer hit. Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut is, quite literally, that new killer hit. After all, if you're going to wrap a puzzle game in a new coat of paint, why not make it the bloody carnage of a campy '80s slasher flick, right? As absurd as that may sound, the cheesy horror setting and over-the-top humor give the game a wild personality that makes it hard to put down. Collecting the different slashers, watching the different kills, and just laughing at the cartoonish insanity of it all never gets old. Watching a slasher try to run someone down with a street sweeper all in pixelated, pseudo-3D has to be one of the funniest moments in recent gaming memory.

Personality can only carry a game so far. There's got to be some substance to the gameplay if it's going to have any staying power. Strip away the dark humor and Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut looks like little more than a basic slide puzzle, quick to fall into the trap of repetition. But the game seems to have mastered the technique of the slow burn. Over time, it introduces more moves, trickier obstacles, and more mind-bending ways to interact with the environment. This gradual build doesn't just keep things from feeling stale, but also keeps adding extra layers of difficulty to consider, giving players a constant sense of both challenge and accomplishment. Put all the pieces together, and you wind up with a bloody balanced brainteaser and one truly killer puzzle game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about horror movies. What is the appeal of horror movies? How young is too young to watch a horror flick? How can these films affect younger minds?

  • Talk about strategic thinking. How can strategic games like Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut help to improve critical-thinking skills? What are some advantages to being able to plan out actions and consequences ahead of time?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzles

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