Let’s take a look at … – Bulb Boy

Classic Lucas Art’s point-and-click games, such as Maniac Mansion and Grim Fandango, are a unique style of game where you solve mysteries by finding items, talking to the right people, and visiting the right locations to progress the story. They usually require a lot of thought on what items to use and when, and can be somewhat tedious as a result, even though the story might be the real payoff. Bulb boy is a short, simple point-and-click adventure game that doesn’t rely on story to make it fun, the gameplay and overall silliness of the game do that just fine.

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You start off in a room with your flying dog and grandfather. You’re “bulb boy”, and you see your grandfather get taken away by a monster, of sorts, and have to find a way to get him back. This starts off a room-by-room, point-and-click puzzle adventure that lasts about 2 hours. Each item you find will be used in the room you are currently in and doesn’t require a lot of inventory management which I found to be refreshing. You use the items in logical ways to solve the room puzzle and then move on to the next.

Most rooms are comprised of roughly 5-6 interactions that usually include a boss fight. Finding a way to not get killed while you hunt the room for items to use it is key. In one instance, you fight a walking turkey that will eat you immediately upon seeing you. If it starts to come close, find one of the various hiding spots in the room to hide your glowing head, and it will walk right past you allowing you to explore more and solve the puzzle.

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The art style is very twisted though adorable. Bulb boy is a little guy that glows to illuminate the room around him, revealing monsters and death scenes that are mildly gruesome, but not distasteful. I laughed a few times, and cringed at others, but I was charmed by this game even though it was so short. I really enjoyed the flashback scenes in where life is grand and no monsters loom. They still function as a point-and-click mechanic but don’t involve the fear of death and having to restart.

I wanted to mention lastly that the game does save for you in pivotal points so if you do die, you won’t have to restart the whole level. It’s a great feature.

Tl:dr – Bulb Boy is about a 2-hour point-and-click adventure game which was a successful Kickstarter project that launched late last year. It’s charming, creepy, and gross, but overall adorable in the way it presents itself. Even though it is short it provided a lot of fun and a decent challenge to make it worth playing. Though it’s hard to say if it’s worth the admission price of roughly $10.00, I would definitely recommend playing it, especially if you are looking for a less stressful point-and-click adventure game.

Rating – 9/10

Purchase – Steam £6.99/$9.99

Trailer  –

Let’s take a look at … – STASIS

STASIS is a sci-fi point-and-click adventure game from The Brotherhood. Kickstarted back in 2013, STASIS received $132,523 of its $100,000 target, and today launches on both Steam and GOG. Inspired by the game Sanitarium, and made by a one-man-band Chris Bischoff over the past five years, STASIS promises a true, horror sci-fi experience. Let’s take a look.

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STASIS starts with an awesome, movie-like introduction, showing a ship flying through space. The music, art, and direction show clearly already that the title is not lacking production value. You wake up on an abandoned ship, fresh out of a stasis chamber, with no recollection of what’s happened. The last thing you remember is you, your wife, and your daughter were heading to Titan.

You are alone. Not only on the ship, but in regards to gameplay and problem solving; you are truly on your own. There are no goals, no objectives, and no tips on where to go next. Only through meticulous exploration of your environment, and taking careful note of your surroundings, and the scraps of information provided, will you be able to progress.

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Gameplay is typical of point-and-click adventure, and the isometric environments help pull you into the environment. The art utilizes pre-rendered 3D environments, with a gritty, film-grain like layer atop. It creates a very grungy atmosphere, that when coupled with the ambient backing track, and the terrifying sounds the ship makes, creates a very tense and uneasy feeling.

The music and sound in STASIS go a long way, and thanks to the highly successful Kickstarter campaign, two world class musicians, Mark Morgan and Daniel Sadowski worked on the project. Same goes for the excellent voice acting. The Kickstarter funds also allowed professional voice actors Ryan Cooper, and Rebecca McCarthy to join the project. All interaction is excellently narrated which goes further in immersing you in the experience.

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The game starts somewhat slowly at first. You’ve taken damage and are ill, so can’t move too fast. Your first task is to find medical help. You come across an old machine that can help, and the first puzzle presented is to get it up and running. This is a great example of how the game doesn’t molly-coddle you, and leaves it up to you. There are no prompts on where to go. No suggestions on how things work, you just have to work things out. There is a circuit breaker on the wall, and to learn how to use it you have to press all the buttons and see what happens. It’s authentic, and the sense of adventure and the unknown is great.

