Friday, October 26

Review: Friday the 13th - Killer Puzzle [Nintendo Switch eShop]


It’s that time of year again when people are looking for something a little more scary than usual. Certainly a classic horror franchise from the 80s can deliver some thrills? In the case of Friday the 13th - Killer Puzzle the answer is yes, though since you control Jason you’ll be the one doing the terrorizing and here the thrills and chills are delivered by deviously-designed puzzles.


Taking the formula developed by Slayaway Camp and running with it in a more specific direction Killer Puzzle mostly does everything critical the same way, but it does make some alterations on the surface. You’ll still be looking to scoot your way along, lining up your kills, while trying to avoid falling into the lake (natch), never stopping in the line of fire with the police, and sometimes being very careful to eliminate the camp counselors in a specific order or you may not be able to reach the exit. While it may seem simple these puzzles can get outright challenging once you layer everything into the picture, but thankfully the disembodied head of your mother is present to throw you some tips if need be.


In place of the mechanic where you’d get the opportunity to unlock new horror villains from other classic 80s movies and franchises here since you’re restricted to Mr. Voorhees in his many forms from over the years (plus a few new ones). You’ll still randomly acquire new weapons as you go as well, being able to pick which one suits your fancy at the moment, and some of the options make for some slightly better and more gruesome animations when you finish of the last survivor. A disappointment is that they don’t match animations to the type of weapon well and that leads to things like impaling someone with a boat oar, though I suppose that could be thought of as silly. Would love to see more refinement though, and maybe even have weapon-specific signature kills if you’re able to be more accurate when the kill gauge pops up.


What it all boils down to is whether or not you’re a fan of classic slasher horror and some solid puzzles. If you haven’t indulged in Slayaway Camp you have an additional decision to make since the games are so much alike. I personally prefer the way it was able to paint with a much wider brush and touch on so many franchises. Jason may be a horror legend, and his hockey mask and whisper are both iconic for good reason, but for me he was always a bit lacking in flair. I love the puzzle and the kills are sufficiently ridiculous that it keeps my interest, but next I’d love to see them tackle a killer with personality like Freddy, or best of all just move to a different decade of horror and send up the tropes and series that they’re remembered for.


Score: 8

Pros:
  • The puzzle design remains accessible and yet challenging
  • A delicious mix of hyper violence and silliness
  • If you’re a huge Jason fan they’ve absolutely got you covered

Cons:
  • Unlike Slayaway Camp here you’re locked in with Jason as your steady killer
  • Your weapon of choice is more just there as a visual prop, and the kills you pull off don’t always make much sense
  • While there’s a PG mode that tones it down if you’re not a fan of violence or have younger kids around this is probably not going to work for you