A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Slender: The Arrival is a very scary horror game in which the player takes on the role of a woman investigating what happened to her friend in a rural wilderness. While there is little in the way of actual violence (the burned husk of a body appears near the game's end), the game keeps players on the edge of their seats as they're accosted by a terrifying soundtrack and frightening images, including the ghost-like shape of a tall man and a hooded figure that chases them. Even adults are likely to be stressed and startled by what they see.
What's it about?
SLENDER: THE ARRIVAL, a slightly bigger-budgeted reimagining of 2012 indie hit Slender: The Eight Pages, puts players in the shoes of a woman named Lauren intent on finding her friend Kate. The game begins with Lauren arriving at Kate's house in the woods to find her missing and her things in disarray. Discovering a series of notes and clues that suggest Kate may have been in a state of panic before leaving, Lauren picks up a flashlight and heads out into the forest determined to learn what happened to her. The short but terrifying adventure that follows sees Lauren -- armed only with a flashlight and video camera -- investigating pitch black woods and buildings with objectives such as finding scattered pages or turning on generators. Always on her trail is a ghostly, horrific figure called the Slender Man. He appears frequently, causing the player's screen to distort and go static-y. If he catches you the game ends and the level is reset.
Is it any good?
It doesn't last more than a couple of hours, but those two hours may be among the scariest you ever spend sitting in front of a computer. Creepy, dramatically lit environments combine with a terrifying soundtrack that deftly mixes chirping crickets with blaring feedback to create an extremely chilling atmosphere. The fact that you can't fight back but instead only run or occasionally blind your pursuers with your flashlight only serves to heighten the fear.
However, some players may get frustrated by the game's high level of difficulty and repetitive design. Even experienced players will find themselves frequently caught by the Slender Man or his creepy, hooded companion. When that happens, the level resets and all of the objects you were searching for are randomly scattered for you to find again -- disheartening, to say the least. That said, mature horror fans who can get past these barriers will find a sublimely scary little interactive story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it feels like to be scared. Why do some of us enjoy being terrified? How is it that games and movies and books -- things we know aren't real -- can create a real sense of panic?
Families can also discuss the difference between terror and violence. Is a truly scary game that shows no blood or gore any more appropriate for younger audiences than those that do?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Emotional Development: developing resilience, persevering
Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, deduction, strategy
- Price: $5.00
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Blue Isle Studios
- Release date: April 2, 2013
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.