Information is gained by exploring items, and reading computer terminals. Often, things like this can feel disjointed from the task at hand, and somewhat superfluous. Asif you’re going out of your way to learn extra, non-critical information, but not with STASIS. Everything is relevant to the storyline, and you need to gather the information in order to continue. It’s just you, the operating system that runs the ship, and your intrigue.

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After more delving, and puzzle solving, you discover that you appear to be on a scientific research ship that’s been running for 50 years. How long you’ve been here for god only knows. As you explore the ship further things start taking a turn for the macabre. Corpses lie in empty corridors, screams radiate throughout, and shadows of creatures scurry past the edges of your vision. I’ve also come across another human, and have been instructed to leave the area I’m in immediately. Things are ramping up, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they’re taking me.

Narrative plays a large part in what makes STASIS great. Diligent reading and exploration will yield the greatest results, and you’ll get out of it what you put it. I think if you rush through it, just solving the puzzles in order to move forward, you might have a lesser experience.

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I’m about an hour and a half into STASIS, and it’s clear that a rich and well produced journey lies ahead. A grungy and rich aesthetic makes the environments real, and the excellent voice acting brings the characters to life. I love the fact that the game really leaves you in your own. It’s a true adventure game, not ‘Go Here, Do This, Collect That’. If you don’t have a sharp mind and approach the environment diligently you won’t get too far. For fans of adventure games, STASIS is a must-play.

Tl:dr – STASIS is a sci-fi, horror, point and click adventure game. With great production value, including the effort of great musicians, and professional voice actors, a fitting world is created to host the rich narrative. It doesn’t hold your hand, and it requires a sharp mind and key eye to progress. You’ll get out of it what you put in, and if you invest in it you will be rewarded with a great experience.

Rating – 8.5/10

Purchase – Steam £18.99 | GOG £18.99 (£15.29 with launch discount)

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Kidnapped

Kidnapped is a horror game by Deceptive Games. After making its way through Greenlight, it’s now on Steam in Early Access. Kidnapped tells the tale of Sebastian Lee, a Scotsman that mysteriously disappeared in 1992 without a trace. Taking place throughout a number of environments, Kidnapped promises some impressive features such as a dynamic changing world, a psychological horror experience and heavily interactive environments. Let’s take a look.

I had an up and down ride with Kidnapped, so I’m going to write about it in the order I experienced it. I’ve worked my way through chapter 1, so will relive it, keeping spoilers to a minimum, and bring you along.

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First things first, I experience resolution problems before the game had even started. On entering the menu I hit the settings to see what was what, a habit I’ve picked up from watching endless WTF? Is, and upped the resolution. It defaulted to 1600 * 900 and my monitors are all 1920 * 1080 which the game didn’t seem to like. On hitting play the screen went black and non-responsive for a few seconds causing me to miss most of the opening cut-scene. It seems it has problems readjusting to the resolution when the scene changes. Since the game is in early access, this can be overlooked. It’s not game breaking, usually, it’s crashed my system once, it’s just a pain in the ass.

You start your journey in a dank basement. A narrated opening cut scene brings you to your feet and your journey is underway. You are Sebastian, and you have no idea where you are or why you are there. Controls are simple and standard for the genre: WASD or arrow keys to move, left mouse to pick up items, right to examine, and E to drop. There are small issues with stepping on things, your character jumps about a bit, but they’re solid overall. One thing that is immediate is how slow the character moves. Kidnapped may have the slowest moving character of any game I’ve played. You can hold shift to sprint, and even then you’re just reaching a good walking pace. Again, not game breaking, but a constant grip as you slowly make your way around the map.

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Graphics. Oh the graphics. Kidnapped looks like it was released in 2010. The models are very low quality, as are the game menus. Despite this, loading times were long, and screen taring was a real issue. A quick jump back into the settings and I found capping the FPS at 60 sorted the problem. So up until this point I’d run into a few bugs, the graphics were incredibly outdated, and the main character would lose a race to a sloth. First impressions are key, and unfortunately Kidnapped fell short.

