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Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut (Switch) Review

by Neal Ronaghan - March 20, 2018, 9:27 am EDT
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One, two puzzles coming for you. Three, four slide to the door.

The gameplay and graphics of Slayaway Camp are ridiculously incongruous with the setting and tone. At its core, this is a brilliantly designed sliding puzzle game where you have to deftly move your hero through a gridded environment while trying to collect specific items before going for the exit. The twist is that you control the killer from a horror movie and the items you’re collecting are the brutal murders of helpless bystanders. The weird pairing works way better than I ever could have thought.

The foundation is rock solid. Strings of 10 to 15 puzzles are split up into VHS tapes, with 10 of those fake films making up the titular Slayaway Camp series, in addition to deleted scenes for each movie and a few bonus tapes. If you have any affection for that ‘70s to ‘90s era of slasher flicks, the style of the menus, the setups for the absurdist plots, and just the tone of the entire game is incredible. I’d consider myself a mild fan of some of those movies and all of the winks and nods worked extremely well for me.

The initial few levels are very easy and can generally be solved by just moving around the board, using button or touch controls, until accidentally stumbling into victims. With each progressing movie though, new concepts are introduced and soon the obstacles are numerous, with cops, SWAT teams, electric fences, and much more. Near the end, some of the puzzles are deliciously devilish, requiring precise moves and out-of-the-box thinking. It squeezes a lot out of a relatively simple idea.

If it gets too challenging, in-game currency can be used to buy a hint and a walkthrough. I recommend people don’t rely on the walkthrough, but having options like these to avoid beating your head against the wall on a specific task is always great. The smartly implemented hint system is one that would feel right at home in the old days of Nintendo’s Super Guide.

Beyond the puzzle mechanics, a crazy amount of gore and murdering is a constant here, but a slider turns the violence down (or up). The lowest setting is a relatively tame “PG mode” in case you’re squeamish. It’s a nice option to have because the violence is over the top and frequent. Thankfully, all of the characters are made up of voxels so it neuters most of the brutality. Some of the kills are so ridiculous and nonsensical that they’re hilarious. Once again, any fondness for old slasher flicks will make some of them even better because they draw on classic references. Humor is a strong suit overall, especially with fake end credits that roll when the playable killer dies.

Slayaway Camp is a smart, well-crafted puzzle game that transcends its niche trappings in such a way that even if horror movies aren’t your bag, you should still keep an eye out on this excellent game. It takes a basic concept and never lingers too long on one idea, continually adding new and novel twists. For the several hours it will take you to finish, Slayaway Camp stays fresh, avoiding the common problems of the horror movies it draws influence from. Even when mimicking the absurdity of later Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies, it stays inventive and fun.


  • Good-humored horror movie aesthetic
  • Great puzzle ideas and progression
  • Even with blocky graphics, it's real violent

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Game Profile

Genre Adventure

Worldwide Releases

na: Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut
Release Mar 22, 2018
PublisherDigerati Distribution
eu: Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut
Release Mar 22, 2018
PublisherDigerati Distribution
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