Many horror games that have been released within the past few years feel like clones of one another with dark, narrow hallways and jump scares lurking around every corner, so it’s always refreshing to see a game that subverts the horror genre with tongue-and-cheek humor. Though Lakeview Cabin Collection is a pixelated sidescroller, the game feels very cinematic, not only due to the classic spooky cabin backdrop, but with a clever intro level that allows the player to walk into a movie theater and “watch” Lakeview Cabin III.
The player gets to feel like they are experiencing a horror film, not with cheap jump scares (though there are a few of those), but with sandbox gameplay that allows the player to set traps for monsters, get drunk, and even kill other characters in absurd and hilarious ways. While this allows the player to have fun outside of surviving, actually living through the night is extremely difficult. It requires careful planning and a lot of trial and error.
The game gives the player plenty of time to prepare for the supernatural, but it takes a while to get going, as players try to get a hand of the mechanics. This leads to a lot of fumbling around, and perhaps even killing all of the characters, resulting in a game over before the first monster even appears.
The notes that help guide the player are in a hidden inventory that took some real button mashing to find. The first Lakeview Cabin game had a great way of letting the player know what was coming with a ghostly figure that would occasionally appear and then fade away, revealing plot and previewing the horrors to come. In the instance of Lakeview Cabin III, however, the action progresses too late and too abruptly.
Despite this lack of direction, confusion gives way to enjoyment when the player begins exploring. The graphics are actually very well done, and the bucolic cabin setting may lure the player into a false sense of security. In contrast to the peaceful forest, there is plenty of slapstick humor reminiscent of Army of Darkness, not to mention some X-rated hijinks. The screen even wobbles drunkenly back forth every time a character knocks back a beer. Comedy is certainly the focus of Lakeview Cabin III.
In fact, the scariest part of the game is the intro level. A lot of players may blow past this level completely, but for those who stick around and explore, it has a lot to offer.
Lakeview Cabin Collection seems like a game jam packed full of secrets. It’s always exciting to see the player’s experimentation in a game lead to some sort of Easter egg. Since Lakeview Cabin III is set in a movie universe, the game is heavily influenced by films like Halloween and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, meaning that horror fans will likely spot a lot of hidden references. It’s also fascinating to play a game inspired by movies as opposed to other video games. It feels very familiar and reaches out to a wider audience than just the gaming community.
Lakeview Cabin Collection includes the third installment of the Lakeview Cabin series and promises access to the next three upcoming episodes. Unlike the countless Friday the 13th sequels, Lakeview Cabin III is far superior to its predecessors with better graphics, smoother gameplay, and a much larger world to play in. The first two games can be found online for free, and while Lakeview Cabin Collection is ten bucks on Steam, it’s certainly worth every penny considering the three upcoming episodes are included in the package.
For those who love ’80s horror, Lakeview Cabin Collection is one big homage the player can experience, with plenty of references and tropes that horror fans know and love. The graphics are truly beautiful and atmospheric, belying the gruesome, raunchy nature of the game. Though those looking for more scares than laughs will be disappointed, seeing as the game’s strong suit is its cheesy brand of humor.
Despite this, Lakeview Cabin Collection is genuinely difficult, and may prove too much of a challenge for players expecting a quick game. Yet the sandbox gameplay provides enough enjoyment that winning isn’t necessary to have fun. In the end, Lakeview Cabin Collection is an entertaining romp through the world of horror films that’s sure to put a smile on the faces of horror fans everywhere.
Lakeview Cabin Collection is now available now for PC. Game Rant was provided a PC code for this review.