After a quick exploration of the cellar, we make our way upstairs to the kitchen were our first goal is revealed. ‘Find 5 Circuit Pins to unlock the kitchen door. We leave to kitchen to now find a long, dark corridor where there once stood a wall. With rooms on either side, we cautiously make our way along. It’s dark, there are creepy sounds all around you, and you sense the tension. Then … a naked man walk across the corridor and roars. It’s not scary at all, quite the contrary in fact, it made me laugh. Not the reaction they were going for I’m sure.

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Needless to say the first encounter with your captor is a let-down, and even though the game is in early access it shouldn’t be this way as it has a heavily adverse effect on gameplay. For the rest of the game, or the first chapter at-least, you know that’s what’s chasing you is a naked muscle-man. It’s no monster, no terrifyingly grotesque creature or ghost, but a naked man wearing a mask that roars at you.

As you work through the house to find the five pins you come across a number of different slips of paper. Most are random nonsense, but some tell a tale of someone who seems to have been put in prison, and is now out for revenge on those that did it. The more you diligently you explore the more of these you’ll find, and the more of the story you will know. While most of the gameplay seems to revolve around walking and exploring, looking for certain items to aid in your escape, I have run into a quick puzzle: a brief riddle and the rotating of some statues, and I’m sure there are more to come.

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One of my favourite aspects of the game is how the environment changes around you. This is a very clever mechanic, and has produces some of my favourite in-game moments. It makes you question yourself: ‘Was that door always there?’ ‘Wasn’t there a wall here a moment ago?!’ The changing environment takes away your control, but unfortunately that feeling doesn’t really surmount to anything as you then remember that your hunter is nothing to be scared of.

Since the general threat is not there, at-least for me, the scares in Kidnapped come from the jumpy classic horror moments. Some of these are great and timed perfectly. It’s absolutely terrifying when a ball bounces past a door you’re about to enter and the ghostly sound of a child laughing follows. It gives me chills just thinking about it. Moments like that are memorable and genuinely scary, but other times they miss the mark. I think back to the first time you see the main enemy. Naked man and a roar. Really?

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Kidnapped isn’t a BAD game. For me however it currently has one too many flaws for me to really get into the experience. Just as I get into it, my sense of fear building, the character will get stuck on something, or the naked man will roar at you. There is a good horror game in Kidnapped, it just needs its rough edges removed. It is in Early Access, so rough edges are to be expected, but they’re just too sharp for me at the moment.

I will for sure be returning to Kidnapped once it reaches a full release to learn the tale of Sebastian. I’m intrigued.

Tl:dr – Kidnapped is an early access horror game with potential, but a boat-load of flaws. Models are low quality, it has performance issues, the movement needs work, but every now and again you’ll experience a genuine fright which reminds you why you’re putting up with it. If you’re a fan of the genre, and ready to overlook a handful of flaws, then you’ll find reasons to play and like Kidnapped. For me, I want to see what else it has to offer, but there are too many flaws to work through at the moment. I’ll be waiting until it’s out of Early Access before finishing the campaign and learning the story behind Sebastian Lee.

Rating – 6/10

Purchase –Steam £5.59, discounted to £4.69 until July 27th

Trailer –

 

Let’s take a look at … – Enola

Enola is a horror adventure game by indie developer and publisher The Domaginarium. First released on Steam back in September 2014, it recent received an update implementing ‘Nightmare mode’ which made the already frightful story deeper and darker.

In Enola you have no weapons in the traditional sense, just your wits that you’ll use to solve puzzles and uncover the disturbing mystery of the nightmare you find yourself in. Let’s take a look.

Be warned that this game does cover dark and twisted themes that might turn some players away.

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The story revolves around a female protagonist, Enola, sifting her way through the macabre world created by Angelica, her lover, learning more about her history and story as she does so. The Steam page states ‘SOME PARTS OF THIS GAME ARE DISTURBING OR CRUEL’ and that warning should not be taken lightly. Enola’s themes are indeed very dark, and touch upon issues of abuse, rape, and a woman trying to find the ability to love and trust again. While I enjoy a compelling story, the material was very descriptive and dark, making it challenging to continue in places. I sometimes found myself detaching from the experience due to its very mature nature.

