In the first of a new series, Jan decides to get his horror on with the almighty Emily Wants to Play. The FingerGuns Review;
Some indie survival horrors promise a lot, but miss the mark when it comes to the actual game. With Emily Wants to Play this, thankfully was not the case. Having coming across it hidden away in the PlayStation sale for £2.49 a couple of months ago I couldn’t really argue, but I was surprised at just how good the game was. The game was originally released for Windows OS X on December 10th 2015, it was then released on the PlayStation Store on August 9th 2016 and on Xbox One on September 9th 2016.
The premise is that you are a Pizza Delivery Guy who has a delivery at a house. Once inside the door locks and the fun begins, as Emily, a young girl who clearly has issues and her 3 dolls Kiki, a Wednesday Addams lookalike porcelain doll, Mr Tatters a scary ass clown and Chester a Ventriloquist dummy that reminds me of Slappy from Goosebumps decide to use you as their own personal plaything in a game that requires nerves of steel and dark coloured underwear.
Walking through house when you arrive you find notes showing you the controls etc., but also ones that add narrative to the game such as pictures Emily has drawn of her and her “friends” in the basement, and also tapes that her mum has made to cope with her depression. These tapes reveal that Emily has been kicked out of school for hurting another child and now has to stay at home. The tapes are a really nice element to the game and expand on the story and help give the game an expansive back story which wouldn’t be out of place in a modern horror film.
The game reveals its characters during one hour in game intervals, first introducing us to Kiki at midnight. There is a board in the Kitchen which says “Don’t look at her” which I quickly found out was a trick. At first you hear a little girls laugh, then she appears (being that I am scared of little girl ghosts this added to the game for me) then the fun begins. When I turned away, she quickly caught me with a jump scare which genuinely made me swear out loud while jumping off my seat. After learning to look at her after what seems an age she disappears in a puff of smoke. Sometimes you will hear her laugh and look around in a panic trying to find her before she pounces and makes you question wearing white underwear that day. Other times you will turn around in just enough time to see her inches away, reaching out with a face that I have been told looks like a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who (I hate Doctor Who so I wouldn’t know, it’s a long story). As the first “person” you meet in the game Kiki really does set the tone for the rest of the night.
At 1am it’s the turn of Mr Tatters to enter the fray. Obviously designed with people’s fear of clowns in mind, Mr Tatters doesn’t disappoint. Announcing his presence with a sinister clown laugh and some mumbled words. Cue another jump scare worthy of making you crap yourself and we go again. Now I won’t go into what game Mr Tatters wants to play, as I don’t want to give out all the spoilers. But after the hours pass and you welcome Chester the freaky dummy and eventually Emily herself is when the game comes into its own. Trying to go from room to room uncovering the secret to escaping is tense when you are expecting to hear a noise at any time, and then frantically trying to survive before they jump out on you. At one point I heard Kiki and Mr Tatters in the same room, I just accepted I was dead and waited for the inevitable fright and the shouting at the screen that followed.
The game is enjoyable and is well presented and the developer Shaun Hitchcock deserves all the credit for making this an immersive and frightening experience. The game controls on console are a little clumsy sometimes, for example when try to turn lights on or off, but this slight annoyance is in most First Person games I play (probably my own failings really, I was never part of the PC master race). It also has a release on Oculus Rift which no sane person could want to play, unless you want to test out the limits of your heart. For the price and it being a one man indie game, Emily wants to Play delivers where many mainstream titles fail. It is genuinely scary and immersive and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Survival Horror games.
This game will go down as one of the best purchases I have made from the store, and will stay on my PS4 for a long time.
Emily Wants to Play is available now
Developer Shawn Hitchcock
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we bought a copy of the game on PS4.