From humble beginnings in a /r/SomethingAwful Photoshop contest, to becoming somewhat of a modern horror icon, Slenderman has certainly made his rounds in the media, and now he’s finally arrived on the Wii U.
Honestly, he should have just stayed at home, because his Wii U debut is positively horrible.
When you start up the game, you’re greeted by a mildly spooky loading screen and a fairly atmospheric startup menu. Sadly, any attempt at effective horror ends here, as once the game begins, you’ll find a terribly textured and generic-looking Unity engine environment. The game uses the same flashlight effect present in almost all Unity-based first person games, and there is an absolutely depressing amount of object pop-in present considering the abysmal graphical quality of this game.
“His Wii U debut is positively horrible.”
The strangest part of the graphics is how inconsistent they are. True, for the most part they’re awful. But there’s a few parts that look pretty good. The house that makes up much of midway point through the first level looks nice inside, but the trees and ground in the outside levels look awful. Lighting in the environment is good, but the flashlight effect is laughable. The worst offender is Slenderman himself, who looks like a horribly stiff high school attempt at 3D modeling, whereas the other main enemy in the game you encounter looks genuinely scary and moves in a spooky fashion. It’s just jarring, and really kills immersion, which is crucial to nailing a good horror atmosphere.
The gameplay is nonexistent for the most part. You can run, which gives the camera a nauseating head-bobbing effect, or walk painfully slowly. You can shine your little light around, switch the beam focus, and interact with a very minimal amount of objects. The main focus of the game involves finding certain objects scattered about the levels while avoiding the enemies, mainly Slenderman. This becomes incredibly frustrating and tedious quickly, because almost every level is the same, and Slenderman’s AI is atrocious.
I don’t even know if you can call it AI really. He teleports around without any animation, and can often just result in killing you randomly because he’s on top of you out of nowhere. There’s no outplaying him, there’s no hiding, he’s just there, accompanied by annoying screen tearing effects. The other main enemy, encountered in a level set in some mines, is much more effective. She chases you down silently, doesn’t kill you in one hit, and you can scare her away with a focused flashlight beam. This part of the game is actually alright, but then partway through the level, the titular pissoff shows up again and it goes back to relying on RNG to not get ganked.
Despite all this frustration, the game is incredibly short. It clocks in, after an ending that leaves a taste in your mouth not unlike gargling body wash, at around 2 hours in length.
In the end, it’s hard to think of something Slender: The Arrival gets right. Any attempts at real spooky moments are ruined by Slenderman’s goofy model and AI, and with how stagnant the gameplay is, you can get the exact same experience from the FREE game this game is based on: Slender: The Eight Pages.
I can’t think of a reason to recommend this game to anyone. Even those desperate for a horror game could probably find something better, and it’s a little bit late to even cash in on the antagonist’s fifteen minutes of fame. Sorry, Slenderman, but you should start scheduling your departure flight ASAP, because you just don’t belong here.