As you wander through areas like old houses, factories, a cemetery, etc. you have to navigate death traps like floor spikes, and revolving blades that will kill you instantly. Be sure to save often as there are no defined save points. You will always go back to the place you last manually saved. Memory banks appear throughout the game and provide more of the story through snippets of written text. A good portion of that is spoken word which was nice to see the developer take the time to add as it fuels the immersion of the game. It can however sometimes be hard to understand exactly what is going on because you can find these out of order, learning something further in the story before you should have. It’s not game breaking, but it does confuse the timeline a little bit.

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Enemies appear in the form of black mannequins, and need to be pushed off with a series of quick button presses so that you can continue your journey. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t make me jump as they come at you startlingly. I was walking through a garden maze and noticed a black form was following me. Even though they usually won’t kill you, just knowing that you are being hunted, and every time you look back there is something still chasing you, fills me with a sense of unbridled fear that I can feel in my bones. I really appreciated this part as sometimes the game lacks instances of true terror.

Getting down to the look and feel of the game is where everything falls apart for me. The game is mostly linear in terms of where you need to go next, but each area is littered with doors and rooms that are completely pointless and have nothing of interest or value in them. You find yourself looking for “item 1 of 3” in a very large area with multiple doors, some you can go in and some you can’t, and the majority of the environment holds zero information or items of importance. It’s extremely frustrating and was actually my biggest issue with the game; the size of the rooms and corridors. While this might seem trivial, it felt like nothing was built to scale in relation to the character. Everything was so large and exaggerated that it felt rushed and not thoroughly thought out.

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Graphically this game could have come from the 90’s. It felt uninspired, bland and it gave the impression that someone went into the content manager of a 3D modelling program and just grabbed whatever was there. Items like a ladder or crates felt out of place and were everywhere. It’s confusing as a player when you are trying to find the reasoning of the items placed in the environment, only to realize that they are pointless and are just there to block an area, or just for the sake of it. Considering you don’t want to miss any important items or details, you are almost forced to seek out every nook and cranny only to be moderately rewarded with a piece of story or item.

The music never really felt atmospheric as it sounded the same through most of the game. When you are in a new area, and the music changes, it seems to fit for a short while before inevitably swelling for no reason only to repeat and start over. Your character is rarely in danger when this happens, and there is no real reason for this track to be playing giving you a false sense of fear when there doesn’t need to be one. A counter argument would be that it’s there to keep you on edge, which in places it does, but the issue is when you are exploring an area for 30 minutes. This music keeps playing over and over until you finally realize that no matter what you do you’re safe and the point is lost.

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Another big aspect of this game is the choices you have. Let someone live, or let them die. You are given good backstory on the target in question, and you have a choice to either kill them based on hatred for what they’ve done or let them live. It usually comes down to someone who did something terrible, but that terrible thing was not to you or someone you know. They are a bad person, here is what they’ve done, pull the switch or not. While I love this idea, there is no real point to either choice. This is summed up by the final confrontation at the end of the game where you have no other option but to kill, even if you chose to spare everyone else you came across. A choice here would have made more sense. As far as I could tell, the ending is not affected at all by these decisions which made them feel empty.

I remember the first 2 hours or so were quickly becoming boring. To be fair to the game I was determined to finish it – which I did. It does get better and start to get pretty crazy compared to the opening couple of hours. Overall I enjoyed the midpoint of the game and getting towards the end, but that joy was ripped away from me once I finished the game and saw how everything I did didn’t really matter. It was an up and down ride throughout, but overall it doesn’t hit the mark for me. This game had/has promise if it’s every revisited and re-done but in its current state it’s not something I can recommend unless this type of story is more important than gameplay.

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Much like Gone Home, if you are playing strictly for the story you may really enjoy this game like many other reviewers have already. If you want a balance of gameplay and story, then I suggest looking elsewhere as this game suffers from many broken mechanics and design flaws.

Tl:dr – Some games give you a solid reason to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and others leave you torn because of the effort or personal story you can see through the games narrative. Enola is such a game where there is heart in the development but it never quite hits the mark. The game can become quite tedious and I struggled to accept the design choices that were made which overall took me out of the elements of this game. Decent story but uninspired gameplay really detracts from the experience that could have been.

