Indie puzzler Slayaway Camp has just gotten a Vita version of its Butcher’s Cut edition, which is identical in content to last year’s PS4 version. Published by Digerati, is it worth dusting the old Vita off for?
When I reviewed the Playstation 4 version of Slayaway Camp last year, I already commented on how I wished there was a Vita version of the game. I like to think that Digerati heard me, because a little over a year later I was actually playing the game on my handheld. A year later, Vita releases are even rarer than before, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the announcement a few weeks ago.
And, as I assumed last year, it’s a great and natural fit for Sony’s handheld. A sliding puzzle game by heart with the look and feel of a retro-inspired horror/slasher movie while sporting a Minecraft-like visual style, its levels are short and this makes it a great choice for playing in short bursts. Individual levels fit on a single screen, and in each one your goal is to make sure you murder most (or all) of the people in the scene before escaping through a portal.
You can kill people directly, crush them under a heavy object, or you can scare them into fleeing in the direction of a deadly fire, pool of water or gaping hole, just to name a few scenarios. Many of these environmental dangers are lethal to you as well, and cops appear in quite a few scenes as well. In addition, some levels will give you a limited amount of moves before the police arrives, forcing you to think twice about individual moves.
In a way, Slayaway Camp reminds me of the excellent Go titles for the Vita – Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go. Although Square’s titles weren’t of the sliding puzzle variety, they were also very much about tightly designed puzzles where you have to carefully weigh your moves, and as a trio they now make for three of my favorite Vita titles.
The Vita version of Slayaway Camp isn’t without its problems though. As with both Go titles, load times feel longer than they should – especially when a level can be completed in a manner of seconds. It’s more noticeable when you get stuck and want to restart a level, as this also makes the game do a complete reload rather than starting you off anew instantly.
I also had a few initial issues with the game’s menu controls, which appeared to get stuck during the tutorial portion, forcing me to randomly press the screen and face buttons until I progressed again. Luckily, the menu is pretty self-explanatory and the issues never popped up again post-tutorial.
If you don’t already own Slayaway Camp – Butcher’s Cut for PS4 then this is a great little puzzler that’s absolutely loaded with content. It contains every bit of DLC content ever released for the game, making for a total of about 200 levels (I lost count), a ton of unlockable killers and kills, and hours upon hours of puzzling fun. It’s easy to forgive the minor technical issues that way.