In modern times it is near impossible to make a game that is actually scary or creepy. Many won’t even try (yeah, I’m looking at you Capcom) even if fans are crying out for them.
In 2014 an little know indie game came along called Five Nights At Freddy’s, a point & click survival horror that impressed & spooked most who played it.
You take the role of the night security guard for Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The big selling points of the restaurant are the life-like animatronic animals that entertain the kids during the day. It’s your first night so your predecessor has kindly left you a voicemail outlying your duties as well as a warning.
At night the animatronics are allowed to roam freely because if they are left off for too long they develop problems & stop working. An incident referred to as the ‘Bite of 87’ means they are not allowed to roam during the day. The problem is should the animatronics see a human at night they will assume they are just an endoskeleton that isn’t in costume so will attempt to stuff them into the spare Freddy Fazbear costume. This means death for the unlucky person.
It’s your job to try & survive the night, midnight to 6am (4 and a half minutes in total).
Sitting in an office your defence is the network of cameras which you use to track the movements of the animatronics. This is where things get interesting as you have to flick between the cameras trying to keep an eye on the them. Most movement happens off screen & it becomes a really tense affair trying to keep up with them. To make matters worse some of the camera feeds are distorted with bad lighting & one doesn’t work only allowing audio.
It’s horrifying to flick back to a camera & see that one of the animatronics have disappeared, that’s when things get frantic.
To stop them coming into the office you can close doors on either side of the room as well as light the hallways outside. These areas aren’t covered by cameras so you have to keep an eye on them as well. The problem is using the doors or lights will drain the limited power you have. Run out of power before 6am & you’re in trouble as everything will stop working & you’ll be sitting in darkness waiting your fate.
Be prepared for an effective jump scare should you let any of them into the office. This also means game over & you’ll have to start that night over again.
There are 5 nights in total with increasing difficulty & making it through all off them unlocks an additional 6th night that is extremely tough. It’s all about strategy; try to save your power…keep a close eye on who is missing & how long you’ve got until the morning. Sound is a major part of it as often your best cues are the scraping or noises made by the animatronics as they move around.
It’s a game that doesn’t give you a moment to relax as you’re constantly trying to watch every corner of the restaurant. The suspense that comes with just waiting for something to happen is incredible.
What it does lack is length & once you’re familiar with the gameplay the excitement level drops.
Five Nights at Freddy's