Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut is a puzzle game with a 3D pixelated art style and dark twist, where the player takes control of Skullface, a psychotic killer hellbent on slaughtering the folks at campgrounds. Developed and published by Blue Wizard Digital, Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut pays homage in a very tongue-in-cheek way to the cringey horrors of the 80’s while also taking the violence and gore to the next level, making multiple references to pop-culture along the way. While it is a very casual gaming experience, the puzzles can definitely be a challenge and a bit of patience and lateral thinking is required of the player in order to complete it.
Each level consists of a grid where victims have to be approached and murdered in order to open a portal to the next level and the killer can only move up, down, left or right, stopping at a solid object in the player’s path. Each level is played a little bit different, with early levels introducing police that the player will have to steer clear of or kill to avoid being arrested. At later levels the game introduces various elements of danger that also have to be avoided like campfires that will burn the player, or water that can be drowned in. The game plays like an ancient relic commonly known as a VHS, and levels play out as “scenes” rather than levels, even giving the player the ability to rewind at any time mid-puzzle. Realistically this game has to be played a bit like a game of chess; multiple moves ahead, but there are definitely some times that a puzzle can be completed by sheer pot luck.
The gore does not get old in this game. When approaching a victim, the killer lets loose on some brutal hack-and-slash techniques that fill the floor with pixelated bones and blood. Sometimes there is a cutscene of the kills that vary per level, like a victim being eaten alive by an alligator or being put through a wood chipper, and with the art-style it just ends up being funny. The game does a very good job of not taking itself too seriously and with the Minecraft-esque art, the ridiculously over-the-top murder scenes just get more and more amusing, as cynical as that may sound. Blood and gore can be turned off in the options menu, but it takes away from the world built for this puzzler.
Coins can be earned at the final kill of a level, where the player can perform a precise kill. These coins can be used to unlock a slew of new murder techniques and mystery boxes that unlock new killers to play as. There are plenty to pick from and with coins being fairly easily obtainable, there are no complaints. The only gripe I could honestly find with this title is that it is just a mobile game that has been ported to console, but hey… it is fun, and free on Games with Gold this month after all.
Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut could easily be “just another puzzle game”; and well, it is. But the constant pixelated violence and outrageous sense of humour makes this relatively challenging game an enjoyable experience. Probably not worth playing if not a fan of puzzle games, and just don’t play it with the kids.
+ Enjoyable puzzles
+ Easy to pick up and play
+ Tongue in cheek humour
+ Over-the-top gore
– It is “just” a mobile game
– Gameplay depth
Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut was played on an Xbox One X and is currently free on Games with Gold for the month of October. It is also available to purchase on mobile, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4.