Indie Review: Slenderman’s Shadow – Part 2
The next three maps of Slenderman's Shadow have been released, and with the Secret Project announcement and final map being twenty days away, I thought it best to go ahead and speak about the maps currently out. Does Slenderman's Shadow continue to deliver, or is it running dry?
- Worth The Time?Yes, of course, if you remotely enjoyed any Slender maps.
- Things LovedThe strong design of the maps, the twists introduced in each map that mixes up the original idea, the concepts and choices of setting for each map, the atmosphere and visuals is better than ever, the sound is excellent.
- Things HatedThe Prison map is restrictive and its level design makes it uninteresting to engage with once you know how it works, Prison is hard to navigate.
- RecommendationIf you've enjoyed previous maps then you absolutely need to play the next three. They're still free, and still fresh, so go for it.
- 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.
In case you’ve forgotten or aren’t aware, Slenderman’s Shadow is based on the popular indie game Slender, by Parsec Productions, and it’s basically a bunch of maps to expand on the original mod. You can check out my review of Part 1 which covered the first four maps released for the game. Initially, I was going to wait for the next four, but after three released the project pretty much went into the dark as creator Marc Steene is being all sneaky about The Secret Project, which will contain the fourth map, Carnival, as well as various things we know nothing about. After seeing a countdown appear on the official date, revealing that there will be an announcement about this project in under twenty days, I decided it was best to get you up to speed with the next three maps so we can have a clean slate for The Secret Project. Let’s take a look at the next three maps of Slenderman’s Shadow.
Since you probably are already familiar with the Slender concept, and if you’re not you can read my reviews of both the original and the first part of Slenderman’s Shadow, I won’t be going over the gameplay again, but rather get straight into the maps. The fifth map, and the first of part two, is titled Claustrophobia, where you’re thrown into a large hedge maze and tasked with finding ten keys in order to escape through a door located outside of the labyrinth. It’s one of the few, if not the only Slenderman’s Shadow map to feature voice acting, but it’s just a little bit at the start to set up the scenario. Still, it makes it interesting. I’m sure you can immediately see why Claustrophobia is definitely not a place you want to be trapped with old Slendy in, and the design of it is enough to get you feeling uneasy. Also, the map introduces an excellent new twist, in that there is only one real key, and the other nine are fake, so you can either get all ten, which is suicide, or get as many as you can and then run for the door and try to escape. You need a good sense of direction for that.
This map is certainly one of the more challenging maps, and I struggled, often dying at five or six keys, or completely losing my sense of bearing and getting caught. But hey, if you expected a hedge maze to be simple to get around, then you must be on crack. There is help out on the internet if you want it, but the good part is that Claustrophobia will keep you playing it multiple times if you have the nerves for it. This is definitely a fantastically well-created map, and it seemed almost an obvious choice for a creepy scenario, so it’s great to see it in here. The design is strong, the map looks awesome and it’s thrilling to play, especially when the edges of your screen darken and you know Slendy is closing in. The music and sound effects are what you’re used to from previous maps, and it doesn’t get any easier to endure. All in all though, this is a quality map, and you’re only real problem is getting lost.
The next map is called 7th Street, and as the name suggests it puts you in a wide, open and deserted street to find eight pages in order to escape. It’s visually amazing, and I have to say that the design is top notch, because despite the map being large you can find pages relatively easily, and the path is one you can work out intuitively. Finding the pages isn’t the problem, as I found six or seven on my first playthrough of it. The twist is that escaping is the hard part, and often getting that last page or two is a task involving high tension and panic. The atmosphere is incredible, and what separates 7th Street from other maps is that it’s the only one besides the original Slender where you’re in a completely open area as opposed to an enclosed space, and as such you feel vulnerable and dangerously exposed. This keeps the atmosphere constantly oppressive. With all being said, 7th Street is easily one of my favourite maps in this series. It can be played in small doses, and the only downside is that you may finish it or get your fill of it quite quickly, and as such it won’t keep you hooked for long.
The final map is called Prison, and I have to say that I was really looking forward to playing this map before its release. However, sadly I feel it’s the only map I didn’t like at all, despite my first playthrough being great, and I’ll get to that now. For starters, you’re naturally in a prison in this map, and armed only with your tiny light you need to collect eight photographs and escape. I will say that the map looks incredible, and it’s pretty damn intimidating on your first few plays. The sound is more subtle and this works out to Prison’s advantage. The small twist is that your miniature light burns green when Slendy is close. Or at least, from the outset that seems to be the only twist. This map is damn hard if you’re going into it with a clean slate, and after multiple playthroughs in which I performed hopelessly, I tried to get help. Sure enough, I wasn’t the only one, as a guide video was put onto the official website for those struggling. What it revealed made me very disappointed with prison, and let me explain why that is.
It turns out that once you collect the first photograph, you have approximately two minutes to finish the map before Slender Man kills you. The problem is that the map is extremely hard to navigate without assistance, which would be fine if you were given time to explore it and adapt when Slendy cuts off your routes, but you can’t here. I commend the designers for trying something new in giving you a set amount of time to complete the map, but in my opinion it negatively impacts the entire experience. Firstly because it stops you from exploring the map and getting lost in it, which is what often gets the other maps their gold star, and most importantly it makes the game about memorising one particular route and repeatedly trying for it until you get it right. There’s no adapting or struggling to survive. It’s mechanical, and worst of all after a few plays it gets predictable, right down to when and even where Slendy will pop out. Once you know that you only have two minutes to finish the map, it takes the magic and unpredictability out of it, which is a huge loss for this game and the scares Slendy will give you. Speaking of, he has a new model in Prison, and while his appearances are as creepy and frightening as always, I can’t say I really like the model, as it lacks intimidating detail and he looks more buff than slender, excuse the pun. Still, the rest of the map looks awesome, and it’s a brilliant choice of setting.
Slenderman’s Shadow has drastically improved, and the quality of the maps and boldness of their design will surely keep fans satisfied and eager for more. If this series continues to be inventive with its scenarios and introduce more twists to mix up the original concept, then there’s no reason it can’t keep growing. All in all, if you’ve enjoyed previous maps, then you absolutely need to play the next three, as they’re amazing to experience, even if Prison is unlikable once you know how it works.