Indie Review: Slenderman’s Shadow – Part 1
Based on the popular indie game Slender, by Parsec Productions, Slenderman's Shadow is a bunch of new maps with similar concepts to the original. But how do these maps measure up to the original?
- Worth The Time?Yes, absolutely, if you even remotely enjoyed Slender.
- Things LovedThe variety in maps, the music, the unique scares across the maps, the different atmospheres in each map, the graphics, Slenderman is as creepy as ever, the experience is very immersive in most maps.
- Things HatedThe Hospice map could use a lot of improvement as it's not as good as the other maps, your stamina runs out too quickly, some of the maps can really be difficult to finish because of balance issues.
- RecommendationIt's simple. If you played Slender and enjoyed it, download these maps. They're absolutely worth it. And it's free, so what excuse do you have?
- Name: Slenderman's Shadow
- Genre: Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Marc Steene and Wray Burgess
- Publisher: Marc Steene and Wray Burgess
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
You can download the games for free here.
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Slenderman’s Shadow is based on the awesome indie horror game, Slender, that I reviewed back at the beginning of August. I had high praise for it, despite it being in its beta stage at the time, and I’m very happy to see that other developers thought similarly to me that Slender was a concept that could be greatly expanded. One of the suggestions I made as to how it could be expanded as a game was that new maps could be created, and that’s exactly what developers Marc Steene and Wray Burgess have done with Slenderman’s Shadow. There are four maps currently out, namely Sanatorium, Hospice, Elementary and Mansion, and I’ll be talking about each of them. A total of eight maps are planned for the game, and since they are only releasing at a later stage I thought it would be best to review this game in two parts, naturally with the aim of covering all eight maps at the end.
In this review I won’t go over the whole gameplay again, because I did that in my review of Slender, but I’ll run through each map and my experience with them. Each map is very different and not just by design, but also in that you play as a different character, and the atmosphere and scenario is unique to each level. Starting with Sanatorium, because this was the first map released, it stays mostly true to the original game. You need to collect all eight pages before Slender Man finds you and kills you. The level, as the name suggests, is inside a mental hospital, and right from the start it’s a pretty unnerving place. It looks great, and it’s dark and dingy, large and very open with lots of twists and turns and places to go. It’s got all the right ingredients to scare you, and I have a great deal of praise for the way this game uses its design and its fantastic music. If you’ve played Slender, you’re definitely going to get freaked out the first time you collect three pages and suddenly bell chimes start echoing along with the standard noise. Slenderman’s Shadow is very atmospheric, and Sanatorium is an excellent exhibition of this. The only problem I had with the map is that your stamina depletes annoyingly quickly, and as a result it’s easy to die because outrunning Slender Man is difficult.
The second map is titled Hospice, and it’s probably the only map out of the four that I really didn’t enjoy. In this scenario you need to also collect pages, but each page contains lines you need to complete a poem, of which there are sixteen lines in total. I feel the design of this map is quite off, and it’s very hard to navigate and doesn’t look that scary or uninviting. It’s just not a very intimidating place, and most of your concentration will be on trying to navigate it. There are portraits on the wall that display real people and comic-style people, and I feel this detracts from the scare factor. You do get to plant a total of eight glow sticks on the ground by pressing the space bar, and I can’t see any use for these other than to mark places you’ve been to. But even with these, there’s no sense of direction in this map at all, and it feels overly congested. It often happened that I got tired of trying to find pages long before I eventually got killed by Slender Man. Lastly, your stamina just drains like water in no time, and it often was the case that by the third page I was running at the speed of an old man.
The third map, Elementary, is amazing, and is my favourite one after Sanatorium. This map is downright creepy, and spooky as hell. You play as a little girl in an abandoned elementary school, and it’s small and misty, so you can see little. It’s also very smooth to navigate due to its size, but that doesn’t mean finding what you need is any easier. You need to collect all eight teddy bears before Slender Man finds you. But really, this map is incredibly atmospheric and well realised, and the music and effects are top class. There’s all sorts of scary things to see, from severed limbs inexplicably laying around to blood splatters on the floor guiding you to certain teddy bears – or Slender Man himself. Some teddy bears are impaled to walls on large spikes, making it even more freaky. You feel tiny in this map, and not just because you actually are, and you’ll hear a little heart beat continuously, which heightens the tension and scare factor. Again, the only problem with the map is stamina, and while you can use the corridors to outrun Slender Man, it does get a bit frustrating by the time you reach five or six teddy bears.
The final map, Mansion, is quite brilliant. You play as a man who is in a coma, but unfortunately for him Slender Man has followed him to the depths of his mind. You need to collect twelve mementos to escape. This map feels completely unique because of its scenario and awesome atmosphere. It’s storming and raining hard, and the noise of it is constantly with you, giving the map an intense feeling. The map is also more interactive, because you’ll need to open doors yourself and such, which naturally makes things scarier as you don’t really know what could be behind a door you open. You can also place those glow sticks, but again I don’t really find them useful. Furthermore, the mansion has a creepy downstairs environment, almost like a cellar, and it’s pretty unnerving being down there and very intense to go back upstairs. It’s genuine horror, and I feel this map is excellently done. You’ll feel very isolated and boxed in, but I do feel the lighting of the whole place is a bit too much because Slender Man is naturally more menacing in the dark. But the drift away from conventional darkness and flickering lights is a welcome change, and it does go ways in making the map feel more unique.
Overall, Slenderman’s Shadow at this point in time gives you three great maps, and one that is worth playing, but not nearly as good as the others. The great part here is that you don’t need to download all four maps, and you can choose which one you want to download. The maps vary from 70-120mb in size, and require no effort to run at all. The only problem I can see with the game is one that is universal to all the maps, and it’s the issue of stamina. I said in my Slender review that horrors get this part wrong. It’s far more immersive and scary to be running and thinking you’ve gotten away only for reality to set in and tell you differently. More often than not, chugging along because your stamina is slow creates frustration, which hurts the scare factor. I also feel that some of the maps can be quite difficult, and I most often died at five pages, but then again the original game was also pretty hard to finish when you didn’t know the maps. Escaping Slender Man is more difficult in these maps than it was in the original, and that’s often due to the stamina issue. Lastly, the death screen is a bit better than the original for me, but I do wish it had more of a horror factor, like your character screaming, or some blood splatters on your screen or even some sounds implying that you’re about to be hurt real bad.
In conclusion, Slenderman’s Shadow may not be as polished as the original game, but it’s all the right kinds of awesome, and it’s fantastic to experience. Aside from Hospice, which is disappointing, the maps are excellent and extremely atmospheric, and this game certainly uses its music in a great way. It has a few issues overall, but it’s completely free to play and still being updated, so if you even remotely enjoyed Slender then there’s no reason you shouldn’t play this. Slenderman’s Shadow is proof that the concept of Slender is a great one, and that it can still be expanded in other ways in the future.