Tag Archives: Appease the Spider

REVIEW: Fright Light

When it comes to cheesy horror, we’ve all done it; yelled at a character onscreen (or in-game, as it were) to get the hell out of the obviously-haunted house, ditch the creepy dude and call the police, etc., etc.. Part of that is probably human instinct1. The other part is what makes those movies (and games, as it were) fun— we watch as other people continually fling themselves into terrifying situations, and subsequently pay for those mistakes.

Fright Light ($1.00) is one of those times you find yourself inexplicably talking to the screen, imploring a fictional person to get the hell out the obviously-terrible house. You don’t say this because you’re concerned for anyone’s well-being, though, but rather for the fact that you’ve seen this scene before, and you already know the ending. Like those cheesy horror films you love to hate, there comes a point when something that should be scary no longer really is.

Fright Light - Screen

Looks familiar, feels familiar.

To be fair, a lot of that has to do with familiarity and timing. Fright Light is the sequel to a sort-of sequel to an original game, which was almost certainly inspired by another game. These three games on XBLIG also come in on the heels of each other, their releases spaced out in just over a month’s time. And much like in those previous games, Fright Light is low-budget horror, relying on jump scares—and the constant threat of those jump scares— to prop up the rest of the experience and keep you continually on edge.

Fright Light returns the series to a stationary setting, with you sitting in front of a laptop and watching the feed from security cameras posted around the house. Intruders2 enter and leave the various rooms, making their way towards you. Your goal is to the survive the night, naturally,  spread out over several hours. The story that accompanies each ‘hour’ is cheesy and humorous, dealing with escaped patients from an insane asylum (and a four-foot tarantula).

The game ups the ante in terms of baddies, giving you up to four intruders to avoid at a time. In a convenient twist, all of them are sensitive to the beam of your flashlight you just so happen to carry, granting you a momentary breather should any of them reach the door outside your room. Just as convenient, said flashlight runs on batteries, batteries which happen to die off just as quickly as they are loaded into it. This in turn creates the game’s chief form of tension, forcing you to guess at when and how to use the flashlight.

Fright Light - Screen2

Sadly, some of that challenge and tension is diluted by the game’s camera system, which simply flashes whenever an intruder is in the room you’re watching. While that undoubtedly makes it easier to track multiple intruders at once, not having to frantically scan the rooms yourself takes away from the inevitable jump scares. The game does benefit from changes and increased polish elsewhere, though, including smoother stop-motion transitions and death scenes. They feel like small additions to a game that feels largely the same as the ones that came before it.

That leaves this release stuck somewhere in the middle. Improvements to the pacing and the room layouts are certainly welcome, but the third time around is not necessarily the charm. The jump scares still do their job3, yet the idea has been stretched thin, and the market, now oversaturated. Fright Light is more of the same, just tweaked. It’s up to you to decide if those changes are worth another night in a well-tread house.


(EDIT 12 / 1: An update to the game has lowered the cost to $1, and increased the difficulty / timing of the enemies.)

  1. The mostly-good kind, anyway. We do want to help people, so long as it doesn’t threaten and / or inconvenience us in the process. If it does… ‘Shit, buddy, you’re on your own. Sucks for you.’ 
  2. That low budget applies to your enemies as well, with returning favorites like ‘Man in Hockey Mask’, ‘Man in Wolf Mask’, and ‘Toy Spider’. Honestly, it’s worth a chuckle, and fits the game’s theme well. 
  3. As this compilation of clips can attest to

REVIEW: Appease the Spider

As the sort-of sequel to surprise hit One Night Two Crazies1, Appease the Spider ($1.00) is a speedy follow-up to the original’s brand of cheap (albeit creepy) jump scares. ‘Speedy’ as in just two weeks ago. I mean, my tears for fears— ahem, tears from fears— have barely dried on my shirt, and already I’m being asked to do it all over again.

Appease the Spider - Screen

The epitome of ‘low budget’ horror. 

Appease the Spider keeps the amateur look and feel, as well as the cheesy dialog and inexpensive props (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). Your objective, too, is largely the same: survive the night while intruders roam the halls and rooms of your house. You still keep tabs on said costumed horrors via cameras placed around the home, but the big change to the formula this time around is the ability to manually explore the rooms on foot. Well, with preset movement prompts and button presses, that is.

That travel is necessary, as you’re also on a bit of a fetch quest. As the title implies, you’re not just surviving; you’re fulfilling orders for a very needy (and increasingly-demanding) spider2. With each new night comes a new mission, like retrieving a snack from the kitchen, or bringing back a Chess piece. Later on, you’ll be tasked with gathering multiple items. As you set off on your scavenger hunts, the intruders move about the house, forcing you to keep watch over their movements, …and hope they don’t overlap with yours.

Thankfully, there’s no time limit, and the layout of the house isn’t overly complex3 or massive, but knowing where to look for some of the required items can be. To complicate the search (and dial up the tension), Appease the Spider limits your defenses. You can only hide in pair of places, and there’s no last-ditch move to avoid being caught. Like One Night Two Crazies, you have to constantly be aware of the intruders. And perhaps hope for a little luck.

Appease the Spider - Screen2

You’ve always got the option to retry, although the inherent trial-and-error of that might turn off some. Even the ‘jump scares’ can get more annoying than unnerving as the retries pile on, and the series’ reliance on pseudo-FMV, still shots, and half-animations (that may cause motion sickness over long periods) means you’ll be staring at the same hallways and death scenes over and over.

There’s no denying that Appease the Spider is very much a one-trick pony, but it’s (once again) timely, and the added mobility and new gameplay elements elevate it a bit beyond what One Night Two Crazies offered. If you didn’t like that one, this game probably won’t convert you. Yet if you’re in the right mindset for cheap scares and even cheaper production values, you can turn off the lights and get a decent amount of enjoyment out of Appease the Spider.

  1. I say sort-of, because a true sequel is already on the way. Called Fright Light, it’s probably available as you read this. 
  2. Yeah, it’s best not to give the plot too much thought. 
  3. The upstairs’ trio of doors can be a little disorienting, admittedly. Expect to make some mistakes there.