Tag Archives: Don’t turn around…

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. 

REVIEW: One Night Two Crazies

Third time is the charm for developer Chris Antoni, so far as timing his new releases, that is. While Santa Slay missed the (calendar) mark by a considerable margin, One Night Two Crazies ($1.00) is rather right on target. With Halloween just over two weeks away, the developer’s latest is a pretty simple— and pretty scary— game that brilliantly preys upon some of our worst thoughts and fears.

One Night Two Crazies - Screen

Albeit in a very familiar way. The ‘FMV Horror’ genre is nothing new, and the ground it covers is well-tread. Put a bunch of creepy people and dimly-lit VHS scenes together, give your protagonist little to no means of fighting back against said creeps, and your recipe is nearly complete. One Night Two Crazies does just that, placing ‘you’ at a desk in a seemingly-empty house, testing out a newly-installed security system. This entails you watching the monitor and a series of camera feeds, as first one, then two, crazies, infiltrate your home and make their way to your bedroom. The objective is to survive each ‘night’, which lasts two minutes1 before security kicks in.

Your only means of tracking the intruders comes from spotting them on the cameras via still shots, either hiding in plain sight, or sometimes trying a little harder to avoid detection. Fail to keep an eye on them, or forget to periodically check the hallway, and you can guess how this ends for you. Luckily, you do have some defensive measures. And by some, I mean one. You can shut your door. That’s right. If ever you are faced with a life and death situation in your home, just close your door. The bad guys will just give up2.

Of course, it’s not that simple. While looking out into the hall and / or holding the door shut does grant you a temporary reprieve, peace of mind, and plenty of freaky ‘near-misses’, it comes with the unfortunate cost of losing a bit of your ‘sanity’ in trade. Visual cues on-screen will alert you of your deteriorating mental condition. Lose your mind entirely, and you’ll be ‘frozen’ in place, unable to move or protect yourself. This back and forth system of overwatch— and a bit of luck— is vital to your success and nightly survival.

One Night Two Crazies - Screen2

While it starts to feel like trial and error after awhile, the game does an effective job at creating unease, despite its ‘low budget’ acting and feel3. A man in a hockey mask, and another in a homemade spider costume are hardly scary on their own, more cheesy and campy than anything. That said, the way these two characters stalk you does create palpable tension, with you following their paths when you can, and trying to guess where they are in the house when you can’t.

Subsequent nights add to the challenge, taking out cameras, say, or adding a second assailant to the mix. And that’s the extent of it. One Night Two Crazies doesn’t do too much beyond what you’ve seen from the genre before, but its timely release, and the easy ability to create a sense of dread every playthrough, do more than enough to justify the cost of admission. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check my locks.

  1. Two very long, impossibly-long, minutes. I mean, come on, hasn’t it been two minutes!? The guy could be right outside my— Gahhhh! Son of a— Don’t fucking do that to me!!! 
  2. Well, probably not in real life situations. In that event, you should probably run. Or hide. Or have Liam Neeson on speed dial. He seems to be good at dealing with undesirables. 
  3. One could argue that a ‘low budget’ is exactly the right kind of budget for games like these, and I would agree. Give me camp!