I have to be honest, I’d never heard of the Slenderman character before playing this game - but rest assured, I’m now well and truly aware of his blank expression and horrifyingly gaunt limbs, they’re the stuff of nightmares!
You’ll also spend plenty of time just plain run away from Slenderman and his screeching, slithering side-kicks. For the most part these encounters are tense and really amp up the menacing atmosphere to leave you quaking in your boots.
The delicate sounds of birdsong swiftly give way to demented footsteps crunching on gravel...
Unfortunately though, the mine level can prove to be a real frustration, especially on the harder difficulty levels. Finding the generators (which spawn in different places every time you die) can be an annoyance when you’re being chased by not only Slendy himself, but by a bloodthirsty ghoul too. The whole concept of Slenderman as a paranormal character will also irritate some, as he can teleport and find you whenever he pleases - if this sounds like something that’ll bother you then stay well away. For everyone else though, the small pain of the mines do give way to a fabulous horror experience.
The art style homes a minimalist blend of murky, somber tones, drawing you into both the story and community of Oakside. Many missions start with the saving grace of daylight, complete with soft wind blowing through the trees, before dropping you into an environment where only flickering lights or your torch can aid your vision; this juxtaposition makes the dark seem all the darker. When Slenderman himself is near, the screen crackles and flashes green - a good sign to run away as fast as you can! It’s all very well done, often playing on your mind and making you see things that aren’t really there.
The exemplary sound and music only heighten this feeling of dread further, with the delicate sounds of birdsong in the daylight sections swiftly giving way to demented footsteps crunching on gravel. Add to this the macabre music, with its selection of synthesisers, pianos, bells, strings and sparse percussion and you have true, unadulterated terror in audio form.
Our only major gripe outside of the mine level is the game’s short play time. Slender: The Arrival can be finished in a couple of hours, and with the only additional content being a remastered version of The Eight Pages, entitled Genesis, alongside a couple of harder difficulty settings, this isn’t the most economic package. Having said that though, what you’re getting is a truly wonderful horror game, one that’ll have you questioning your own judgement and seeing and hearing things that aren’t really there - for that alone Blue Isle and the rest of the team have to be applauded.