Rating – 5/10

Purchase – Steam £11.99

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Monstrum

Monstrum is a survival-horror title from Team Junkfish. Released in Early Access in January, it’s now transitioning into a full release, with an accompanying price increase from £9.99 to £11.99. With procedural generation and insta-perma-death, it promises to offer a fresh take on the genre. Let’s take a look.

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Monstrum is terrifying. Legitimately terrifying. You wake up in a small, dank room of a derelict container ship with nothing but the clothes on your back and a flashlight in the next room. The only guarantee past that is the monsters hunting you from the darkness. Their grunts, groans and footsteps mix with the constant creaking and knocking of the ship. The long corridors, the ends of which are cloaked darkness, promise nothing but instant, permanent death. The atmosphere is horrible from the get go. There’s no respite; no slow build up to the danger. From the moment you start, you’re in danger, and the game does a great job of making you feel that.

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For starters, the location of the game is creepy. Wandering around an old, rusty cargo ship, creaking and knocking comes from all around you. That in itself is frightening. Add to that the sound of footsteps and growls coming from the darkness and holy hell. The first time you stop moving, only to have the sound of footsteps continue behind you … all aboard the nope train.

The goal of Monstrum is to escape the abandoned ship, and if you’re brave and lucky enough, find clues as to who you are and what the hell has happened. Easier said than done given that at all times you’re being hunted from the darkness and the environment is procedurally generated. Throughout the ship there’s a wide range of items to be found that will aid your escape. Some items are used to light the way, such as glow sticks, and others can be used to help distract the monsters, such as coffee cups. The items come with their own mechanics and uses, but with no tooltips, so it’s down to you to figure out how to use them.

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One of the most interesting features of Monstrum is that it’s procedurally generated. Each time you restart, which will be often given the perma-insta-death, you’ll be in a new area of a new ship, with items spread randomly in new locations. There’s no learning the layout of the ship and its items, and no getting a one-up on the monsters hunting you from the dark. With each run, you’re back to the very beginning; in an unfamiliar location, with an unfamiliar enemy that could be anywhere.

This plays a big part in creating the atmosphere. You could play for 15 minutes, as I did on my first run, and not run into anything. Your second run, you could leave the first room and run into those glowing orange eyes. Right from the start, you are in danger, and the creepy environment and sounds let you know it. I’ve run into two different monsters in my various playthroughs, both of which made me fill my pants when they ran at me from the darkness.

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The sounds of the game play a major part in creating the creepy atmosphere. With stereo sound, the best experience is surely to be gained through using headphones. Walking along the grim, dank, and dimly lit corridors of the ship, pipes clattering in the distance, and then the unmistakable grunt of the monster followed by his footsteps coming from behind you send chills up your spine every time.

The graphics are also solid and do a good job of adding the required level of realism to the environment you find yourself trapped in. I particularly like the orange glow of one of the monsters eyes. It shit me up in the trailer, and even more so when I came face-to-face with it for myself!

The graphics unfortunately lead me onto a problem I had with the title, performance issues. Before I get into this, here’s my rig:

  • i5-2500K @ 3.20GHz
  • 16 GB HyperX Fury
  • GeForce GTX 660
  • Steam library is on a 1TB SSHD

In short, I don’t have problems running games up towards their limits. Monstrum however took its toll on my system. I regularly saw the framerate drop to 40/45, and it even bombed out at 8 fps at times. I checked task manager to see what was going on, and Monstrum was using 3GB RAM. Shortly after this it crashed.

There were certain in-game things I noticed in particular that caused the framerate to drop. For example, if I equip the roll of chain, the framerate immediately fell until I unequipped it. The only thing I could think that could because this is all the lighting calculation required with the chain. No Steam reviews seem to share my experiences, but this was certainly not a one-time problem. I’ve run the games on a few different days, after system restarts, and it’s still has its way with my memory and subsequently the framerate.

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Still, for fans of horror titles this one is a no-brainer. A brilliant atmosphere, incredibly punishing, and the procedural generation makes each trip back into the ship a fresh adventure. It’s an intense game of cat and mouse and a constant effort to survive while exploring an unfamiliar environment. While the high RAM usage and framerate drops aren’t ideal, they didn’t impede gameplay too much and the game can most certainly still be played and enjoyed.

