Asymmetrical online multiplayer games have been on the rise for quite some time now. From the ever-growing ‘Dead by Daylight’ to the legally-restrictive ‘Friday the 13th: The Game’, players have been spending years finding new ways to collaborate online beyond the traditional PvP shooters and arcade-style games. There’s something appetizing about the idea of one (or a few) player(s) vs. a small team of other players, with both sides having opposing objectives. While many of the mini-games in the beloved ‘Mario Party’ series helped establish the love and favoritism of this set up for decades, contemporary games are carrying that torch into new territorities.
Back in the middle of August, video game companies Sumo Digital (‘Team Sonic Racing’, ‘Crackdown 3’) & Gun Media (‘Friday the 13th: The Game’, ‘Layers of Fear 2’) joined forces to create another game based off of a very loved IP – enter: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Game”. Taking the same playbook from their own release of the ‘F13’ game, they have pit players on 2 opposing teams – the family (a team of 3) vs. the victims (a team of 4).
The victims begin their rounds hanging upside down in either the attic or basement of a level (of which there are 3 total, with day & night variants) and must escape. You navigate a labyrinthian maze, gather lock-picking tools, and evade the cannibalistic family members. It’s the same idea as they had you do against Jason, however these means of escape are arguably less annoying to achieve, with one additional caveat being that you are wounded from the start and are slowly bleeding out – which adds a countdown counter to escape the level, while also making the player leave blood trails and pools if they sit in a spot for too long.
The family members simply hunt and kill these victims, while gathering blood to feed Grandpa. Grandpa is the best killer there ever was, so by feeding him blood, he emits a sonar-like howl that allows any victims that are moving to glow and be visible to every family member for a period of time. This ability grows stronger and faster the more you feed him, and the family members have a various array of weapons and abilities to give them an advantage. You get to choose between infamous characters like Leatherface, The Cook, & the Hitchhiker, but one character per game MUST play as Leatherface in order for the match to begin.
It’s a fun game that can be terrifying while playing as a victim, and deliriously fun to play as the family. While the maps themselves can be dizzying and difficult (I literally spent an entire match running through the same basement tunnel in an infinite loop without realizing it), the assortment of mini-weapons, hiding spots, and traps/doors provides an opportunity for you to play how you wish as the victim. The killer’s can be seriously addictive to play as but they also seem to have things a bit harder by the game including mechanics that almost let the victims be more aware of where the family members are rather than vice versa. I also found it difficult to keep track of where Grandpa was when playing the family.
But all in all, this game is exactly what was promised to us back when it was formally announced to be in production. The characters and playstyle are faithful to the lore, the maps are beautifully designed, the mechanics that push the game to keep moving are balanced, and it’s great fun to earn experience and level up your preferred character’s skill-trees as you desire. The violence and gore is brutally satisfying, the standoffs are tense, and the music is haunting (with a vinyl soundtrack available for sale at Waxwork Records!)
It’s fun to play solo, but more fun to play with friends. You can stand a great chance of winning on either side by being clever and attentive, but working with others can be equally more rewarding or annoying depending on what kind of player you end up with.
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Game” is currently available on PS5/4, Xbox One & Series X/S, Cloud Gaming, and Microsoft Windows.
‘Til Next Time,
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