Our trip started so well. With beautiful surroundings, good friends and plenty of beer it looked like being the start of a time to remember. Now, less than two days later my friends are dead, I’m hiding in a cupboard, my leg’s pouring with blood and somewhere nearby there’s a…thing trying to kill me.
Roope Tamminen’s Lakeview Cabin Collection is an episodic puzzle game that plays with every horror movie trope imaginable. Sex, drugs and copious amounts of gore all collide in a series of interactive slasher flicks where you direct the victims. This week, Lakeview Cabin III has just been released, giving players access to the first of the series four ‘movies’, with further (free) DLC coming in the near future.
Located on a small island, you play the roles of four friends who are in the process of getting Camp Lakeview ready for re-opening in the summer. For the first few minutes you’ll play music, get drunk on beer and do other stuff that consenting adults like to do in the calm before the storm – the first fifteen minutes of any slasher film ever made.
But then the film continues, and we all know what happens next.
The four friends aren’t given names, but they don’t need them. Be honest, could you remember the names of any characters from Friday XIII who aren’t Jason? The humans in these films are props, expendable throwaways whose inevitable deaths are nothing more than high points in the action – they’re not meant to survive.
At some point, your hedonistic activities will incur the wrath of the island’s terror – a grotesque, indescribable horror that wails like a newborn baby as it lumbers towards you and your friends. Anyone who strays too close will be killed; in a panic you’ll hurl everyday items and complete fail to halt its advance.
So you die, everyone dies. Some of you may even end up as ghoulish decorations scattered across the island.
You start again, but this time you know what’s coming. So you plan, scrabbling together everything you can find in an attempt to find something, anything that will keep you all alive. Matches – maybe you could burn it? A shotgun – could you shoot it? Whatever your plan, you’d better hope it works, or it’s back to the land of stabby death with all of you.
The thing is, somewhere hidden within the red herrings and dead ends lies a solution. You don’t have to play the part the horror movie has in mind – you can survive, turn the tables and kill your foe. It may seem impossible, it may take many, many attempts, but it can be done. If and when you finally do succeed you’ll feel out of breath, elated and relieved, just like the lucky virgin who makes it to the end of the slasher film of your choice.
Until then, you’ll clutch at straws, quickly finding yourself becoming superstitious. For example, I found a teddy in the bathroom. Was it relevant? I have no idea, but I still ended up burning it in a vague hope that this would somehow destroy the creature. There’s a spooky mask you can wear – will it help, or will you just look stupid when you die?
Lakeview Cabin III is a fun start to the series, a mix of puzzle game and survival horror that manages to be both light hearted fun and goulish in equal measure. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing its low-res graphics as childish – this isn’t one for the kids and is most definitely not safe for work.
Despite being just the first episode, there’s plenty of replay value and surprises contained within its world. Roope has already promised that all purchasers will receive free access to further content. Although he hasn’t confirmed release dates for updates, he did inform me that “people won’t have wait 6 months between episodes.” Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s in store, with previous trailers hinting at homages to Halloween and even John Carpenter’s: The Thing, one of my favourite movies of all time.