Tl:dr – Monstrum is a terrifying, and equally punishing survival-horror game, with insta-perma death possibly around every corner. With no saving, and each run being procedurally generated, a fresh challenge is waiting whenever you feel brave enough. Prepare to be hunted.

Rating – 8/10

Purchase – Steam, £11.99/$17.99/€14.99

Let’s take a look at … – Five Nights at Freddy’s 2

Five Nights at Freddy’s seemingly came out of nowhere, taking the psychological horror genre by storm. With many teasers released on Cawthons website, the second one has finally been released. As if we haven’t been emotionally wrecked by the ‘scariest indie game so far’, there are more features in this prequel that make your life just that bit harder.

Both games have been created in the Clickteam Fusion engine, which makes it stand out graphically. Clickteam Fusion is a 2D game creator, in which many puzzle type games and phone apps have been created. Considering the characters all look 3D but are in fact a 2D image just shows that Cawthon knows exactly how to get his hands around this engine.

Despite it being made in this way, the graphics and art-style are incredibly smooth and clear. To have characters jumping down a corridor at you and just attacking generally just makes the production even more impressive, and that’s just the game itself. We haven’t even got onto the gameplay yet!

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The game starts off with a cut scene that shows you inside the head of one of the animatronics, we have every right to assume its Freddy at this point. You look left and right at both old Bonny and Chica, who are staring back at you. It’s as creepy as it sounds don’t you worry. After that the screen goes blank, and you’re back in the office ready to be a security guard… and defend yourself from psychotic robots.

The layout of the game is a lot bigger than its predecessor. There are many more party rooms, the stage where the new animatronics perform, there’s Kid Cove; a place for the toddlers to build their own friend , prize corner, and the spare parts room which is where the old animatronics reside…
In all of these rooms you have a camera and a torch. You shine the torch to see the animatronics who will be hiding in the shadows most of the time. You have to flick between these cameras to see how close they are in comparison to the office. The sheer amount of cameras is overloading, as there are more to check than the previous game. There are more blind spots too. The vents to your left and right have lights on them because the animatronics more often than not will crawl through there. There’s also a fairly large corridor ahead of you that is pitch black and has no cameras in. You have to shine your torch down there to see if there are any animatronics that may decide to run at you.

There’s the additional terror of no doors. No doors to protect you. None. So you need to find other means of protection. Of course the phone guy, voiced by the creator Scott Cawthon, tells you everything you need to know about defending yourself from them. And how do you do that? You put on a Freddy Fazbear head so that they think you’re one of them. How sweet. You also flash your torch at them, as if they are a small vulnerable animal that is scared by flashing lights. We all know this isn’t the case but it seems to hold them off for long enough. They aren’t the safety of a door but they’ll do.

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You thought fighting off four or five animatronics was difficult right? And that was with doors. Well try fighting off eleven all at once. In the latest instalment there are six new characters: the toy versions of the originals, ‘mangle’, BB (or balloon boy) and the Marionette. The reason they come into your office is because in the day time they are surrounded by people, so are attracted to them. At night you are the only person left, so they want to play with you. There’s also mention of a criminal database, where the animatronics protect the children from criminals. There’s many theories surrounding this and why they come and attack you, but that’s for another time. Needless to say, these new characters are just as terrifying as the old ones, and they all try to kill you… again.

The ‘toy animatronics’ are basically kid friendly versions of the originals. They have a very cartoon like art style to them and have also become a lot more feminine. All the animatronics have been given this new lease of life, and look so much more professionally made than the other ones. When I say the characters have been feminised, Bonnie, who we assumed was a male, has been given lashings of eye shadow and mascara. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that in the teaser we were given, everyone assumed that he was a she. Chica is fairly sexualised in this new one, as far as an animatronic chicken can be sexualised anyway, wearing hot-pants and a crop top/bib thing.

I guess this is what the fan base asked for with it’s very, VERY strange fan fictions and art based on the game, but we won’t go into that just now. Freddy looks as menacing as ever, despite the reboot, but the cartoon art style does make him look a bit like a balloon. You kind of just want to go over there and pop him to get him out of the corridor. As far as I know, the new animatronics do barely anything on night four, but up to night 3 they’re fairly active.

