Lakeview Cabin Collection by developer Roope Tamminen is an homage to many of the horror movies we’ve seen since the eighties. A group of young adults (usually still teens) gets caught up in a situation where a mysterious killer or monster haunts them and picks them off one by one – usually in gory and/or creative ways. The people in the group generally make a habit out of making bad decisions, the first one usually being to split up.
It’s a familiar formula, and one that we saw recently in videogame form when Until Dawn came out for the PS4. Lakeview Cabin Collection takes a different approach, although your job as a player is still to make sure that as many of the people in your party survive the events that are about to unfold. Before that happens – you’ll die, a lot.
Lakeview Cabin Collection is no longer in early access, but it’s a growing game – with episode VI currently in development. The episodes can be seen as individual horror movies, each with a distinct setting and a script more or less in place. The first time you play, you’ll find your characters getting picked off one by one. You have the ability to switch between the different pixel-styled characters on the go, but the outcome feels inevitable when people start dying.
It’s not until you play through the episodes/chapters a second or third time that things start falling into place. Knowing where the danger will be coming from, you’ll take precautions – but although you’ll make some headway, you’ll still end up losing (more characters than you wanted to). So you start over again, tweaking your strategy until you get it right – or at least right enough.
In that sense, Lakeview Cabin Collection is only partly a horror game – it’s really a game where you have to figure out the dynamics of a chapter in order to “beat” it, making it more of a puzzle game imbued with a lot of horror/slasher elements. It’s fun, and it’s different, and it’s a game you definitely go back to – because it’s designed in such a way that you have to. Once you reach a point where you feel you can no longer improve on the outcome, that sense fades away quickly though. Luckily, the developer is supporting the game by adding new content that should keep things going for a while.
Figuring out how to break out of the cliche horror scripts that Lakeview Cabin Collection throws at you is fun – especially for fans of the movie genre – but expect fewer and fewer drastic changes and more and more slight tweaking every time you re-play a level. In that regard, it’s great that you’re able to start the experience all over again with another episode that features brand new scares and escape situations.