- Developer - Michael Hegemann
- Platform - iOS
- Release date - Out now
- Device tested - iPhone 4
- Price - £1.49
Games are great when they really eff with the player. Spec Ops: The Line took the biscuit last year by screwing with our expectations of the war shooter; Amnesia, by Frictional, is a rare example of first-person game with no guns in.
And Slender Rising, an iPhone version of the infamous PC hit Slender, messes with your mind by turning the controller against you. With no weaposn or equipment, save for a flashlight if you're playing on one of the night-time levels, you have to navigate an eerie deserted town looking for seven hidden items. All the while, you're being stalked by the mythical Slenderman, an otherworldly, impossibly tall humanoid thing that created by the users of website Something Awful.
He won't attack you, as such, nor will he pursue you. Instead, Slender appears at random junctures throughout the level, watching you from up close or afar. Get him in your eye line, though, and you become locked in place as you tries to suck you toward him and whatever void he drags his victims into. You can swipe the iPhone screen quickly to tear your eyes away, but generally, if you and Slenderman meet each other's gaze, it's game over.
And that's how the game trips you up, because all the while you're trying to avoid his eyes, your waggling the camera looking for those hidden items. If you want to finish the level, you need to look around; if you want to stay alive, you're best to stay looking forward.
It's incredibly difficult, and introduces this beautiful nightmarish quality to the game whereby you spend ages walking aimlessly around trying to avoid a monster you can't see. Everybody's had that night terror of being chased by an invisible, indefatigable...something and Slender Rising makes it physical.
In terms of dry technical prowess, this is a step up from the PC original, too. It runs on a mobile subsidy of the Unreal Engine, and as such looks and feels beautiful. You move your head by swiping the iPhone's screen and run by tapping where you want to move to. There's a slight niggle whereby you often overshot wherever it is you were aiming for, but that hardly matters.
It's a bigger game as well. Where the PC Slender gives you a single dark forest be terrified by, Slender Rising lets you pick between a wooded region and an abandoned town. There are light filters, too, so you can choose to play in the daytime, night-time or - for all the 28 Weeks Later fans - while wearing nightvision goggles.
Lastly, there's an extra game mode. On top of the classic 'collect seven items to escape' setup, there's also an extra bleak "Endless Stare" mode, a kind of time trial where the idea is to get as many items as possible before Slenderman inevitably gets you.
Slender Rising is excellent. It's dead scary and it adds a lot of smart, welcome new ideas to the original game. If you want to freak people out by screaming and jumping out of your seat on the bus, get it.
Overall score: 9/10
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