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Genuinely scary, but not much of a game

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    Emily Wants To Play

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Genuinely scary, but not much of a game

    As a big fan of the thematic horror genre, I’m always on the prowl for quality horror video games. Oftentimes this takes the form of obscure indie games that slip by the radar of most gamers, and in fact, I just happened to stumble upon Emily Wants To Play by complete chance. On one hand, I’m glad I did, as it is a genuinely scary experience, but I’m also glad I didn’t have to pay more than $5 for it.

    Gameplay

    Emily Wants To Play is a first-person horror game with a micro budget that appears to want to blend elements of P.T. and Five Nights at Freddy’s. Player input is minimal, with players able to interact with light switches, read notes littered throughout the house, and pick up some items.

    The game is one big puzzle, in a way, with players tasked with figuring out specific things that must be done in order to survive the night. Unfortunately, there are virtually no clues as to how to do this, so a lot of the game is poorly implemented trial and error. Game over can come at any time as well, which can be frustrating as there are times when it seems as though there’s nothing the player can do but accept the game over.

    Game overs typically come in the form of one of the dolls in the game popping up as a jump scare. Avoiding these dolls is virtually impossible, but there’s tricks to avoid meeting a grisly death at their hands. Clearer gameplay objectives would have went a long way in making Emily Wants To Play a more engaging game overall, but at least it succeeds in being scary.

    Story

    The premise for Emily Wants To Play is simple, and it’s setup within the first couple of seconds of the game. Players are a pizza delivery man that finds an odd, empty house in disrepair. They then decide, foolishly, to search the house and figure out what exactly went on here.

    By reading notes, players will quickly learn that there seems to have been something tragic that occurred there involving the titular "Emily", and that her dolls may be supernatural in some form. Otherwise, the storytelling is very minimal, and really it’s all just an excuse to set up a creepy atmosphere to pummel players with jump scares.

    But like I said, it is genuinely scary at times, which I commend it for. It’s rare in this day and age for games to be able to evoke genuine fear from players, so it’s refreshing whenever one comes along that succeeds in doing that.

    Graphics and Sound

    Earlier I mentioned that Emily Wants To Play costs $5, and that’s because it is very obviously a cheaply made game. The graphics are very low budget, which is detrimental in some ways, but also helps to add to the creepiness of the house and the dolls players encounter.

    Audio is a mixed bag. There are some problems with sound effects and musical cues not matching up with what’s going on, but the audio use in the game is pretty minimal as it is anyway.

    Play Time/Replayability

    Emily Wants To Play is designed to be played in short bursts. It’s not a lengthy game by any stretch of the imagination, and players can probably get everything out of it with just an hour or so of playing, assuming they are able to figure out its confusing puzzles.

    As for replayability, there’s not really much here. Dolls seem to spawn in random locations every time you play, and sometimes there are items that appear in different spots as well. There’s some achievements to go after that encourage exprimentation, but they mostly just involve surviving the whole night.

    Final Recommendation

    Emily Wants To Play is an OK horror game. It’s good for a few genuine scares, and is a fun game to make the easily frightened of your friends and family play. As a game, it is severely lacking, with subpar graphics, clunky gameplay, and an unshakable sense of its cheapness. However, $5 is a decent price for what it is.

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