Lakeview Cabin Collection is an indie horror game for PC developed and published by Roope Tamminen, being a sequel to a flash game he made in 2013.
So essentially what we have here with Lakeview Cabin is a 2D side-scrolling horror sandbox game in which you need to survive against a slasher-horror villain. It’s a game that knows the slasher horror genre scene very well and it definitely shows when it tries to squeeze in as many references and homages in it as possible. Of course, since it’s about slasher horror movies it also includes the stereotypical things and genre tropes you’d expect, such as groups of teenagers doing things they’re not supposed to, almost unstoppable villains and major inconveniences that happen at the worst of times.
The game presents levels as different entries in a movie franchise called Lakeview Cabin, and you play these movies by entering a movie theatre, which acts as a kind of hub world. There are 4 movies in total that you can play through that get increasingly complex and begin to have larger areas to explore, items to pick up and stuff to interact with. Each of the movies have their own theme taken from popular slasher horror movies, with examples such as Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien and Halloween.
It has an extremely minimalist art style, even for pixel art – However it ends up always looking comedic and tongue in cheek in nature, which is what it was going for – The beautiful detail in this game, however, is in the use of lighting effects, the great sound design and the atmosphere of the game take the experience to new heights and, despite everything, it can still get quite terrifying when things aren’t going your way.
Gameplay is an interesting and extremely challenging experience, trial and error is the only way to beat this game. It takes ridiculous Scooby-Doo-esque levels of planning and precision, where you control 4 people in each level, and can switch between any one of them at any time, given that they haven’t been killed. Your ideal goal is to get all 4 out of the situation alive in one piece, but due to the difficulty of this game you’ll be lucky to even have one with all his or her limbs attached.
Setting up traps and timing are the two things you absolutely need to master, and if even one thing goes wrong, then it’s a chaotic free for all of quick thinking and trying to outsmart the killer, and killing him is no easy task when he can take on anything from being run over to being shot and even set on fire.
Due to the sandbox nature of the game there ends up having a plethora of ways to beat each level, leading to some rather…Ingenious ways to complete levels. The story of each level can be a little obscure and hard to figure out but subtle hints here and there can help you understand who the killer is among other things, beating the levels perfectly or with certain win conditions can trigger multiple endings among other unlockable bonuses.
Let’s talk controls: they are limited and your characters are slow and clunky, it almost feels as if this is the 2D version of the tank controls of old from other survival horror games like Resident Evil. There’s so much you can do in each level you can get lost in them just trying to figure out how to get one round of ammunition or what a mysterious bell in the first level does, or how to use the Ouija board in the third. Even the hub world where you chose which level to go into has its own villain, secrets, and win condition.
Almost every item in the game has a purpose, some good and some bad. There are plenty of “Eureka!” moments when seemingly unnoticeable visual cues that you might have overlooked before give you a much-needed advantage and tip the scales in your favour.
This game is really easy to love if you’re a slasher flick fan like me, it’s really interesting to see how many references you can spot too. This game was clearly made with a lot of love and admiration of the genre and it’s a must play for anyone who’s a die-hard fan of these kinds of movies.
Though Lakeview Cabin can seem quite daunting at first because of how stress-inducing and complex it can get, it comes out as a niche but fantastic title for the slasher horror fan, and it’s definitely worth the price for the amount of content that you get for it.
I would rate Lakeview Cabin an 8 / 10!