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Where is my favourite fox from pirate bay?’ Foxy is indeed my favourite animatronic and this will continue through the new game (You should have seen the look of delight on my face when I saw him coming down the corridor; I guess I have a thing for underdogs). ‘Mangle’ is essentially toy Foxy. She, yes she, lives in Kid Cove and sits there making a static like noise. The story behind the Marionette is that she used to play with the toddlers in Kid Cove, but they would eventually end up being torn apart by them. She cost too much to be put back together each time so they made her into a sort of ‘build your own’ game where the kids will take her apart and put her back together. Did I mention that she walks on the roof yet? Mangle crawls towards you on the roof.

I personally love this concept, because it’s making you look in places you wouldn’t expect the animatronics to be. Who would expect Mangle to be crawling on the roof? I know I didn’t. It was the static noise that gave away that she was in the room. It’s also adding a whole new theory to ‘the bite of 87’ story. Was it Mangle? Was it old Foxy? We don’t know. My love for Mangle carries on because she is one of the only rebooted animatronics that does something on night four, other than BB and the Marionette. The idea that she climbs on the roof is so new and versatile, that no one was expecting it.

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Although the rebooted animatronics are fairly dormant, BB, the Marionette and Mangle are always active as well as the old ones. BB works the same as any of the other animatronics, you put on the Freddy Fazbear head to get rid of him etc. But when he gets into the office, he doesn’t kill you. He just stands there, staring into your soul and giggling at the fact he has turned off the electricity in your room and basically caused your death. This new dynamic is the equivalent of the electricity turning off in the previous game. You can’t turn on any of the lights, including the torch and the cameras are turned off too. The problem with BB is that he talks to you. This means there is a warning for when he is in the vents but having a small child’s voice echo down some vents is fairly disconcerting. The Marionette is an additional new dynamic. To keep it at bay, you have to play a music box.

The Marionette is a jack in the box style character, so you have to stop him from jumping out and killing you. The idea behind this is that it makes sure you keep looking at the camera, rather than just focusing all of the attention on your office. Winding it up also gives your enemies time to sneak into your office and give you a good ol’ jump scare when you come out of your monitor.  The story behind both of these characters is fairly unknown right now. It’s been suggested that the Marionette was the cause of the bite of ’87, or is a hallucination. Nothing has been confirmed yet though. The Marionette is featured in some mini games that pop up. There are several mini games that happen as a result of you dying. One is the Marionette preventing children from crying… or dying but we’ll keep the idea friendly for now, one is the Marionette giving people presents and another is Freddy chasing the Marionette. The graphics for these mini-games are reminiscent of old arcade games. They could reveal the story behind the Marionette if completed properly. So far the idea of these games are unknown also.

I’d like to also mention the improvement of the noises that you hear in the game. In the first game there wasn’t much noise, except for the table fan, the closing of doors, the movement of Chica in the kitchen, the piercing scream before you’re brutally murdered… In this game you get so much more! And with more sound comes more tension. To start off with, the animatronics make more noise when they move around. So you know when they’re in a vent or when they’ve left the room etc. They still scream at you as an attack, but the new animatronics talk to you. They seemingly say hello to you in a child’s voice. Furthermore there’s an eerie noise that plays when you have an enemy in a vent or in the corridor ahead of you. Yeah it’s more of a warning than the previous game but it’s also scary as anything. There’s nothing more fear inducing than knowing that there’s something sinister right in front of you, but your torch jamming up so that you’re unable to see it. The new sounds in the game are great sources of tension and fear, and are brilliant additions to the game.

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Overall, the FNAF 2 has been as big a hit as the original; you could even say it’s much bigger. Since it became number one on Steam greenlight, the anticipation has not died down. Now it’s here and it’s brilliant. It’s unknown how Cawthon was able to pull off his fantastically idea a second time, but he has. By adding so many new features, he has kept the players on their toes throughout the whole build up to the game and its release, both through teasers and in game mechanics. There’s not a moment of peace in that game, which keeps the game flowing perfectly and the tension never ends. I can safely say that the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” games are in my top ten, and will keep a place in my heart for a very long time. I can’t wait to see what Scott Cawthon comes up with next, but to top this game will be difficult.