Slendrina: The Cellar is a new horror title combining retro game mechanics with an intense modern 3D experience. The open world environment in this indie title gives the player the ultimate freedom to explore the space in their own unique way. Slendrina: The Cellar immediately draws players in with lighting and audio effects. The restricted visibility of the player’s small flashlight creates suspenseful tension as anyone or anything could be at the end of a corridor or the back of a room. The player is enticed to inch closer and closer to the screen by the eerie soundtrack that is almost difficult to hear. This is intentional as the screams of Slendrina will be sure to knock you back in your chair.
I was genuinely frightened by the first encounter with Slendrina, her face pale white and scrawny body floating just steps away from you. I was entirely afraid to turn around at that point fearing the appearance of Slendrina. The terrifying ghost creature with devilish red eyes really resonated with my inner child. As a person that doesn’t scare very easily, Slendrina: The Cellar really peaked my interest. The goal of the game is to collect all of the books while avoiding Slendrina. Without the game’s scare factor, Slendrina: The Cellar isn’t much of a game at all. In order to survive the player must make their way through the level avoiding eye contact with Slendrina, for a set amount of time, before she eats your soul. Without unnerving suspense and intrigue the game play would be dry and ultimately pointless.
The simplicity in merely exploring the space with no apparent goal or instruction is interesting, yet lacking. Lacking, in the sense that, a strong goal would provide a sense of urgency that is much needed in a horror indie title. The weak attempt to slap a storyline on existing gameplay feels painfully apparent. Using long corridors and doors, the developer was able to create an easy to build level system. It felt to me as though the storyline was developed secondary to the game mechanics. The control scheme gives the gameplay a jagged feel. The player is constantly pushing left or right to control the camera. This issue may be intentional designed to create a more scary game, but it only gives the player a headache. The dull environment seems repetitive and boring after extended gameplay. Hallways, rooms, doors, and shelves are just about the only art assets that exist in the game. A more interesting level would encourage exploration and hopefully create a better sense of urgency.
Nevertheless, there were several notable strengths. The astounding audio creates suspense and horror. The slow eerie soundtrack creates unnerving suspense and the scream effect triggered by Slendrina’s appearance will surely knock the average player back in their chair. The art style succeeds in its simplicity by creating a genuinely scary character and environment. The free roam gameplay style helps give this title true value in the indie realm.
Overall, I enjoyed this indie title for what it is, a cheap thrill. The combination of the art style and audio effects scared the pants off me. Using headphones or a loud speaker to get the full effects of the in-game audio helps push the horror factor. The replay ability of Slendrina: The Cellar is very low and the weak storyline might disappoint the average player, but I recommend checking out the gameplay for anyone looking for a quick scare.
Slendrina: The Cellar was released to the Android marketplace on May 30th, 2014. It is available to download in free and paid versions.