Platform Reviewed: PC

There’s no time for pomp and circumstance about my return to Blood Theatre; you have some downloading to do.

Slender is a free-to-play game for PC that, at a whopping 55 megabytes, won’t tax your hard drive or your hardware. If MY laptop can play it, chances are your rig can too.

I’ve played the game ONCE for 10 minutes and I’m already reviewing it. Before you call shenanigans on my ‘thoroughness’, trust me when I say 10 minutes is all you need. This game is f**king scary.

You may or may not be aware that The Blair Witch Project is one of my favorite horror films, as being lost in the woods at night, hunted by a paranormal entity is quite disturbing. So when I found out the premise of Slender, I was immediately irked. That unease certainly didn’t go away when I booted up the game.

There’s no cutscene introduction, no main menu, just the title and bam: you’re in the middle of the woods at night with a flashlight, told to collect 8 pages. You can walk, sprint, zoom in (the perspective is first person through a camera) and that’s it. And thus the horror begins.

As soon as you collect your first page, an ominous-sounding pulse begins and you realize you’re not alone: a creature known only as The Slender Man is following you, with full intention of destroying your sanity. He resembles a man in a suit with abnormally long arms and a featureless face. You never see him move, but he gets closer with each note you collect as the soundtrack gets more and more suspenseful. If you manage to see him off in the distance and stare too long, the screen becomes static as your sanity slips away. If he catches up to you, the game ends. Literally: it quits you back to your desktop.

You can’t fight him, you can’t escape him, you can only delay the inevitable long enough to collect these 8 random pages. In my play-through, I collected six of the eight before the faceless bastard popped up behind me (and boy, did I ever jump).  My best advice: don’t look behind you. Never before in a video game have I ever been so nervous to do so.

I can’t think of many negatives, only because this isn’t an ordinary video game. The graphics are surprisingly decent, with dynamic lighting playing a huge role in setting the atmosphere. The only gripe I can think of thus far is the sound of crunching nature under your feet continuing even as I entered what seemed to be a fully tiled abandoned bathroom.

Do yourself a favor and download Slender. It might not seem like there’s a lot to it, but that works to its advantage: few games master fear in their entire length the way Slender does in 10 minutes.