Review - White Noise: A Tale of Horror
Last year, the internet was introduced to Slender. It was a true, terrifyingly simple survival horror experience that reminded fans of the genre what it was like to be afraid to turn off their lights, and turn up the volume. Slender has mechanics that are very easy to copy, and I am pleased to say that the first copycat I have played, White Noise: A Tale of Horror, is a $1 dollar experience that I would gladly pay more for.
Gameplay wise, it is identical to Slender. The player explores a wooded area armed with only a flashlight, searching for 8 audiotapes (not unlike the pages in Slender) while being chased by. . . something. It's a shameless rip-off, but it takes Slender's successes and builds on them.
The environment, only viewable with the use of a flashlight, is full of landmarks that house clues. Graveyards, a bus stop, and other landmarks (which are creepy enough to not spoil here) are spread around an environment which is large and disorienting enough to seem to change every time you play (I can never tell). The engine itself is pretty nice, and a small stream running through the space is a nice touch.
I won't describe what it is pursuing you, but I will say it is much more terrifying than a stiff, faceless guy in a suit. It wants you. It wants you bad. On-screen clues and sounds give you a reason to not turn around to check if it is there, and it usually will be, so just keep walking. Also, there are other things besides the main. . . thing, that populate the environment.
Again, improving on that which it copies, the explorable area here is very haunting. Rusty bells similar to the Silent Hill games clang with a sense of violence in the distance, and overall sound is used exquisitely. Your character coughs when sprint expires, and screams can be heard from the woods lining the playable space.
I love being afraid, and I hate that scares are hard to come by in gaming nowadays, but White Noise is a cheap, effective fix. Check out White Noise on XBLA indie games. Its $1 (80 MS points). Download the trial, and throw your money at it. The score given represents a quality-to-price ratio.
9.5: 9.5's are spectacular games that come up just short of being perfect.
Shaun Bolen is a freelance reviewer for ScrewAttack.com. After interning with the site for eight months, he left to continue his education. Shaun holds a degree in Foreign Language with an English BA on the way, and is now back with ScrewAttack to write reviews in his spare time. He can't wait for GTA V to come out, and enjoys taking emotive black-and-white self-portraits.